REVIEW: Why ‘Blade Runner 2049’ needs your attention

REVIEW: Why 'Blade Runner 2049' needs your attention

Movies like ‘Blade Runner 2049’ do not come around often.

That is to say, big budget sequels to a 30-year-old Sci-Fi classic that tackles various philosophical themes is not the kind of film that you would normally see in theaters. And yet, here it is, in all of its cinematic glory.

Denis Villeneuve’s newest film is a masterpiece in how to honor the legacy of a legendary film while taking its best aspects and amping them up to whole new levels. From the opening text, giving the audience the background of the film’s universe, calling back to the original film, you know you are watching a Blade Runner movie.

But this is not just Blade Runner again; it is its own entity.

We are quickly introduced to the main protagonist, Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling. This is a man with a lot on his plate, dealing with the stress and danger of hunting older models of replicants (androids that are biologically identical to humans), while he himself being a replicant, forever a social outcast. He discovers a long buried secret that threatens to topple society: a replicant that gave birth. After this, the race to find this mysterious child is on, including an idealistic replicant manufacturer, an intimate relationship with a hologram and so, so much more.

To simply try and describe the plot would do this film a great injustice. This is a purely visual and auditory experience first and foremost; a world that feels so real and fleshed out, you forget about the world you actually live in.

For fans of the original Blade Runner, the 2019 version of Los Angeles represented in that film feels very much the same city but 30 years in the future. The bright lights are still bright and the grit and grime of the streets is ever present below the city’s neon surface. Cinematographer Roger Deakins deserves an Oscar for his work on this film; every shot is a work of art, expertly crafted to carry the story along.

While the beautiful cinematography is one thing, what really makes this film stay in your head is the questions it raises about what it means to be human. Throughout the adventure, we experience, through K, so many different societal views on what replicants actually are and what replicants giving birth means, and whether his relationship with his hologram companion, Joi is a real, dynamic relationship or just a programmed one.

This is not really the type of film that general audiences flock to see. In fact, it is doing rather poorly at the domestic box office. But if you really love the kind of experience seeing a great film can bring, and you want more challenging movies greenlit in the future, it is important that you try and support this film. Blade Runner 2049 is truly a one of a kind sequel, one that we should appreciate now while it is still in theaters.