Denis Villeneuve's BLADE RUNNER 2049
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
The first thing I said when I came out of the theater was, "I want to see that again."
Blade Runner 2049 is a startling and dramatic contemplation of artificial intelligence, memory, slavery, catastrophic climate change, cloning, and blasted and bleak future landscapes.
“I’ve never seen a tree," one of the (human) characters intones at one point.
The movie is also a contemplation of what it is to be human and what artificial humans might go through as they try to experience the same kinds of things that normal people take for granted.
Related topics were addressed in Steven Spielberg‘s AI: Artificial Intelligence. There a major theme was empathy for artificial life forms. Here the focus is not on empathy but on what happens when artificial life forms, previously treated as slaves, seek their "place at the table." Humans -- and the State -- resist.
Production-wise the movie is amazingly gorgeous to look at especially when seen in high definition on a big screen. Soundtrack music carries over many of the original movie's concepts and themes. My only criticism is the sound design, at least when experienced in a Dolby equipped modern theater. The bass is so loud and room-rattling at times that it distracts from what is being shown.
Will Blade Runner 2049 join the original in the pantheon of all-time great films?
That’s hard to say. This may be the best "sequel” movie I’ve ever seen. It explores concepts and themes from the original while providing additional layers of complexity and visual splendor. As the original film's reputation grew over the years despite a shaky initial reception, we may see the same phenomenon operate here.
I’m not too concerned about that future, though. Here we have an intelligent and beautifully crafted adult film that shows what can happen when resources and artistic talent are brought together in an uncompromising, imaginative, and thoughtful fashion. Check it out!
Review © copyright 2017 by Dennis D. McDonald