When Blade Runner initially reached cinemas — back in 1982 — the critical reaction was mixed. Advertisements led reviewers to believe Ridley Scott’s movie would be another Harrison Ford action-adventure rather than neo-noir sci-fi.
Over 35 years later and at least audiences know to expect something similar to the original. But can Denis Villeneuve deliver something that lives up to expectations?
At 2 pm, 29 September, the embargo for Blade Runner 2049 was dropped and low-and-behold, the reviews are utterly excellent.
The Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, Evening Standard, Total Film, and many more awarded the film five-stars, some — including this publication — heralding the much-anticipated sequel as better than the original.
Of course, there’s always someone with the opposing view. Only one negative review has so far been recorded, Scott Mendelson of Forbes calling the film overlong and underwhelming. Read a quick summary of the reviews below.
Blade Runner 2049 reaches UK cinemas 6 October.
Villeneuve is paying tribute to Ridley Scott’s original from which he has taken scenes, characters and many motifs, but Blade Runner 2049 has depths that you don’t find in its predecessor. Like the director’s previous sci-fi movie Arrival, it appeals to our intellect as well as to our sense of adventure.
With this visually staggering film, director Denis Villeneuve brings us to a kind of Ozymandias moment. It just has to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. Blade Runner 2049 is a narcotic spectacle of eerie and pitiless vastness, by turns satirical, tragic and romantic.
That Blade Runner 2049 is a more than worthy sequel to Scott’s first film means it crosses the highest bar anyone could have reasonably set for it, and it distinguishes Villeneuve – who’s masterminded all of this, somehow, since making Arrival – as the most exciting filmmaker working at his level today.
Aesthetically, it is literally awesome. You will be awed by the scope and splendour of Roger Deakins’s cinematography, most memorably in panoramic aerial shots that drive home the brutal devastation of a vast conglomeration bathed perpetually in Hadean gloom.
Blade Runner 2049, on its own march to screen legend, delivers answers – and just as many new questions meant to tantalize, provoke and keep us up nights. Would you have it any other way?
Sure as it is to delight “Blade Runner” fans, this stunningly elegant follow-up doesn’t depend on having seen the original — and like 2010’s “Tron: Legacy,” may actually play better to those who aren’t wedded to the franchise’s muddled off-screen mythology. As it happens, in both tone and style, the new film owes more to slow-cinema maestro Andrei Tarkovsky than it does to Scott’s revolutionary cyberpunk sensibility.
Blade Runner 2049 takes forever to go nowhere special. The picture, filled with intriguing sights, low-key performances and a few interesting ideas, is drawn out to the point of self-parody. Like the first Blade Runner, it masks a thin story and little in the way of momentum with towering visuals and self-seriousness.
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