Blade Runner 2049 Review
Written by Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
When Alien: Covenant released earlier this year to the dismay of many Alien fans, the hype surrounding another Ridley Scott classic – Blade Runner 20149 – felt like it would be another disappointment. After thirty-five years, several different edits, and countless fan theories and discusses whether Deckard is a Replicant or not, comes one of the hotly anticipated sequels of 2017, Blade Runner 2049. With such a dense world expanded upon with a rich backstory Blade Runner 2049 is that rare sequel that not only stands up to the original but might even be superior.
Taking place thirty years after the events of the first film we follow K a blade runner for the LAPD. He lives a simple life-terminating Replicants and comes home to Joi, his hologram companion. What makes K different from any cop on the force is that he’s a replicant. He’s harassed by his peers at work and faces discrimination in his apartment building. There’s some moral quandaries with a replicant “retiring” replicants but K justifies his actions by seeing those he’s retiring as lesser.
The film’s nearly three-hour runtime feels slow at times, leaving some scenes much to be desired by way moving the plot along. Those scenes bog the film down but only a handful noticeable. Most of the film is spent in the shoes of K, getting an understanding of the world around him and how the world around him reacts to his presence. Blade Runner set up a lifelong debate amongst fans about Deckard, whether he’s a replicant or not. It’s made entirely clear in 2049 that K is a replicant but suffers in very much the same way as his human counterparts. He longs for a psychical companion in that of Joi and wonders if his entire existence is a lie.
Memories of a younger self-plagues him and places him, and the audience, on a whirlwind journey of discovering who he is exactly. The question of what makes us humans is asked again here but posed in a different way: What does it mean to not be human? The entire film, without spoiling, is again asking the question what it means to be human, or something that isn’t subpar. Hampton Fancher returned to deliver an all-new script with co-writing duties by Michael Green. While the film can be seen as an allusion to race, the film isn’t using is it a crutch.