In the “Klarden goes to the cinema for the second time in the last 15 years” news, I went to see Blade Runner 2049 last Sunday and didn’t get to writing what I feel about it until now due to work, getting a Legacy of Kain tattoo and work again. So, let me share some thoughts on the movie with you.
I’m not that much of a huge fan of the original, I need to admit. I loved watching it several times, especially ever since the Final Cut became available, but I always felt that it was a bit of a messy movie to watch. What I mean is that – while beautiful to look at, fantastic to listen to and full of pretty simple, yet thought evoking ideas and some brilliant acting, it always becomes a mess in my head when I try to piece the events together in a certain chronology. Things just kinda happen to look good and make you feel and think in a certain way, but the storytelling is blurry. Intentionally so, it’s not a criticism as such, but it’s usually a hard movie to recommend specifically because of that – it feels like few days in life of an asshole Blade Runner (special police force agent hunting androids) who’s hunting a few rogue replicants (androids), superimposed over a story of those mentioned replicants trying to appreciate life. There are no good or bad guys in this dystopian tale, no big conflicts, no big revelations, just questions and dramatic representations of life.
And that’s precisely why a movie like Blade Runner is hard to follow up. And why it’s very easy to say that there is no need for a follow up anyway. But the haunting and beautiful world the movie presented, which since then influenced so much sci-fi, was something a lot of people wanted to revisit and that’s where Blade Runner 2049 comes in.
What you can learn from the trailers themselves is that – the movie looks amazing. It probably doesn’t just reach the fantastic visuals of the original, but outdoes them, while keeping very true to the original feel and design. And same goes for the music which emulates and expands on the Vangelis penned original soundtrack. It needs to be mentioned that the sound design in the movie is stellar in general, not just in terms of music. While I haven’t experienced it at its best (as my best friend, with whom we watched the movie – it wasn’t the first viewing for them), since the cinema auditorium we went it had clear sound setup issues (lower frequencies were more loud then good, sometimes becoming garbled), even in this flawed way I was stunned by how fantastic the movie sounded. If you still have an option to see it in a proper good cinema, on a huge IMAX screen with great sound setup, it seems like the intended experience for the movie.
Which might also explain a few things that, I feel, went against the original movie feel. This movie is a bit more of an action title, than a slow noire-ish thriller. There’s noticeably more big explody action, some of which seems pointless, and along with 3 little tie-in shorts (you can watch on YouTube for free, but best to do it after watching the movie) there’s this constant feeling that some big suits “politely asked” the movie to leave a lot of hooks for possible franchising the hell out of it. Few of such hooks left a very putrid Matrix sequels aftertaste in my mouth – and I freaking like Matrix sequels.
But I won’t be fair if I just leave it at that and don’t mention that despite seemingly no way to expand on the original, Blade Runner 2049 still manages to do that. It still manages to bring up more interesting questions, add a lot of curious, if at times in your face, parallels to draw between different characters and events concerning them, including of the first movie. There are moments that are badly defined and look both as plot holes and amazing subtle symbolic additions to portraying several characters – which is bad, since it is really hard to see what was intended and what wasn’t. But hey, if the symbolism was intentional – bonus points for that. Yet, even without adding, just in revisiting the already brought up topics, the movie manages to find new ways to do that and expand, instead of just retreading.
It could do with some (very few) cuts and edits. It probably won’t reach the same cult status the original reached, even just on the basis of being a sequel. And yeah, it’s not really “essential” for enjoying Blade Runner. But it’s a damn good movie, and is definitely worth a watch.