It takes a lot of guts to revive a movie that many consider a classic and make it the entry point into a new sequel. The first movie is not required to watch prior to seeing “Blade Runner 2049”. But it makes the story elements much more tangible. The various characters are introduced, and a few of them are carried over from the first movie. To say anything more would ruin parts of the story. But it really helps to get the original screenwriter (Hampton Fancher) to work on the overall story and the new screenplay.
Acting is superb for all characters. Ryan Gosling is very good at being stoic and unperturbed, but Officer K slowly gets drawn into a mystery. Harrison Ford reconnects with his Rick Deckard character, with all the added years of wisdom and loneliness. Robin Wright hits the right combination of tough leader and anxious participant in a story that could overwhelm society. Ana de Armas is fun to watch in an unusual role. Jared Leto and Dave Bautista have standout cameo roles. Sylvia Hoeks does really steal the show with her performance as Luv.
The story and music (Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch) balance out perfectly. With a score that sometimes echoes the original “Blade Runner” sound track (by Vangelis), it drives the action and signals the emotional arc of the movie. But because these are ‘moving pictures’ – then special thanks must be given to cinematographer Roger Deakins. He renders the movie as a visual treat, with each scene rich is color and striking clarity. His work here deserves to be rewarded by the Academy…
Of course, there are some issues, such as the length of the movie. It is close to three hours long, and that is pretty rigorous for most movie audiences. However, it would be hard to find any scenes that could be cut out totally (although some might be shortened). At times the sound and the audio seems to overwhelm, and certain audience members could have issues with that. The future city of LA still has future buildings adorned with ‘Atari’ and ‘Pan-Am’, and that puts a wrinkle into the production.
Overall, it is as close to being a Classic starting right at its release. If you enjoy Sci-Fi movies, and you have seen “Blade Runner”, then this is a must-see. If you enjoy well-made movies and know nothing about ‘Blade Runner”, you would still want to check this out. Do not wait until the year 2049, when they just might be getting around to making another sequel!