Blade Runner 2049 Screen 68 of 14 reviews

Blade Runner 2049

2017

Blade Runner 2049 Poster
  • [Like Nabokov's Pale Fire,] Blade Runner 2049, too, is obsessed with birth and death and error, all of which are offered as possible limit conditions for being human. The film also gives us glimpses of the dreamy, uncanny possibilities of a shifty not-quite coincidence. But, in the end, Villeneuve’s allusion to Nabokov confesses the derivative status of his sequel.

  • In a landscape awash with both science-fiction and revived material, the film is far above any kind of average for either. Its visual ambitions include recreations of the original film’s rainy LA streets, still punctuated by blazing advertisements for Pan Am and overshadowed by obsidian corporate buildings resembling the tombs of the pharaohs, as well as new visions of a ruined Las Vegas swamped by orange sand, and a Pacific ocean swollen by climate change and held back by a vast sea wall.

  • Never mind what it means (or, at least, worry about it later). Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is nearly three hours long and only has two jokes, but somehow, you don’t mind. From close-ups of a tattooed eyeball, to an assassin’s hand covered in bees to vistas so vast that human vision isn’t enough, cinematographer Roger Deakins creates _astonishing_ images.

  • The good news is that this team have done a fine job. The better news is that they’ve made something altogether dazzling. Villeneuve is an intellectually ambitious, aesthetically refined director who can sometimes tend to grandiosity and a rather self-regarding notion of “quality,” as in last year’s Arrival; but that he has an eye, an imagination, and a sense of the widest possible amplitude of a fictional universe is very evident in Blade Runner 2049.

  • Deakins, Villeneuve, and team have to stay true to the feel of that classic... and yet still give us something new and exceptional. They have achieved all that, and more. So I’m kind of flabbergasted that I didn’t love this movie... For better and for worse, Blade Runner 2049 is a movie made for these indulgent, 280-character cinematic times, when plot points have to be spelled out and themes stated over and over again, with little room left for ambiguity.

  • A solid if not unqualified success.* Denis Villeneuve, who made Arrival, Sicario, and Enemy, is a director who enjoys not-fully-solved enigmas, and 2049’s twisty, misdirection-filled story alternates between suspenseful and tediously murky... This new Blade Runner dazzles the audience with plenty of staggering sights but never quite matches the original’s mysterious ability to suggest something even more incredible lying just beyond our ken.

  • Its insistence on mimicking and even amplifying the aesthetics of the first Blade Runner, and doing so at such a level of skill and intelligence, is undoubtedly its greatest accomplishment... Yet this very strength deeply undermines the film’s own narrative premise... Villeneuve’s precisely engineered cinematic replication flattens distinctions between the two films, making it difficult to sense any passage of historical time.

  • Gosling is good in the film. Almost everyone is. Davis especially is a livewire, crackling through her few short scenes. Bautista, Hoeks, Armas: these are all performers who shake with momentum, they move the film even if the frame is still. Hoeks’ taut visage crying instead of cracking as she murders her way through a mystery is consistently compelling. The film is not without excellent soloists, it’s just the symphony that needed another revision.

  • Villeneuve is on assignment, doing maintenance on themes and visual motifs long since established. It’s brand extension rather than true invention. It’s telling that Rachael’s cameo is so powerful despite its brevity, since the image is literally cribbed from the first Blade Runner. It’s a loving homage that quite inadvertently plays up how forgettable the new characters are in comparison.

  • 2049 is a kind of replicant movie — beautiful, complex, elegant, closely resembling what it’s modelled on and undeniably made with enormous skill — but crucially lacking some important, indefinable inner ingredient. If the first film is cold — and it is — but possessed of some kind of weird, nameless Wagnerian emotion of its own — the sequel tries to do something commendable but less interesting — tell a touching human story — and doesn’t really quite manage it.

  • The ending is schmaltzy. The plot is a quasi-religious quest to find a savior figure. Its twists are easy to anticipate. The best parts of the film—the visual sound and the visual style—are directly borrowed from its predecessor, though denuded of their 1980s-ness: goodbye shoulder pads and obsequious synths... Blade Runner 2049 signals that we’ve reached a state of exhaustion in telling stories about the monsters, robots, replicants, operating systems, or beings we might someday create.

  • Villeneuve's film is designed to reward the audience for recognizing the references in the midst of an action pursuit, and, after an hour or so of the clipped and earnest signifying, one may find themselves nostalgic for Scott's unforced indifference to the issue. Somewhat subtler and more promising is the film's vision of a corporate world that preys on consumers with mechanized nostalgia.

  • Even as I admire the painstaking care taken to get this all onscreen, it feels a bit empty... You can only see light bounce artfully off of water and coat every wall in quivering waves so many times, apropos of nothing, before wondering whether the movie’s endgame is worth all these splashy displays of studio money. The texture of every shot seems like it’s saturated in meaning—and it is, but Villeneuve’s capacity for style is the most salient takeaway, honestly.

  • Even if Blade Runner 2049 never forgets where it came from, it somehow keeps losing its way. The picture’s moodiness is excessively manicured; this thing is gritty only in a premeditated way. Mostly, it feels like a capacious handbag, designed with perhaps too many extra compartments to hold every cool visual idea Villeneuve can dream up. This picture is even more ambitious than Villeneuve's last, the 2016 sci-fi parable Arrival.

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