Blade Runner 2049 proves to be the perfect sequel to Blade Runner, managing to be both a fantastic follow-up and an incredible movie on its own.

Thirty years after the events of Blade Runner, a new blade runner (Ryan Gosling) hunts the remaining replicants (androids) from a previous generation. His journey leads him to enlist the help of Deckard (Harrison Ford).

The most promising element behind Blade Runner 2049, more so than even the original movie or Philip K. Dick novel, is the director, Denis Villeneuve. Blade Runner 2049 marks Villeneuve’s fifth English-language film (the first being 2013’s Prisoners), and all have been incredible. Each of the movies has stunning and unique visuals, and is really able to challenge the audience to think. The trend wonderfully continues with Blade Runner 2049.

Blade Runner 2049 is incredibly remarkable because of its interesting relationship with Blade Runner. On the one hand, while the story does heavily relate to the events of Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 could exist on its own. On the other hand, it is the perfect follow-up, by expanding the world yet not closing any doors to change perceptions of the original.

One way the film achieves this is that it visually looks exactly like the world created in the original, but has a completely different feeling. Los Angeles in 2049 looks generally the same as Los Angeles in 2019, besides natural progressions in society and technology over the thirty-year gap. For example, the pervasive video projections on buildings are replaced by giant holograms. Despite these changes, it still looks like the same city.

However, the visuals induce a different feeling than those in the original. Blade Runner is notable for combining the genres of Science Fiction and Film Noir, to create a unique style. This is effective because Ford’s blade runner seems more like a noir-like detective. Because Blade Runner 2049 uses fewer Film Noir tropes, Gosling’s blade runner is more like a bounty hunter.

This is an effective change, making Gosling’s character stand out distinctly from Deckard. In addition, Blade Runner 2049 literally expands the world, by bringing parts of the story outside of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is the most common setting for Noirs, so that was likely the reasoning to confine Blade Runner to the city. That elicits a claustrophobic quality which helps to drive the tension.

By allowing Blade Runner 2049 to explore other cities, the movie has a much more open feeling. However, these open landscapes are often beautifully obscured by mist or dust. This allows the tension to come from a fear of the unknown or beyond, rather than a fear of the confined.

Blade Runner 2049 would not be anywhere near as effective as it is, without the brilliant cinematography by Roger Deakins. Deakins previously worked with Villeneuve on Sicario and Prisoners, and their team work has paid off in this visual masterpiece. Literally, every single frame in this movie would be a beautiful photograph on its own.

Another way that Blade Runner 2049 stands out from its predecessor, is that it is able to go deeper into the world of the Replicants. It successfully shows the political and social effects of Replicants interacting with human society, and leaves the door open to explore the relationship in the future.

It goes without saying that Gosling and Ford have excellent performances. Gosling further hones his almost-signature brooding character, further developing it with raw vulnerability and a touch of humor. Ford is not too present in the film, but over basically the past ten years, has gotten used to returning to characters he brilliantly originated years before.

Ana de Armas, previously notable for War Dogs, has a standout performance. It is hard to go into details without spoilers, but her expressiveness works incredibly well with Gosling’s stoicism.

The film is about two hours and forty-five minutes. Generally, a run-time of this length is a bit alarming, but Blade Runner 2049 is well-deserving of it. The movie is definitely not fast-paced, and the movie really does feel like it takes up the run-time, but it is warranted. The slow unveiling of information is rewarding by the end.

Blade Runner 2049 is the rare example of the perfect sequel and proof that the trend of nostalgia movies might not be so bad. It kicks off the start of awards season with a bang, and maybe might be able to sway the Academy to consider Science Fiction.

Grade: A

‘Blade Runner 2049’ is in theaters October 6, 2017

The News

Quentin Tarantino says he knew about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior: ‘I knew enough to do more than I did’

In a new interview with The New York Times, director Quentin Tarantino — whose films have largely been distributed by The Weinstein Company — admits he knew how Harvey Weinstein treated women.

Earlier this month The Times and The New Yorker published bombshell reports revealing horrific behavior by TWC founder Harvey Weinstein. The reports — and the revelations that came in the days after — rocked Hollywood.

Tarantino remained silent until Thursday’s interview. In it, he tells The Times he “knew enough to do more than I did.”

“It was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things,” Tarantino said, referencing the stories recently shared by “prominent” actresses.

“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”

Tarantino admits that he can offer nothing but a “crappy” excuse at this point. Even though he heard stories about his business partner on multiple occasions, he “chalked it up to a ’50s-’60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that’s O.K. That’s the egg on my face right now.”

The director, whose most recent film The Hateful Eight was distributed by The Weinstein Company, says that he tried to reach out to the disgraced Hollywood mogul after the reports were published, but Weinstein didn’t pick up. More of Tarantino’s remarks can be read over on The Times’ website.

As more women share their stories, Hollywood is starting to take (some) action. Last week The Weinstein Company fired their founder, and The Academy voted to remove him from their ranks.

Explaining their vote to expel him, The Academy said in a statement, “We do so not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over. What’s at issue here is a deeply troubling problem that has no place in our society.”

October 19, 2017
The Podcasts

Hype is our flagship podcast talking all things fandom

Episode #163 – Justified!

Hype Podcast tackles this week’s biggest entertainment stories including Will and Grace, Riverdale, The Bold Type, Lorde, Avatar and more.

October 7, 2017
The Reviews