"Blade Runner 2049" is set 30 years after the influential and ground-breaking 1982 "Blade Runner," and aims to continue the original film’s story while further developing the fascinating, but bleak world of the future.
"Blade Runner" told the story of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a police officer charged with hunting down and destroying any "Replicants" – robots that look exactly like human beings and are used as laborers on other planets – he finds on Earth.
In 2049, the Tyrell Corp., manufacturer of such machines, has been shut down, replaced by an innovator in robotics, the Wallace Corp. This new company still makes Replicants, but theirs are more compliant than previous models.
K (Ryan Gosling), is a new model Replicant who is also, ironically, a Blade Runner. During one of his cases, K visits a farmer thought to be a Replicant that needs to be "retired." While there, he discovers the bones of another Replicant buried at the base of a tree, and learns something that could destroy the very fabric of their world: a Replicant has given birth to a child.
Realizing the gravity of his discovery, K breaks the news to his superiors at the Los Angeles Police Department, and is given the task of finding the Replicant’s child, and covering it up, thereby betraying his own kind.
K’s mysterious case takes unexpected turns, and involves some familiar faces from the first film (including Harrison Ford in an integral role). These cameos are necessary to the plot, not just pandering to "Blade Runner" fans.
Although there are many positive things to say about "Blade Runner 2049," the best for me is the plot. It is engaging to the point that, although the movie is nearly three hours long, I actually wanted it to be longer. This is not because the plot is open ended, or lacking details, but merely because it is enthralling.
The many twists and revelations the story has serve to effectively develop the plot and characters in tandem. Although this might sound like the story could get overly convoluted, it really doesn’t. It actually could make sense to people who haven’t seen the original.
Another winning aspect of this film is the incredible performance by Ryan Gosling. Being a new model Replicant, forced by his own programming to comply to the will of humanity, creates a turmoil within him, and despite his limited number of lines, Gosling portrays this inner struggle beautifully. His face says it all, and like in the first "Blade Runner," there is often no dialogue required.
As the emotional strain starts to effect him, every reaction seems so genuine and true to K’s personality that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching Gosling at all, but instead, feeling the same moral weight of his character as if he were real.
The two final aspects that help make "Blade Runner 2049" as good as it is are the sets and music.
The former are very creative, and they look meaningful; as if each environment has an interesting history of its own.
"Blade Runner" sets were crowded, visually busy and claustrophobic, but the locations in "Blade Runner 2049" are open and vast.
What adds weight and importance to these locations is the music. More ambient than anything else, the score does it’s job of providing a foreboding and dismal atmosphere impeccably.
Taking everything about "Blade Runner 2049" into account, I recommend the film wholeheartedly. Gosling gives an incredible performance, the sets are thoughtfully designed, the music creates the perfect atmosphere, and most of all, the plot is beyond interesting and gives viewers many moral questions to think about. "Blade Runner 2049" is a great science fiction film for an audience willing to invest some thought, and a more-than-worthy follow up to the revered classic.
Quinn Zack is a junior at Hamburg High School.