This review of Blade Runner 2049 will be one of the strangest ones I have written.
Six months ago, I went to see Ghost in the Shell. The highlight of the experience was the preview for Blade Runner 2049 which accompanied the film. To that point, I had no idea that a sequel was being filmed (I was either under a rock... or too obsessed with steemit to notice.). As soon as I saw the preview, I was thrilled. In fact, I was so exhilarated that I went into something I call, "over-excited puppy mode". This usually consists of my yelling, swearing, and making wild hand gestures until I get myself all tuckered out (like an over-excited puppy).
Recently, I discovered that Dennis Villeneuve was directing the film.
No more "over-excited puppy" for me. Although many of my friends loved Villeneuve's Arrival, I was bored out of my mind. Another one of his films Sicario was fine... but I certainly have no urge to see it more than once. I was hoping that I would want to watch the sequel to Blade Runner as many times as I had watched the original. As far as I can tell, Villeneuve does not make movies that I can watch 78 times (the approximate number of times I watched Blade Runner). To be fair, there are about 10 different versions of Blade Runner, so I really only watched each of them approximately 8 times.
There is no doubt that Villeneuve is an incredibly talented director. Unfortunately, he does not make very "fun" movies. If I am going to actually spend the time and money at a theater, I usually need to have a significant amount of fun. I save the interesting and thought provoking movies for home viewing. Knowing who the director was, I lowered my expectations quite a bit. But I still had to see the movie.
After seeing them, I immediately re-entered "over-excited puppy" mode, jumped into my car, and drove 35 minutes to the nearest true IMAX theater (I HATE LieMAX!).
If you are going to see the film, you must do two things:
Watch the three short films first. They enhanced my enjoyment of the film more than I could have ever imagined. They were important. Not only do they help explain some of the major events between the two films (2019 and 2049) they also help flesh out one very important character who is only in the theatrical film for 5 minutes.
See it in real IMAX. The true stars of this movie are the visuals. Blade Runner 2049 was both literally and figuratively perfectly made for 2D IMAX.
Here is where this review gets weird.
Normally, I only want to see movies on the big screen that are exciting. Blade Runner 2049 is not exciting at all. In fact, I could probably explain the entire plot to you in one or two sentences. Honestly, there isn't much to the story. In addition, there is almost no action at all. Even the action that does exist is pretty boring. There is no suspense. You know how these very short battles will end. There is perhaps 15 minutes of action in the entire movie. Considering that the movie is almost 165 minutes long, that is not very much. Sadly, I could see many points in the movie where some fun action could have been seamlessly woven in. But I got over it. I accepted that it is not that type of movie.
So the movie was not very "fun"... and yet I enjoyed the experience.
Seeing this movie in IMAX stirred up the same feelings I get when I go to a museum (that's the weird part).
When I go to a museum, I find the paintings, statues and artifacts interesting. Seeing them inspires me to reflect and think. That is exactly what this movie made me do. Although I never go into "over-excited puppy mode" at a museum, I still enjoy my time there. That is exactly how I felt about this movie. I was interested. I reflected and thought. Most importantly, I experienced something that looked and sounded amazing.
The special effects and world generation was breath-taking. The score was exhilarating. Seeing it in real IMAX pushed it over the edge. This film did not just throw its large format viewers a bone or two. It seemed like nearly the entire movie was filmed to fit the larger than life eight story tall screen on which I viewed it. The world they created deserved to be seen on an eight story tall screen. It was simply incredible!
So it looks and sounds amazing... what about the movie itself?
Although the story requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief (it is about freaking robots in the future) it is clever and interesting. The acting and casting is nearly flawless. If you are going to draw out a 90 minute story into 165 minutes, you better have the actors to pull it off. This movie did. Ryan Gosling did a great job as a brooding police officer. Although only in the movie for a relatively short time, Jared Leto left a lasting impression. Harrison Ford is... Harrison Ford. Look at my handle here. I loved him in this. But then again, I love him in everything (except maybe that one movie with Anne Heche).
To be honest, there is so little to the story that I can't say much without spoiling the entire film. I can say that instead of an action film, it is more of a story of a detective solving a mystery. While the original Blade Runner mixed in incredibly exciting and fun action sequences during the mystery, this director clearly does not know how to mix the two.
Even though the story is surprisingly simple, it still manages to cause the audience to reflect on extremely deep concepts including the meaning of humanity.
Bottom line. Should you see the movie?
If you are a Blade Runner fanatic, you absolutely have to see it. Just try to see it in IMAX if you can. If you are a casual fan, here are some reasons you should see it:
- The visual effects
- The score
- The beautiful people
When I returned home and told my wife about the experience, she quipped, "Well at least you got to look Ryan Gosling for for three hours." (My wife and apparently much of the female population thinks he's incredibly attractive.)
Normally, I do not write about the attractiveness of the stars of the movies I review. The physical appearance of the actors in the movies I see usually isn't enough to sway my opinion of a movie. For example, although I think Scarlett Johansson is incredibly beautiful as Black Widow in The Avengers, I wouldn't let that fact sway my overall opinion of the movie.
However, this movie may be the exception. Considering this film relies so heavily on its visuals, it makes sense that they would pay special attention to the casting of the main character's love interest.
Not only did Ana de Armas, who plays Joi, do a fantastic job as K's (Ryan Gosling's) love interest, she is absolutely gorgeous.
I have a strong feeling this will be here breakout role.
Should you see the movie?
Would you ever go to a Blade Runner museum exhibit?
If the answer to that question is "yes", then you should see Blade Runner 2049 on IMAX ASAP. If you answered "no", I am afraid you may be bored by this film.
Geeky Guy’s Viewing Guide
Number of times I fell asleep: 0 (The woman two seats away from me did... and she snored)
Number of eye rolls: 0
Number of face palms: 0
Number of times I checked steemit: 0 (I actually had to go to the bathroom for approximately the last 45 minutes of the movie but did not want to miss anything)
Number of times I said "That's ridiculous": 0
Full price/Matinee/Rental/Free/Not worth the time: See it in real IMAX
Appropriate for my kids: No way.