Donnerstag, 26. Oktober 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Movie Review

 Title: Blade Runner 2049
Running Time: 164 min
Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Writers: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoecks

Late sequels to old classics are a mixed bag at best. While some film makers manage to reinvigorate a series like Ryan Coogler did with "Creed", too often we get lifeless rehashs that fail to capture the original's spirit (think "Indiana Jones 4", "Die Hard 5" or whatever the hell Ridley Scott is doing with his Alien franchise). 1982's "Blade Runner" was one of the few old gems that had stayed untouched. Then however, a sequel was announced with none other than up-and-coming director Dennis Villeneuve attached. So has the creative mind behind critically acclaimed films like "Sicario", "Prisoners" and "Arrival" managed to give us a worthy continuation of this beloved sci-fi classic?
"Blade Runner 2049" is indeed an excellent piece of film making that can be enjoyed by fans of the original and newbies alike. Although a knowledge of the first movie certainly enhances the experience, Villeneuve managed to create a film that completely stands on its own. Including an omission of Hollywood's bad habit of setting up a possible franchise. Instead, he trusts the material he was given and displays his thorough appreciation for the original. This truly feels like the same dystopian version of 2019 that Harrison Ford wandered through, with the only exception that technology has advanced over the past three decades. But Villeneuve and his team don't only develop the concepts of the original further. They also broaden this world by going beyond the gloomy neo(n)-noir urban core of Los Angeles, and they explore new and never before seen aspects of it. As a result, many different sci-fi ideas, themes and elements are touched upon. Our relationship with technology, the ethics of our scientific evolution and the question of what makes us human.
Guiding us through it all is Ryan Gosling's short-named protagonist "K". Though this Blade Runner is much less cynical than Rick Deckard, he is just as efficient at his job as a detective/assassin. Gosling is perfectly cast, since he has proven time and again that he especially shines when playing ass-kicking introverts. We follow K‘s path as he tries to solve a mystery that leads him deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. It is a puzzle that seems to get bigger with every piece he finds. It is only at a much later stage that Harrison Ford steps into the picture. And although this might be his best performance in the past decade, the movie is wise to focus mostly on Gosling’s character. Because in true Blade Runner fashion, our protagonist‘s journey is not only a search for the truth, but also a road to self-discovery. 
This series stays ‘the thinking man’s science-fiction‘. And Villeneuve stages it with poetic beauty. Just as he previously did with „Arrival“, he puts you in awe as you marvel at everything that unfolds on screen. His cinematographer Roger Deakins delivers breathtaking shots. Long, wide, and each of them distinctly colored. You could put this movie on mute and it would still be an absolute joy to watch. Then however, you would be missing the grandiose score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch. Reusing the synth sounds from the '80s and adding Zimmer‘s trademark drums creates a soundtrack that goes from meditative to vibrant whenever the story demands it.
Everyone involved is contributing to make this movie the artistically precious blockbuster that it is. The set- and costume designers, the lighting technicians, and of course the stellar supporting cast. Thanks to "House of Cards", Robin Wright has become the go-to actress for strong female leaders and so she seems to be playing her part with the greatest of ease. Ana de Armas shows that she is ready to get her big break in Hollywood, and even former wrestler Dave Bautista gives a performance that is unexpectedly vulnerable.
All this makes "Blade Runner 2049" one of the best movies of the year. Although it has a considerable length of two hours and 45 minutes, the masterful execution makes this film worth while. A magnificent piece of intellectual sci-fi that is as thrilling as it is thought-provoking. Watch it on the largest screen you can get your hands on to be fully engulfed by its elegancy. If (like me) you can't get enough after watching it in theaters the first time, watch it again (seriously, it is criminally underperforming), or fill in the gaps between 2019 and 2049 with the three in-universe short films that Warner Bros. Pictures released on YouTube.

For Fans Of:
Blade Runner (1982)
Children of Men (2006)
Inception (2010)
Her (2013)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Minority Report (2002)
Ex Machina (2014)
12 Monkeys (1995)
Macbeth (2015)
Arrival (2016)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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