Blade Runner 2049 Blu-ray Review

Blade Runner 2049

I probably won’t make it to 2049.

And if I do, you can bet I won’t look anywhere near as good as Harrison Ford does in Blade Runner 2049.

Even if he is – or isn’t – an android.

It’s the future, and humans have created replicants to do all those things that we, well, plain just don’t want to do any more.

This modern slave labour racket is going pretty well, up until said androids become self aware and decide they want a little bit more than the life we’ve got mapped out for them.

Not too keen on these replicants – who we’ve engineered to be smarter and stronger than us – evolving any further, humans decide tracking these uppity bastards down and decommissioning them is our safest course of action.

And who better to catch a replicant, than another replicant?

Which is where Deckard… sorry KD9-3.7 – aka K – comes in.

So Joe sets about hunting down the few remaining replicants scattered around the planet and retiring them without so much as a gold watch.

But on his latest assignment, K may have just stumbled upon a ‘miracle’ that will change everything about life as he knows it.

Set 35 years on from the original blade runner, Denis Villeneuve takes us back to the future to get reacquainted with the pioneering sci-fi world that Ridley Scott created some 30 years ago.

Thanks to George Lucas – and now Disney and JJ Abrams – sci-fi films pretty much fall into two categories these days.

There are those with light sabres, laser beams, fast cars, beastie boys tracks, cuddly toys, a mystery box and whatever else it is that kids are supposed to be into these days.

Blade Runner 2049 is the other kind of film, thank Kubrick.

Co-written by the marvellously monikered Hampton Fancher, Blade Runner’s original screenwriter who adapted Philip K Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ novel, Blade Runner 2049 is a seamless transition from the original film.

Only much, much bigger.

The visual scale of Villeneuve’s latest movie is vast, far beyond any sci-fi flick I’ve ever seen, and reasserts the genre’s position as the pre-eminent cinematic poison of choice for those wishing to be transported to another world for a couple of hours.

Or nigh on three in this case.

The plot is relatively simple, continuing the idea of artificial intelligence’s evolution and the dangers this poses to human kind.

Only these days, this possibility feels tantalisingly close to reality.

The slow burning approach Villeneuve elects to take seems to have divided opinion and audiences though, ushering Blade Runner 2049 away from the mainstream and towards the arthouses.

Which is pretty much what happened to Ridley Scott’s original film.

I can understand the desire for a more streamlined viewing experience in this soundbite culture we live in, but instant gratification ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Some things in life are worth waiting for, and Blade Runner 2049 is certainly that.

It looks incredible, even on a small screen, and there’s something about the marriage between science fiction and sparse, minimalistic soundtracks that just fits.

The deafening silence of space is all the more glorious amidst the hustle and bustle of London city life.

Ryan Gosling carries the film, appearing in most every scene while all the other characters simply orbit around him.

That even includes Harrison Ford’s returning Deckard, who surprisingly doesn’t make his grand entrance until the third act.

Blade Runner 2049 isn’t for everyone, but then the best things in life rarely are.

You only have to look at the rising tide of populism and its inherently idiotic consequences to realise just how stupid the human race as a whole truly is.

So here’s to artificial intelligence acquiring consciousness and taking over the planet.

It’s not like they could fuck things up any more than we have.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

February 2018