The ever-voracious appetite for nostalgia that has engulfed American media over the last decade had led to the resurrection and remaking of several television programs and calls for reunions of now-defunct musical groups. “The Nostalgia Factor” has so far seen varying results in the world of American cinema, with classic films such as “Wall Street” and the “Indiana Jones” franchise releasing sequels decades after their predecessors. These films were met with a lukewarm reception from viewers and critics alike. Looking to break this mold, “Blade Runner 2049” seeks to please viewers 35 years after the release of Ridley Scott’s original “Blade Runner” in 1982.
In this writer’s opinion, the sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve, not only shatters the mold, but casts a new one all its own.
A direct narrative sequel to the original, the film stars Ryan Gosling as “K,” an LAPD “blade runner” in the year 2049 tasked with tracking down and eliminating rogue “replicants,” a controllable race of engineered humanoids. When he stumbles upon a discovery that could change the future of replicants, K must track down legendary blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has disappeared in the years since the original film’s events. The two form an alliance against Wallace (Jared Leto), a replicant manufacturer who is looking to exploit K’s discovery for his own gain.
The film succeeds on virtually every front, combining a satisfying narrative with rich visual effects that beckon to the viewer as if the film’s setting is an existential portal into a not-so-distant future. This is perhaps due to the retention of original star Ford, as well as original writer Hampton Fancher and director Ridley Scott, who remains behind the scenes as a producer.
“Blade Runner 2049” very literally is a film that needs to be seen to be believed. The only pitfall is the film’s run time, which at nearly three hours, takes up virtually an entire afternoon. Those three hours, however, will nonetheless be spent watching a cinematic sequel for the ages, an experience this writer can assure you cannot be replicated.