blade runner 2049Columbia Pictures
2017
R

“All the courage in the world cannot alter fact.”

Officer K, a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

The original 1982 cult sci-fi classic Blade Runner is one of those movies that everyone talks about, even when they’ve never seen the movie itself. I know you posers exist. Even you out there that claim to have read the “book” (air-quotes due to the fact that it really barely qualifies as a novella in length). Not that I’m not a poser myself…I have gone for a while knowing about the existence and relative importance of Blade Runner without having seen the movie. It’s the movie that inspired countless sound samplings in numerous German industrial bands, after all. What started off as a box-office bomb has become a cultural icon.

All that to lead into this review of the long-time gestating sequel, Blade Runner 2049. And I must make mention that, while this review isn’t going to be posted until immediately after the Halloween’ing season on my blog, I am writing this pretty much immediately after having watching it with the other Exalted Geeks. I did, however, already post the pubcast of our thoughts on that movie, so at least there was that. Which is to say, by now most of you who were going to watch Blade Runner 2049 probably have already done so; but regardless, spoilers be ahead, brave reader.

Picking up 30 years after the events in the first movie, we follow a Replicant Blade Runner (that’s not a spoiler, that’s actually addressed within the first ten minutes or so in the movie) on a routine mission to retire a rogue Replicant model. During that mission, he stumbles upon the remains of what may be human bones, but may not be, which leads to an even deeper mystery involving Replicants who can supposedly reproduce, in which the Replicant Blade Runner (let’s call him “Joe”…because he does so later on) into seeking out the former Blade Runner Richard Deckard, who’s been hiding out in the nuclear wasteland of Las Vegas (symbolism?), to find out who the offspring of a human and replicant pairing has produced 30 years ago. The guy who owns the corporation that builds the Replicants also wants to find out who this person is, but not for very nice reasons. Oh, and there’s also a side love story between Joe and his holographic girlfriend. I wish I was making that up.

Obviously, the one big concern going into this new Blade Runner was, will it hold up to the scrutiny of all Nerdom? Will it continue on in the grand tradition of mind-blowing science fiction, complete with a complex story that continues on with honoring the original yet telling its own unique self-contained tale, along with some mind-melting and gorgeous visuals? Something that begs to be watched multiple times, and yet still managing to get something new out of it with every viewing? Or, will it go the more accessible route, and make a 21st Century sequel that foregoes everything that made the original such a beloved cult classic, and just go with what they think would make it all kewl and stuff…namely, another action sci-fi flick with lots of ‘splosions and fights between the robots and humans, and ham-fisted fan service type cameos and references.

Well, let me go ahead and assure you, brave reader, that this movie is the former kind of sequel. One that manages to tell its own engaging story, yet remains in the world that was built before. This movie is gorgeous. It’s well-acted, well-written, well-shot and overall well-made all together. It’s a long movie, yes, but it’s very engaging. There is a lot to take in with this movie, which makes me want to take in multiple viewings, maybe even owning it when it comes out on DVD. One of these days I’m going to have to suck it up and get a BluRay player, but for now, DVD suits me just fine, really.

The one complaint I did have is a minor one: At several points, there’s a very loud bass boom that hits unannounced. I understand the use of audio as a way to enhance the viewing experience, but maybe it was the quality of the theater speakers, but every time it hit, I wished I brought earplugs. Otherwise, though, I hasten to call this a perfect movie, but compared with the rest of the year, Blade Runner 2049 certainly has taken the top spot in best movies I’ve seen thus far this year. Highly recommending that you see this in the theaters (trusting it’s still around by the time this gets posted in the first of November, mind) for the full-on experience.

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