Today, we delve deep into the 2017 sequel to the legendary ‘Blade Runner’ movie, which is ‘Blade Runner 2049’.
Ridley Scott had done a spectacular job in bringing Philip K. Dick’s dystopian future story into life, with his take on the original ‘Blade Runner’ movie released in 1982. Picking up the story from there, director Denis Villenueve, executed an amazing sequel that did not detract anything from the book, yet keeping the story aligned, which is not an easy work.
Originally, I had no clue that the movie had a ‘predecessor’, and I thought that this is the first movie adaptation to the novel. Which brings me to my first verdict of the film’s storytelling; Without watching the first movie, you still get what’s going on in here. Villenueve filled us in with tiny but important details at the beginning of the movie, and I think its good considering that not many people would go back watching a full 2 hour 80’s movie just to have an idea about the story.
The depiction of a dystopian future, did not seem to be far-fetched from the world we live in today. Air conditions are worsened by the lack of vegetation presence, sea levels have risen, and the pollutions caused has even blocked sunlight from reaching the cities –which are no better. Tightly packed buildings, with neon holographic adverts in every corner, depicts the image of a somewhat grim and lifeless city.
A wave of obligant replicants has been conceived by the visionary engineer named Niander Wallace, helped by his ruthless and cunning assistant, Luv. These replicants are bio-engineered androids who are made human-like, but with the lack of emotion. They are tasked to hunt and ‘retire’ old replicant models, who had rebelled against the government and ran into hiding.
One such replicant is officer K, who is employed by the Los Angeles Police Department. In his mission of tracking down a renegade replicant, he came upon a dreadful discovery –that what he might know as an implanted artificial memory, might not be fake after all. Being hunted by Luv and her companion during his curious mission on his own memory, K joined force with Deckard –an old Blade Runner- who ends up being tied together in a twist of a journey.
The story, which is written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, is full of complexity. In this movie, we delve deep into the idea of artificial intelligence. That, though they are initially made to feel no remorse and emotion, they are made to be intelligent enough to learn. Which soon came to the conclusion that synthetic humans also harbor feelings, desires, and dreams –that they are mirrors of humans. One such instance is K, who is a human made to be soulless, coming home to his ‘girlfriend’ Joi, who is an artificial projection engineered to be full of human emotions.
Such ideas are told in a manner that is eerie and unnerving, yet somewhat full of philosophy. The way Villenueve used the images of a grim dystopia, while also maintaining calm-melancholic storytelling, despite the amount of violence and psychological intensity. Not to mention the gripping and atmospheric score composed by Hans Zimmer, adding further intensity.
I had felt as if Villenueve wanted me to pay attention to the details of the movie, the psychological pressure it is imposing, and the beauty of the cinematography, all without giving too many details on the plot and the mysteries it is trying to uncover. And that, in my opinion, is a brilliant way to make the audience think, and rewatch the movie (in which I actually did).
Blade Runner 2049 was engineered to be enjoyable, –through its composed storytelling, and masterful cinematography- while also serving as a complex image of what our future could become.