Blade Runner 2049 DVD Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

The Review
What do you get when you merge a stunningly creative arthouse film with a high energy sci-fi extravaganza? Blade Runner 2049. This is a smashing film that absolutely delivers as the follow up to one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time. Even if you put the many different edits available for the original Blade Runner, it is still a film that brought something rather new to Sci-fi and that was thoughtful and creative cinematography to increase the art value and not just to entertain.

I can honestly say that this sequel is quite possibly the perfect second act in this cinematic franchise. When I think back to the many different edits and director’s cuts that were released for the original I struggle to see how any juggling of this one could make it either more beautiful or interesting. During my viewing I did find myself thinking that the opening 40 minutes or so was slow paced and I did wonder at the time as to whether that part of the story could have been told quicker, however in hindsight, the style of the film and the overall building pace meant that it was important to take that time to set the scene and beautifully stimulate the visual senses. For that very reason I would suggest that this is a film you must see on a large screen and the bigger the better.

The Dream Team. Denis, Ridley, Harrison and Gosling
I can imagine that when the director Denis Villenueve was approached by Ridley Scott, he must have been kind of crapping his pants. Perhaps being torn down the middle thinking what an awesome project to work on but then also thinking… what a daunting project to work on. Speaking of pressure, Denis Villeneuve admitted that he was initially hesitant to take on such an iconic property:

"It's more than nervous, it's a deep fear. I mean when I heard that Ridley Scott wanted to do another movie in the Blade Runner universe, at first my reaction was that it's a fantastic idea, but it may be a very bad idea. I'm among the hardcore fans of Blade Runner (1982). It's one of my favorite movies of all time. It's a movie that is linked with my love and passion for cinema. I'm coming from a small town in Quebec where, at that time, there was no internet and the way to be in contact with movies were those American fan magazines like Fantastic Films and Starlog and I still remember the shock, the impact of seeing the first frames, the first pictures coming out of Blade Runner. Me and my friends were in awe, so excited and the movie was such a strong cinematic experience. A new way of seeing sci-fi."

While shooting a fight scene Harrison Ford accidentally punched Ryan Gosling in the face. As an apology to his costar Ford invited Gosling to share a bottle of scotch whiskey with him.

Visually stunning in all ways and I couldn’t believe just how beautifully crafted this film is. From the scenery through to the characters, the vehicles through to the street holograms, it was an amazing and so very tantalizing. I think that while they have still kept the feel of the original while still making use of the newer technology to bring the wow factor and bring it in a massive way!

Of course, it is the collision of great effects and stellar performances that makes this film a winner. Starting with the return of Ford and his kind of character matching with the new Blade Runner in Officer K as played by Ryan Gosling. Incidentally, The role of new Blade Runner Officer K was written specifically with Ryan Gosling in mind. He was the only choice for director Denis Villeneuve and I pays off hugely in screen as his intensity is dazzling. Add in the holographic love interest character of Joi (Ana de Armas) and you have something quite different from the normal film romance.

Meanwhile, Jared Leto was introduced to Denis Villeneuve by his close friend Jean-Marc Vall√©e, who had directed Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. With his subsequent roles as the joker and so on, it is no surprise that he would fall so perfectly into a role such as this. While his screen time isn’t huge, the impact he brings to the film is very important. He travelled to Budapest, Hungary in September 2016 to film his scenes and was wrapped in just under two weeks.

Of course, without delving into where it goes, I do need to point out that the story-line is clever, intriguing and contains a lovely blend of twists and turns that fit perfectly within the pace and tone of the film. While it sticks to the general direction that Blade Runner brought forth so many years ago, it ingeniously adds to the universe with precision and yet a delicateness.

The Verdict
Oh my my, this is awesome and a must-see on the big screen but not for kids or your grandma. Seriously by far one of the best Sci-Fi films ever and when put in tandem with the original what an awesome story.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 17th January 2018
Rating: R13 – Contains Violence, offensive language & sexual themes
Duration: 163 minutes 
Genre:  SciFi
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto and Dave Bautista
Director: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Incendies)

The Extras
Denis Villeneuve noted that he's fully aware of the immense pressure he's under, and how hardcore fans of the original view the prospect of a new film: "I know that every single fan will walk into the theater with a baseball bat. I'm aware of that and I respect that, and it's okay with me because it's art. Art is risk, and I have to take risks. It's gonna be the biggest risk of my life but I'm okay with that. For me it's very exciting... It's just so inspiring, I'm so inspired. I've been dreaming to do sci-fi since I was 10 years old, and I said 'no' to a lot of sequels. I couldn't say 'no' to Blade Runner 2049 (2017). I love it too much, so I said, 'Alright, I will do it and give everything I have to make it great.'"

Initially, Denis Villeneuve was against the concept of a sequel to Blade Runner (1982), as he felt it could violate the original. But after reading the script, which he and Harrison Ford have described as "one of the best" they have ever read, he committed to the project, stating that Ford was already involved at that point: "To be very honest with you, Harrison was part of the project before I arrived. He was attached to it right from the start with Ridley [Scott]. I met him and he's honestly one of the nicest human beings I've met and is one of my favorite actors of all time, so for me it's a lot of pleasure."

Ever since Blade Runner (1982) hit theaters, there has been a divide among its fans about whether or not Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard is a human or a replicant. It's a question that the film leaves up to the viewer, though director Ridley Scott, Ford, and everyone else has chimed in with their own thoughts on the subject. With the sequel, there will certainly be more fuel on the fire of Deckard's true identity. Denis Villeneuve did go on to say that the mystery will be something they address in the film and that re-contextualizing the original film with any answers they present in the sequel is a concern of his: "The thing I must say is that I love mystery. I love shadows. I love doubts. I would just want to say to the fans that we will take care of that mystery. I will take care of it."

With Ridley Scott having toyed with the edit of Blade Runner (1982) over the years, it is fair to ask which version would be considered "canon" going into the sequel. Denis Villeneuve replied by insinuating the follow-up may not be as much of a straightforward sequel as we thought: "The movie will be autonomous and at the same time there will be some link. The only thing I can say is I was raised with the original cut, the original version that Ridley doesn't like. That's the Blade Runner that I was introduced to at the beginning and that I loved for years, and then I must say that I appreciated the very last cut, the 'Final Cut' version. So between all the different cuts, for me it's the first and the very last that I'm more inspired by."

Originally, at the early development stage of the project, Ridley Scott was set to take on the directorial duties of Blade Runner 2049 (2017). By the time the movie was getting close to pre-production, Scott announced he would no longer take the helm but would stay involved as a producer. Specifics weren't given by Scott on why he dropped out of directing the film. Oddly enough, a report came out in August 2014 that Alien: Covenant (2017), a sequel to Prometheus (2012), may be getting delayed because Scott planned to helm Blade Runner 2049 (2017) after The Martian (2015), which was in production at the time. But now, it looks to be the other way around, and Scott's commitment to Alien: Covenant (2017) may have forced him to step away from directing Blade Runner 2049 (2017).

Sean Young does not reprise her role as Rachael from Blade Runner (1982). After being very vocal in her reactions to Blade Runner 2049 (2017), which included a suggestion that fans of the original film should boycott this new one if she was not involved in it, she told The Guardian newspaper: "I saw Ridley a month ago, and not a peep was uttered from his mouth about it, and so I left it alone."

Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original) and Michael Green have written the original screenplay based on an idea by Fancher and Ridley Scott with the story taking place several decades after the conclusion of the 1982 original. Denis Villeneuve said in an interview for Collider on September 11, 2015: "Hampton Fancher, Ridley Scott and Michael Green did a fantastic job on the screenplay. It's a very powerful screenplay. And I felt that it made sense to me and I had the Ridley Scott blessing. But you ask if I hesitated. I hesitated massively. It took me a lot of time to say yes."
  

Ultimately Denis Villeneuve says he signed on, "because I feel that I can do it," and expanded a bit on how he'll be approaching the sequel: "It's a huge challenge, because you don't want to cut and paste, otherwise there's no point. And at the same time you have to respect what was done, so you have to find the right equilibrium between being faithful to the first one and bringing something new at the same time that will make sense to the Blade Runner universe."