Film review: Blade Runner 2049 (spoiler-free)

 

History has proven that rarely is the sequel better than the original. It was going to be an uphill battle to equal (or improve on) a film as groundbreaking and quotable as the 1982 film. Blade Runner 2049 is good but not a masterpiece. I knew was going to be fan service and that is basically what it boils down to.

Several actors have smaller roles than expected. There are a few cameos, but I won’t go into specifics. The filmmakers have said all along that you should go in knowing as little as possible, as the plot is a spoiler in itself.  There’s an expansion of this world and the slow pacing is daring for a blockbuster, yet I felt the storytelling was too concerned with honoring the original. In that sense, it’s zeitgeisty, in paying homage.

The writers waited too long, in the 35 year gap since 1982, various TV shows and films (again, without going into spoilery territory) have already run with the philosophical themes presented in Blade Runner 2049. And you could argue most of what is presented in the sequel was alluded to tacitly in the original.

 

Yet an admirable effort that held my interest. The plotting is quite intricate, and fun to be back in this universe. Just isn’t as emotional, chill-inducing and memorable as Ridley Scott’s classic. The first film could be considered sci-fi-noir, the second has been described as an “Arthouse-Blockbuster”. Worth watching on the big screen to meet Deckard again and for the stunning visuals, but go in with moderate expectations.

Rating 6/10

The 1982 film is among my top 10 of all-time, and the atmospheric soundtrack is a big reason why. Vangelis didn’t return as composer. At the end of the month, I’ll review the new score by Benjamin Wallfisch/Hans Zimmer.

What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

12 thoughts on “Film review: Blade Runner 2049 (spoiler-free)

  1. “Just isn't as emotional, chill-inducing and memorable as Ridley Scott's classic.” You nailed it right there. I think we're on the same page with this flick…beautiful and good, but not memorable enough to make a lasting impression like the original.

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  2. Courtney, I think Force Awakens (another long-awaited sequel) did a better job of evoking the emotions I wanted to feel. I agree Blade Runner 2049 was a visual treat, but lacking in terms of making us feel something profound.

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  3. I agree with you that the film is not as chilling or emotional as the original. I liked it only slightly more than you, but I completely understand where you are coming from. Good review.

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  4. @dbmovieblog: Vangelis’ soundtrack heightened the emotion in the original, with Wallfisch’s/ Zimmer’s so-so score it wasn’t the same. If I hadn’t seen the 1982 film, I think I would have liked BR2049 a bit more. Thanks for reading

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  5. Zimmer's score are just repeating themselves in last years. I won't go in detail but this is how it made me feel. Still, it was a good score, just not an exceptional one and I certainly won't listein to it.

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  6. @indiescifi451: I was moved by Zimmer’s Dunkirk score and I think it elevated the suspense of the movie, but his music does seem to follow a similar template. The BR2049 music is a workman-like homage, good enough but not a classic.

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  7. Good advice about going in with managed expectations – I think I'll enjoy this, if I watch it with the right mindset!
    stephen1001

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  8. @stephen1001albums: I quite enjoyed Blade Runner 2049, it's good. But don't buy in to the better-than-the-original hype. The 1982 film is unbeatable, especially Vangelis' music.

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    1. @Giadreams (themoviemylife.com): I was especially impressed by the visuals when I saw BR2049 on the big screen. The music, story, and new characters didn’t reach the heights of the first Blade Runner film for me. The sequel had some big shoes to fill !

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