Blade Runner 2049 comes 35 years after the original Blade Runner, but time has moved on just 30 years. It was certainly worth seeing on the big screen, but if you missed it, then the movie still packs a small-screen punch… as long as you’re watching on a BIG small screen 😉
I will add – bear in mind that it’s long, and if you didn’t like the original then your opinion won’t change with this sequel, and if you did enjoy it, then this new entry is not iconic like the first one was.
As the title suggests, the year is 2049 and we’re back in Los Angeles. No doubt the man-made global warming freaks would have a field day, as in this world, the irradiated landscape is such that nothing grows outside any more.
Replicants are back, but while the first movie had the Nexus 6 variety, which went rogue, 2049 has the Nexus 8 model (if this was Apple, they’d be on Nexus 38 by now!). All the bugs have been ironed out… well, almost all. You know there’s going to be trouble with Replicants. Blade Runner without Replicants is like Star Trek without Klingons.
Taking the lead in this sequel is Ryan Gosling as K, who’s looking for answers to his past, and there’s a mystery which leads him to Rick Deckard, who went AWOL after the first film’s events… and that’s all I’m going to say about the plot since (a) this is a film that’s best told as it sets it all out to you, while as the original showed, neither films are massively plot-heavy, and (b) stop being so damn nosey… I told you to wait until you watch the film! However, I will say that it takes almost two hours before Harrison Ford (below) shows up, and before I began this movie, I expected him to come in around halfway. So, there’s not as much Ford as we’d like.
All the other cast members have their part to play, but I’ll refrain from adding anything specific about them.
I will add two things – I’d love a personal security drone, as K has. Plus, there’s a device called an Emanator, which makes holograms turn real. I’d love one of those for my birthday, please, along with a Jennifer Aniston hologram. Thanks.
Oh, and there’s also the best jukebox ever, as you’ll discover…
BR2049 does recreate the world of Blade Runner as if we’ve never been away including more huge holograms, and it uses a lot of models rather than endless CGI – thankfuly, since I feared they were going to dumb it down like every other sci-fi movie these days, so kudos to the production team for that. However, while it’s visually impressive, particularly when you see Los Angeles bathed in a radioactive glow (as Harrison Ford’s scenes have shown in the trailer, and as can be seen in the bottom picture), in terms of the effect you feel, it’s largely just great at ‘recreating the same’… so it’s like comparing PS3 graphics to that of another PS3, as opposed to comparing PS3 with a PS4.
One thing replicated here (ho, ho) is a bevvy of advertiser logos. This time round, there’s Sony, Peugeot, Coca Cola, Pan Am and… Atari. Hey, maybe the Ataribox will be a huge success?! That said, I do wish the Atari one had lasted longer, but then as with the first film, it’s the brief flashes of these that really linger in the mind.
Naturally, I’m sceptical about most films that run for well over 2 hours as few have a reason to do so. Okay, so there’s enough of a story to get stuck into, and one friend told me that he’d happily watch a seven-hour sequel, but there’s no intermission in this movie, so do make sure you pay a visit beforehand with the knowledge that BR2049 runs for 163 minutes.
Technically, BR2049 is 2:32 for the film’s length, then there’s about 5 mins of ‘special’ credits which weren’t as special as I was expected, as it’s the main cast names with flashy ‘analogue’ colours behind them (briefly looking like a broken Atari VCS 2600), and then the usual scrolling credits for everything else.
The IMAX version has additional footage, as it opens up to 1.90:1 – which I understand is all the way through, and I would have loved to see that on Blu-ray, even on a separate disc – although Cinematopgrapher Roger Deakins has stated a preference for the 2D 2.35:1 version (which I saw), and agreed with someone else that he wished 3D would go away. I like 3D when it’s done right, but in 2017, only ONE live action film was actually shot in 3D: Transformers: The Last Knight, and it looked ace in IMAX, even if the storyline was a nonsense.
As for BR2049, 2.35:1 looked fine to me, but please, Sony, let us have the IMAX version on the next release, which wlil no doubt happen.
(click on the picture for the full-size version)
Now, about the scores on the doors for this movie. Okay, so it has a very Vangelis-like score from Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, even reusing one of the original tracks, plus at the start, the Sony logo appears to the thump of the sound you hear over Blade Runner‘s opening credits. However, while the film is very good, as I’ve stated earlier, it doesn’t feel iconic like the first. In BR2049, there’s no great’tears in rain’ speech, and you do feel like it’s trading on past glories, a bit. Overall, it’s *almost* as good, but then it’s mostly the same sort of thing so it’s difficult to go too wrong, and the original certainly wasn’t perfect. Those who think it is are looking at it through rose-tinted glasses.
Hence, I call bullshit on every big newspaper and his wife who have given yet another big film 5 stars, as it just reeks of “We want to get on the poster!” rather than give a sentient and objective review. Very few films have NOTHING wrong with them, and everyone’s opinion is different, so this really is complete and utter bunkum! I’m also reminded of Peter Bradshaw’s Spectre review (Chr -ist, that film was bad!) where he said Daniel Craig was “sexily pro-Snowden”. Huh?!
Either way, I rewatched the first movie again, the night before seeing this, and I highly recommend you do the same.
Note that the original movie had several different versions doing the rounds, ending with 2007’s Final Cut, but director Denis Villeneuve has confirmed that what we see here IS his director’s cut, and that’s that.
So, will there be a sequel to Blade Runner 2049? Well, I could tell you my thoughts, but I’ll hide them behind a spoiler heading. If you’re planning to watch this film and don’t want to know anything else in advance, DO NOT READ IT!
(click on the picture for the full-size version)
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and you’d be surprised if it was not a top-notch transfer for a brand new film. A phenomenal vision needs a transfer that does it justice, and that’s exactly what you get. I don’t need to analyse it intently – it’s Blade Runner! You know what you’ll get.
As for the audio, again, I don’t really have to spell this out – it’s Blade Runner! Split-surround and a first-rate score is very well served.
The extras are as follows:
- Designing The World of Blade Runner 2049 (21:55): For not only such a long film, but also for one which has taken 35 years to come to the screen, there must be a HUGE making-of documentary in this, so it’s disappointing that the main extra is a 20-minute skip through the look of the film, comparing this between the two movies, set design, cinematography
As I mention in my unboxing, since some studios release a ‘special edition’ later on with a lot more extras, it makes me wonder if Sony will do the same in future with this.
However, it’s quite amusing how director Denis Villeneuve said he hates ‘green screen’, yet all the interviews in this piece are shot in front of one 😉
- Blade Runner 101 (11:22): Split into six sections: The Replicant Evolution, Blade Runners, The Rise of Wallace Corp, Welcome To 2049, Jois and Within The Skies: Spinners, Pilotfish and Barracudas. All a typical mix of clips from the film mixed with chat from the cast and crew.
Hence, all very brief, and the sort of thing TV movie channels could slot in to their schedule as filler, choosing a whim since most of them duplicate bits of content from the others.
- Prologues: Each of these have an intro from the director. I won’t go into detail about what’s within, other than the basics, but I would urge you to watch them, even though anyone buying this release – and who has common sense – would do so anyway.
- 2022: Black Out (15:45): The only one in 16:9 and in a hand-drawn animation style, this shows the Black Out happening which is referenced in the movie.
- 2036: Nexus Dawn (6:31): Presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and is live-action, there’s Benedict Wong from Doctor Strange in a scene where Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) introduces us to his new Replicant series.
- 2048: Nowhere To Run (5:49): Again, presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and is live-action, and centers around Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista).
- Audio descriptive track: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Sony’s menus tend to be a bit hit and miss. Most studios have a mix of clips with a piece of the theme, while Sony often take a static shot of the cast and shove on a few seconds of music that’s completely unrelated. With this one, there’s a static shot similar to the cover artwork, but I’m not sure about the audio – it sounds like something which *should* be from the film, but *isn’t*. Hence, it’s in-keeping. If it IS from the film, then someone please correct me.
On the plus side, whereas most studios just plump for English only audio and subtitles, Sony have the film in four languages (all in DTS 5.1), with English also in DTS HD-MA 5.1, while subtitles come in a staggering 20 languages! There’s also 16 chapters, which is a few more than most studios’ 12, but still not enough for my preference of one every five minutes, and in the case of this movie, that’d make 33.
Blade Runner 2049 is out tomorrow on Blu-ray, Blu-ray Limited Edition including 5 art cards, 3D Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray, Amazon Video and DVD, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Below is the poster I picked up from Odeon Trafford Centre on the opening day.
Running time: 164 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Released: February 5th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Languages (all in DTS 5.1 sound): English (also DTS 5.1 HD-MA), Russian, Spanish, Thai
Subtitles: English, English for the hard of hearing, Cantonese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Indonesian/Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay/Bahasa Malaysia, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Ukranian, Vietnamese
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K), Dolby Vision), 1.90:1 (IMAX version)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Producers: Broderick Johnson, Andrew A Kosove, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin and Bud Yorkin
Screenplay: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (based on characters from the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick)
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer
Cinematography: Roger A Deakins
‘K’: Ryan Gosling
Rick Deckard: Harrison Ford
Joi: Ana de Armas
Lieutenant Joshi: Robin Wright
Luv: Sylvia Hoeks
Niander Wallace: Jared Leto
Mister Cotton: Lennie James
Dr. Ana Stelline: Carla Juri
Doc Badger: Barkhad Abdi
Nandez: Wood Harris
Sapper Morton: Dave Bautista
Gaff: Edward James Olmos
Coco: David Dastmalchian
File Clerk: Tómas Lemarquis
Female Replicant: Sallie Harmsen
Freysa: Hiam Abbass
Mariette: Mackenzie Davis
Doxie #2: Krista Kosonen
Doxie #3: Elarica Johnson
Elvis Look-A-Like: Ben Thompson
Marilyn Look-A-Like: Suzie Kennedy
Liberace Look-A-Like: David Benson
Sinatra Look-A-Like: Stephen Triffitt
And one I’ll name but hide behind a spoiler, so DO NOT READ BEFORE YOU SEE THE FILM
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.