Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

17 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049 review. Non-spoiler

"Off-set Effect" Art of Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 © O. Douglas Jennings

As a long-time fan of the original Blade Runner, I was eager to see the sequel starring Ryan Gosling who I enjoyed most in the movie Drive. First off, I recommend the movie —particularly for avid Sci-Fi enthusiasts and if you’ve seen the original movie. But I can’t say that it was a completely satisfying film on all levels.

What I loved:

Ryan Gosling.
This guy proved yet again that he can play the kind of loner hero in a role that in previous generations would be given to Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson or, even, Harrison Ford. Is it cliche to say “the camera loves him”? I know that on the big screen, Gosling commands my attention and draws me in with the persona and understated expressions he brings to these flawed hero roles.

It expertly yet non-slavishly evoked the musical feel of the fist Bladerunner in a way that built upon the original’s solid foundation while bringing in a fresh, updated quality.

My least favorite member of the cast was Jared Leto as Wallace. But it could be due to the story that I felt didn’t resolve his character’s role well enough in the plot. But everyone else, I felt, were cast well and gave strong performances. I qualify that with the contrary feeling that Harrison Ford was somewhat under-used. But he had to be there and it was great to see him and Gosling interact.

Wow!!! There were a lot of twists, which, as promised, I won’t spoil here. So hang on to your seats and pay attention! Although I predicted some plot lines before they happened, there were enough that kept me guessing that it was a fun ride for a good while.

I’m somewhat of a philosophical movie watcher. I love big themes, cultural touch stones and allusions to literature in movies. There were Biblical references (replicants as a type of angels for example), fairy-tale allusions and comments on the human condition that I felt had resonance for me. Without spoiling anything, I can tell you I enjoyed the carry-over of the role of memories in a person’s development and sense of self.

What I didn’t like: 

Loose plot threads:
There were some plot lines that were brought up that I did not feel were resolved well. This is not a deal breaker. More like a little “fly in the ointment”. But not a big fly.

The Last Third of the Movie:
I felt like I could not enjoy the movie as much after two thirds of the movie had passed. Some final twists that sorta lost me. And I must admit that the way Decker (Harrison Ford's character) was used used in the plot was somewhat anti-climactic.

FINAL THOUGHTS -- In spite of my peeves about certain parts of the film, I find that it stayed with me and made me think about the questions and philosophical issues that it raised. And since I saw the film, I've also viewed the three short films set in years leading up to the events in the theatrical release. I will most likely buy the DVD or Digital version of the movie when it is available. I have the Directors Cut of Blade Runner so having Blade Runner 2049 will complete the set.

One more thing. I saw the movie on a Monday early evening. The new, well appointed Cinemark Theater XD was a terrific sight and sound facility. Yet I was completely alone in it. Not one other person was in this large-screen, 100+ seat room with plush recliner seating. So.... was my feeling of isolation I got from the movie with it's barren cityscapes and climate-change desolate landscapes a result of deliberately crafted story or was it because I was in a desolate room? Would the feeling of isolation and alienation that I felt from Blade Runner 2049 been less if the theater space was full?

BONUS: Here are videos I enjoyed that discussed Blade Runner 2049 (SPOILERS):


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