“Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into the Nexus Phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.”
–Blade Runner 2049
These are the words that make up the opening scrawl to begin Blade Runner 2049. An obvious homage to its prequel for any who have seen the original. This simple quote is as eerie and thought provoking as the movies themselves. Without a doubt, Harrison Ford’s 1982 film Blade Runner is a cinematic treasure and critically acclaimed, but much debate surrounded the potential of its successor. So much so that many proclaimed a sequel unnecessary and even blasphemous. Shrouded in controversy fans and movie critics alike waited in anticipation. Then, with its release, Blade Runner 2049 blew away everyone’s expectations.
With Ryan Gosling guiding the helm, it is hard pressed for any cinematic project to sink. In his latest role, Gosling does much more than guide. He soars… through the unending vertical expanse of LA, around the barren waste land that was once San Diego, and into our imaginations. As an LAPD replicant Blade Runner known only as K (beginning of his serial number) he sells every emotion and witty quip in the way only Ryan Gosling can. So, by the end of the film the audience loves him. In quick contrast to his costar, Harrison Ford shows an exemplary performance that falls a bantam short of the great scope the movie forges. Although respectable, Ford has put on more than a few years since his last performance as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, and they are beginning to show. Lastly, tying up all subsequent performances, Jared Leto steps into the limelight, bringing forth an utterly unnerving performance as fanatical replicant designer and entrepreneur Niander Wallace whose uncanniness only further justify the sequel’s existence.
If nothing else can be said about the movie, one aspect outshines everything else: the cinematography. A whole paper could be written simply on this one piece of the Blade Runner puzzle alone. The movie opens with a full screen close-up of an electric blue iris, pupils slightly dilated. Another homage to the original which opened in similar fashion. This sets the tone for the rest of the movie, where every scene is meticulously crafted to visual perfection. Aesthetics are off the charts, and the audience leaves the theater with the unrelenting feeling that true art had just been witnessed.
A true masterpiece, Blade Runner 2049 is a requirement for any person who considers herself or himself a genuine lover of cinema.