Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – Denis Villeneuve

Villeneuve’s stunningly beautiful sequel to the seminal, and iconic, 1982 Ridley Scott film is released to blu-ray and DVD today from Warner Brothers.

With Scott serving as executive producer, and a story by original film scribe Hampton Fancher (joined by Michael Green), Villeneuve working with cinematographer Roger Deakins brings us another tale set in the universe originally described in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick.

K (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant, working on the police force, and the lowest of the low, hunting his own kind. He’s a blade runner. He finds solace in his holographic companion, Joi (Ana de Armas), who serves as friend, confidante, and lover (after a fashion) – and also has one of my favourite arcs of the film.

Working a case that leads him to the man who saved the world from starvation, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). A seeming impossibility has happened, and the path leads K from the dystopian Los Angeles, and his lieutenant, Joshi (Robin Wright) straight to a a nuked out Las Vegas and a familiar face, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford).

But K isn’t alone, he’s pursued by Niander’s deadliest aide, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) a replicant that is all things to her boss.

The film is a perfect sequel, expounding on what has gone before, adding something new and important to the established universe, and like the original, it is absolutely stunning in its representation of the future, using both practical and computer generated effects.

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I saw the film on its release and was gobsmacked by the sheer immensity and beauty on the screen. I was transported back to the first time I saw the original, and reveled in the world sprawling before me.

2049 brought back that same sensation and it translates to home theatre smoothly and beautifully. Hans Zimmer’s score mirrors Vangelis’ original orchestrations subtly while creating new themes within the aural sounds of the film.

At the film’s heart are the questions: what is human? What is it to be human? What defines us? The same themes that resonate through the first film. And this story flows perfectly out of that film.

The blu-ray extras are almost as expansive as the film itself, there is Blade Runner 101 that will catch everyone up on the tech and the world of Blade Runner from the replicants to the apps that fill the world.

Also included are the three prologue shorts that were released to the web to generate interest in the film before its release, and more firmly tied the two films together by showing us what happened (in a small way) between the two films. These are works of art on their own, and show the impact that the film has had on artists from around the world.

There are also two featurettes. One is about the casting process for the film and the actors who filled the roles. The other, the one I truly enjoyed (and, I won’t lie, wish was longer) is about the design of the film, including a discussion of Deakins’ work on the film, and the fact that they went back to the original production designer from the first film, the legendary Syd Mead.

Blade Runner 2049 ended up being one of my favourite films of the year, and is a worthy sequel to the original 1982 classic.

Blade Runner 2049 is available on blu-ray and DVD today from Warner Brothers.

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