Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

With a budget of $180 million and an all-star cast that include Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford and Robin Wright, expectations were high on Blade Runner 2049. Reports that are coming in do not bode well with the highly anticipate sequel. Tickets sales are slow and chances are it will not reach industry expectations.

Watching the movie on 3D and also being a big fan of the first Blade Runner, I can honestly say that I like the sequel and I’m giving it 5 stars. It is cerebral, the pacing is just right and there is an element of mystery that kept me guessing until the end.

I’m giving it 5 stars. But, of course, many will disagree, based on the other reviews that I have read. And somehow I do understand. And here are the reasons why:

1982 is so far away from 2017, the difference is like night and day.

The world was slower then, to use a phrase. There was no internet. Fast communications were done by landlines and faxes. That said, today’s viewers are used to a “faster” way of life. Successful franchises like “The Fast & the Furious” rely on fast pacing and CGI that are mind boggling.

Blade Runner 2049 also used CGI but it stayed true to the original Blade Runner. It’s off beat. It’s neo-noir quality is working against it. It’s slow pacing and seemingly choreographed moves might be okay for the audience of today when they are watching the original Blade Runner. But, they want “The Fast & the Furious” pacing.

And Blade Runner 2049 has the chops for it. But, thank goodness that the Director did not use it and chose to stay within the Blade Runner universe.

The Los Angeles of the future is not something that the audience want.

The Los Angeles depicted in Blade Runner 2049 is dystopian. Even beautiful San Diego is a dump. With the current political situation wherein the state of California has announced that it is a sanctuary state and even said that California will build a wall so that the rest of the 47 states in the continental U.S. cannot enter without their permission, seeing it as a desolate place does not sit well with the audience.

In the current political climate wherein many see California as a sanctuary, depicting it in a dystopian future does not resonate well. Who would want to live in California in 2049 if it looks what is depicted in the movie? Not many, I guess.

How ’bout them Critics?

Looking back… In the original Blade Runner released in 1982, even the critics were divided. That still holds true today with Blade Runner 2049. And the original movie did not do well in the box office either. But, it became a cult movie and was inspiration to so many things, including fashion, mind you.

My prediction is this… The bean counters might not be happy about box office receipts, but the movie will be another cult movie. The $180 million spent on the movie will be recovered and profits will be made, but not instantly. After all, a cult following does not happen overnight, though one can say that there is already a captive audience for Blade Runner 2049.

Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers