Film Column: "Blade Runner 2049" is well worth the time

Film Column:
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The key to good sci-fi is an understanding of the parallels with modern society and a good mix of futuristic technology with intriguing plots. It is hard to pull off a good sci-fi film, but luckily my new favorite director, Denis Villeneuve, has come out with a true science fiction masterpiece with “Blade Runner 2049.”  It is the best-looking movie I’ve seen this year, with an amazing mix of incredible complex shots and some beautiful color work. The movie should, and hopefully will, win every technical Oscar it will be nominated for. 

The story is honestly really hard to describe, for two reasons. The first is because it is a sequel to the 1982 original Blade Runner, and it uses many of the ideas and themes established in the original. The second is because most of the promotional material for the movie deliberately avoided many of the plot points of the story. That being said, I can talk about the performances. The lead character, K, is played excellently by Ryan Gosling. He, from the very start, is outed as a replicant, this movie’s version of human-like robots. While the movie goes on, you slowly watch his character develop emotions. Robin Wright, who plays the chief of police, really gives a great, stone-cold performance. Of course, being a sequel, Harrison Ford reprises his role of Rick Deckard. Unlike many of Ford’s recent films, you can really see him trying to act, which is real surprise. The only problem I had with the performances is the under-utilization of Jared Leto’s character, who only appears in 2-3 scenes total. 

The hardest part about watching this movie is the runtime. It’s two hours and 44 minutes long. Now, to me it really didn’t feel long at all. The story was captivating from beginning to end. However, I understand that to some people, the runtime might be an issue, but you must understand that the “Blade Runner” movies are not wall-to-wall action, and are more about the philosophical ideas about being human. It’s a meandering movie, moving from one gorgeous location to another. The cinematography of this movie is stunning, as is the sound mixing. The loud horns, very synthetic keyboard and loud bass really makes the gross and unpleasant word of “Blade Runner” more appealing to see and hear. The CGI is outstanding and some of the best I’ve seen this year. Almost nothing that is computer-generated feels fake; everything really feels like its actually there, especially Joi, as played by Ana De Armas. 

There really is not anything majorly wrong with this film. The outstanding color and sound work make the gorgeous world of this movie significantly more fun to watch. I highly, highly recommend this movie to anyone with even the slightest bit of interest in great shots, interesting ideas about being human and just wonderfully-done Science Fiction movies. If you have any interest in sci-fi, go see this movie.

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