Mike Torchic’s review published on Letterboxd:
Who would’ve thought that a long belated sequel to a cult classic would be this good.
Most belated sequels feel like a retread of what their predecessors were. Even films I love like T2 Trainspotting is still very similar to its original film. This film, however, doesn’t do that. Instead of being piled to the brim with fan service, the film takes the source material and builds on it. What results is a 2.5 hour epic that does justice to the original, and tells it’s own complete story.
Set 30 years after the original, in this film we follow Officer K, an LAPD cop with a rather mysterious background. One day on an assignment, K discovers a clue that ultimately serves as a domino effect, with each subsequent event tying into that first clue. Being 100% honest, it’s hard to even try and talk about this film without going into spoilerish territory. I really do believe that you should try and go into the film with an open mind and knowing next to nothing, since the end result is just so satisfying. The plot of this film doesn’t just do justice to the original, it crafts it’s own unique story that improves upon the original. Don’t let the runtime turn you off from this film, every second is absolutely worth it. The writers of the film craft interesting and multi layered characters, many of which act unpredictably. There are also many characters that you can sympathize with, even though they’re futuristic. Like the first film, this film presents many themes. One major theme I picked up on was distinguishing real from fake. Throughout the entire film we have characters who have identity crises so to say. For one, there’s the big debate (still) whether Deckard is a replicant or not. The same question arises with Officer K. I’m obviously not going to spoil any of this, but even from the trailers you can tell that that question plays a major role in the film. It’s that one question that plays a major role in the film. Besides all of the characters and plot points, the writers also do an incredible job at visualizing this world. It feels like an updated version of the original (which it pretty much is), and everything about it screams cyberpunk. Again, it’s really hard to go into this film without spoiling it. I just really encourage you all to see this film, and if you’ve already seen it then see it again.
Ryan Gosling gives a career defining performance as Officer K. It’s pretty hard to fill Harrison Ford’s shoes, but Gosling proves that he’s capable with his performance. He’s able to create so much emotion through his subtlety, as well as performing the physical side very well. Harrison Ford reprises his iconic role as Rick Deckard, and it feels like he never left. He still has that certain charm, as well as the emotion to back it all up. It’s honestly like he never left. Another really great performance is Sylvia Hoeks as Luv. I can definitely see her getting some more major Hollywood roles because of this film, she’s really great. She’s intimidating, intense and emotional, all of which contribute to my enjoyment of her in this film. Ana De Armas also gives a great performance as Joi. She’s really there to give Gosling’s character motivation as well as to show his tender side. She’s just really charming and likeable in this role. Pretty much everybody gave incredible performances in this film. Yes, even Jared Leto, who isn’t a bad actor by the way, the guy just takes method acting to the extreme.
Denis Villeneuve has been on a hot streak lately, and this film proves that he’s a genius beyond the shadow of a doubt. If anyone could make a belated sequel this good, it’s him. Everything, even the VFX heavy city scenes, feel grounded. I remember in an interview him saying that he tried to have as much as possible shot in camera, and boy does it feel like it. It doesn’t ever look or feel like a character is walking in a green screen with the environment superimposed in. Everything just feels real, and that just helps to establish the films tone and atmosphere. A huge part of what makes this work is Roger Deakins’ cinematography. Seriously, give this guy his fucking oscar already. If this film doesn’t prove that he deserves it, than I don’t know what will. Every shot in this film looks straight out of a painting. A painting that is drenched in neon and snow. If the trailers didn’t sell you on the visuals, then the full film definitely will. It’s just too beautiful for words. Again, I couldn’t think of anybody else better than Denis Villeneuve to take the reins of this film, and he proved his genius here.
The score by Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer is epic to say the least. While I was a bit skeptical seeing as how Jóhann Jóhannsson was replaces midway through production, the final product was everything that I hoped for and then some. It sounds a lot like Vangelis’s score for the original, and I’m totally fine with that. Yes it has the typical Hans Zimmer bwaaas, but it’s the lushness of the analogue synthesizers and atmospheric sounds that make this score great. I highly suggest you give it a listen, but being honest it sounds a lot better on the big screen.
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 was everything I could’ve hoped for and more. Everything from the plot to the acting and especially the cinematography was expertly crafted, and I loved every second of it.
I think it’s safe to say that this is my favorite film of 2017 so far, and I have a good feeling that it could stay that way. If you haven’t already, please please please see this film in theaters, you won’t regret it.