Blade Runner 2049: The Best Unwanted Sequel Ever?

By Giles Hardie October 5, 2017
Blade Runner 2049 Ryan Gosling Las Vegas

REVIEW - 4.5 Stars

There used to be a fear that sequels to great films would miss the point of the original, prioritizing sales over story. Such infamous follow ups as The Sting 2, Grease 2 and Weekend at Bernies 2.

As sequels have moved from optional to mandatory for new blockbusters, the art of the follow up film has vastly improved.  But the no-one-asked-for-that updates to legitimate classics still strike fear into audiences, even as we know we are bound to see it, seemingly destined to have our childhood memories trashed, our special screen gems tarnished.

So it is that many will approach Blade Runner 2049: Wary; Worried; Wishing they'd just leave the masterpieces alone.

Fear no more. The 'w' word you'll be reaching for at the end of this epic isn't 'why' but rather 'wow!'

The crucial factor in this films success is not its awesome cinematography by Roger Deakins the mesmerising update to Vangelis' famous soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch or the even the ever-impressive Ryan Gosling, who is of course magnetic as the new Blade Runner, Joe.   

The excellence comes in the fact that this is not simply a narrative sequel, informing us of the fate of Harrison Ford’s Deckard and others who survived the original, though that is provided.

Blade Runner 2049 Harrison Ford

This is a masterful sequel to the philosophy of the original. Blade Runner 2049 embraces and twists the existential crisis of the first to deliver a genuinely powerful and mind-bending experience.

Writer Hampton Fancher, who also penned the original, has lost none of his story telling genius in his decades of hiatus. His story is the foundation for every successful aspect of this captivating delight, with director Denis Villeneuve taking his cues from Ridley Scott’s original in his direction.

Villeneuve embraces the epic, expansive and slower style of the original, whilst bringing his own visual genius to expand the geography of this dystopian future world, as well as the interaction with technology, including one captivating love scene that will linger long in the mind.

With so many creative risks taken there are unsurprisingly a few missteps, a surprise reveal at the turn into the third act that seems to give away too much, a slightly-too-bizarre Jared Leto, and a final action scene that feels banal by comparison to all that has gone before.

These are slight quibbles within an otherwise extraordinary film, that shuns easy answers and action, for brains, artistry and a story that will linger with you for days after as you contemplate this instant classic.

Wow indeed.