Denis Villeneuve is on one heck of a role! The French-Canadian director has had a stormer in recent years with the likes of the critically acclaimed Sicario and Arrival launching him into the mainstream. He’s now taken on a sci-fi classic with the sequel to Ridley Scott’s legendary 80s flop-turned-favourite Blade Runner.
Harrison Ford took the lead back in ’82, now we have Ryan Gosling – 30 years later (in film time) – leading the way as the new breed of blade runners hunting those pesky replicants. Ford does appear, but this is most definitely Gosling’s flick. Scott’s film, regardless of which of the trillion cuts you may have seen, was renowned for looking god-damn beautiful, and with technology on his side, Villeneuve does not disappoint. The French-Canadian hitmaker has expanded the Blade Runner universe with an array of grey and orange and a soundtrack that – similar to Arrival – never gives you a moments rest.
It’s much longer than the original, but with that extra time we get a depth that we never got – and some may say, never needed – with the 1982 flick. Gosling storms home as the new-age replicant hunter, who goes so effortlessly between dealing with his own crap and keeping his eye on the greater prize. The guy’s a great eye actor, you know? He doesn’t need to say much, or even do anything, but you just get what he’s doing through a glance, or a longing stare. With the awesome La La Land and the enjoyable buddy-cop comedy The Nice Guys under his belt in recent times, The Gosling has truly landed as one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors.
I enjoyed Scott’s film, although it took me until a second viewing to really get it. Visually stunning and with the Ford-Hauer combo, I see why it’s so loved, but I’ve never truly thought it has earned its hype. With Blade Runner 2049 it just clicked. It gives us a little bit more without over-doing it and it just looks and sounds freakin’ stunning. The whole Jared Leto thing grated on me slightly, but the God-complex idea was cool and thankfully he wasn’t overused, so I can forgive and forget on that front.
Better than the original? No need to whisper… I think so, people!