Blade Runner 2049: A blast from the past takes another crazy look into the future

By Ryan Simmons (Twitter: RyanSimmonsVO)
October 6, 2017 - 10:02am

I'm going to try to review Blade Runner 2049 for you guys, but I'm not sure I can trust anything about my own reality anymore. Take literally everything with a grain of salt.

Blade Runner 2049 picks up right where the original left off; totally messing with your mind. This isn't your straight forward, fully wrapped up narrative you might be used to from your standard popcorn flick. It's designed, like the original, to leave you questioning what you just watched long after the fact.

Like... did I even watch Blade Runner 2049, or was that a memory that was just implanted in my brain? Think about it, how would I know?

Anyway, given that the narrative would be hard to describe without just blowing the whole story, suffice to say if you liked the first you'll like the second. Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve does a fantastic job of capturing the aesthetic and the feel of the first while avoiding the temptation to clumsily wrap up, and thus likely ruin, any of the dangling story threads left from the original. He leaves all the great questions left by the first totally intact.

Like... if a synthetic human looked exactly like a real person, and thought it was a real person, and no one could tell it wasn't a real person, what would make us more real than them, really?

The acting is extraordinary pretty much across the board. Canadian Ryan Gosling takes over the franchise starring role from Harrison Ford, about as big a pair of shoes as you could hope to fill in sci-fi. Luckily Gosling keeps his winning streak going, delivering a subdued, nuanced performance, allowing strong emotion to break through only when very necessary. My personal favourite part of his performance was earlier on, when he started to leak some emotion through before it was safe for his character to do so; it's an absolute clinic in subtlety.

But like... if we manufactured emotionless beings to do slave labour for us and they naturally developed emotions and human feeling, wouldn't continuing to subjugate that creation make us horrible? Or would it be our creation to do with and dispose of as we saw fit?

The great performances don't end with Gosling, though. Ford returns as Deckard, the first iteration's protagonist, and he does more real acting here than I've seen him do in a while. The main bad guy of the movie is played deftly by Sylvia Hoecks, her creepy boss is played by very believable creep Jared Leto and Guardian of the Galaxy Dave Bautista turns in a well played, if only too brief performance. The real stand out for me, though, was Ana de Armas as Joi. Her love story side plot with Gosling might have even overshadowed the main narrative for me here.

Like... if you had a girlfriend that was programmed for you by a company, could any of your feelings be genuinely reciprocated, or would everything you felt from them just be a total lie?

I can't answer any of these questions, really, but I can tell you that if you like the first Blade Runner you'll likely love this one as well. While the slower pace, spaced out action scenes, and extended 2 hour and 44 minute run time might feel like a bit much for people new to the franchise, the dense, subtly emotional story is a flawless continuation of the story for those that love it.

The Illusionists - Live from Broadway, coming to Red Deer

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