Hollywood churns out large amounts of crap every year. There’s no secret as to why. Crap sells. Just look at the Transformers franchise. Or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Or the Avengers. You don’t need a good script, talented actors, or beautiful cinematography to sell tickets. You just need plenty of explosions, silly costumes, and fast-food toy tie-ins.
Given the paragraph above I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Blade Runner 2049’s opening weekend was only $32M on a budget of $150M. I’m just disappointed. The film deserves a lot better. In an era of unnecessary reboots and sequels, this movie proves to be an exception. Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best films I’ve seen in years. Even people that aren’t familiar with the 1982 cult-classic that spawned this follow-up will enjoy Blade Runner 2049. It’s sci-fi for smart people. It’s a film that makes you think while also acting as amazing eye candy. Yet fewer people paid to see it this past weekend than paid to see much lesser recent sequels like Kingsman: The Golden Circle or Annabelle: Creation.
Like the original Blade Runner, this movie asks some interesting questions. Does where we come from define us? If you’re human in virtually every aspect other than the nature of your birth, does that difference give someone the right to own you? Is our species’ prioritization of profit over planet doomed to destroy us?
Director Denis Villeneuve deftly took the reins from Ridley Scott and with the help of cinematographer Roger Deakins and screenwriter Hampton Fancher has created a worthy successor to what I consider the greatest sci-fi film ever made.
I won’t give away any of the plot, but the cast including Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, and the original blade runner, Harrison Ford are all excellent. Hans Zimmer’s score retains the flavor of Vangelis’ fantastic work from 1982, and if Roger Deakins isn’t nominated for an Oscar for his camera work, there is no justice come awards season.
I saw the movie in IMAX and I’m glad I did. Yes, the tickets aren’t cheap, but this is one of those films that’s so chock full of stuff to look at, the bigger the screen, the better. With the amount of critical praise it’s receiving and a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 89, maybe Blade Runner 2049 will prove to be a slow burn. I hope so. It’s the type of movie I’d like to see Hollywood make more of. It deserves a bigger audience.
If you enjoyed films like the original Blade Runner, Interstellar, Moon, Gattaca, or Villeneuve’s other recent sci-fi effort, Arrival, go see this one. It’s 2 hours 43 minutes well spent.