Directed by Denis Villeneuve
On general release from 5th October 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
This is a watchable film, if a mite too long, but it does not compare with the majestic grandeur of the original Blade Runner, released in 1982.
As with the latter movie the so-called sequel postulates what the future holds for the human race. It is more extreme and brutal, and revolves around the nature of memory, whether genuine or simulated.
One of the most effective simulations was the fleeting glimpse of a revelation of a beautiful forest glade.
Apparently nature, whether flora, fauna or animal life, does not exist in this world. As one character rtemarked, “I have never seen a tree.”
As with the earlier version the big screen adds to the impact of Blade Runner 2049, notably the overhead shots of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which, in the real world, is the largest dumping area in America of radioactive waste. Cinematographer Roger Deakins produced highly visual images.
A big mistake was the inclusion of Harrison Ford as an aged Rick Deckard late in the film. He added very little to the storyline, with, in particular, his fist fights with Officer K (Ryan Gosling) being absurd.
It would have been better to have recalled the memories, whether through speech or visuals, of his time as a top-rated blade runner with the LAPD, not a recluse living in a high-rise apartment, which resembles, to a large part, of an empty bar from years past.
I could not comprehend why hologram recordings of Elvis Presley and then Frank Sinatra performing on stage at their peak – flickering images of them abounded – were transmitted to Deckard and Officer K (with Joe being his real name.
Gosling produced a less than impressive acting performance, lacking charisma and authenticity in his role.
Some have described his character as having a Zen-like calm, which was not the case, particularly when he ends up bruised and bloodied in the closing stages.
As with the 1982 version, where Sean Young as Rachel and Daryl Hannah as Pris played strong female characters, the same is true in the new film of Robin Wright as Lieutenant Joshi; Ana De Armas as Joi – Officer K’s virtual reality girlfriend, who can change hairstyles and dresses within a split second – and Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, the expert karate kicker!
The music of Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch was atmospheric, but oddly the best segment came during the closing credits – thousands of names were listed in the production of this mega-budget film – when the audience were streaming out of the cinema.
A film worth checking out relating to the near end of the world and the desolation of nature is ‘Homo Sapiens’, released in 2016, and directed by Austrian Nikolaus Geyrhalter. It is an extraordinary view of a post-human existence.