Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Okay. Let’s get it straight right from the start. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) is one of my all-time favourite films. I own multiple versions of it, watched documentaries and read books about it, studied it and written academic papers about it. So, I went in to see Blade Runner 2049 with the academic side of me harbouring some fairly hefty concerns and the rest of me full of fan-girl anticipation.

I came out floored. I wasn’t expecting it to be THAT good. I think this is a wonderful film and is true not only to Scott’s 1982 masterpiece but also to the original source material, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K Dick.

The screenplay by Hampton Fancher (one of the writers of Blade Runner) and Michael Green is terrific and the cinematography by Roger Deakins is simply beautiful. But I think the big technical gongs go to Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer for the soundtrack and Joe Walker for film editing.

Wallfisch and Zimmer breathe life into a score that evokes the memory of the Vangelis original but takes it in new and interesting directions, and Walker’s editing (particularly of the fight scenes) is simply sublime.

Though I loved him in Drive (2011) I was uncertain about Ryan Gosling but I shouldn’t have worried. Gosling is excellent as the LAPD Blade Runner. Similarly, Harrison Ford puts in one of his better performances, reprising his role as Rick Deckard and Robin Wright steals every scene she’s in – as always!

Villeneuve obviously loves the original film – it shows in so many ways. The framing and shot selection, lighting and colour palette all fit with and hark back to the original. There’s a thoughtful stillness at the core of this film that is lacking in so much of contemporary sci fi, and it talks (much like the original) about identity and what it is to be human. Blade Runner 2049 is a loving tribute but also a huge step forward in science fiction film. More like this please!

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