It’s been more than 30 years since audiences last saw a “Blade Runner” film in theaters.
At the time of its original release, the film didn’t really register with audiences, critics hated it, and it winded up being a flop at the box office. Over time, however, the film started to gather a cult following and eventually became known as one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made.
Last weekend, “Blade Runner” made its way back into theaters with “Blade Runner 2049.” Not only is the new film better than the original, it’s also one of the finest-made movies of the year and is a stunning piece of cinema to watch.
Set in the year 2049, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, discovers a secret that has the potential to throw society into a world of chaos. To find answers, K embarks on a journey to find Rick Deckard (a returning Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.
“Blade Runner” has always been a hard series to sell to mainstream audiences. The movies are always extremely long and require the audience to think extremely hard about what they are watching. It’s probably the series’ greatest weakness and why it didn’t do so well the first time around. In my opinion, those same issues are also the series’ greatest strengths.
With a three-hour run time, “2049” is a long movie to sit through, but it really gives the audience a chance to get invested in the journey and care about the characters they encounter along the way. It takes a while for the story to actually move forward but once it does, it’s engaging and at times even a tad emotional. It’s not a story that’s all that original, but “2049” feels fresh and new. It will manage to hold your attention until the very end, even if it does have to drag you over the finish line.
The cast is superb and every member delivers a solid performance. Gosling plays his character flawlessly. Continuing his latest trend in reviving his classic characters, Ford seems right at home being back in Deckard’s shoes. It’s fun to see him once again playing this character and proving that you’re never too old to engage in an epic fight scene backlighted by a giant hologram of Elvis Presley. Robin Wright makes an appearance and even Jared Leto pops in for a scene or two to say something biblically dramatic before disappearing to who knows where.
The strongest aspect of the film is how visually pleasing it is to watch. The special effects are top notch and there are a number of sequences that are sure to take your breath away.
The biggest obstacle this movie will face is that unless you’re a fan of the first film, this movie probably won’t matter to you and you won’t care about it. “2049” isn’t really the kind of movie that motivates you to go out and see it. If you do go and watch, you probably won’t be as excited as someone who’s already seen the prior film. It’s been 30 years since the first movie was released and the sequel may be arriving 30 years too late. Too much time may have passed to get audiences to really care about the movie, and as a result it may not get the attention from audiences that it deserves. It’s a movie that deserves to be seen, especially in a theater. It’s a well-crafted and well-designed film that shows us just how far the art of movie making has come.
The bottom line: “Blade Runner 2049” is one of the best movies of the year, but won’t get the love it deserves for another five to ten years.