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“Blade Runner 2049”: One of the best film experiences of the decade

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"Blade Runner 2049" came out on Oct. 6 and is two hours and 43 minutes.

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"Blade Runner 2049" came out on Oct. 6 and is two hours and 43 minutes.

Jacob Barcelona, Staff Writer

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The original “Blade Runner: came out 35 years ago. After a rough opening, it slowly became a cult classic and is widely regarded as an inspiration for all cyberpunk and dystopian movies to come after it.

That’s what makes this movie such a touchy subject.

Having an original so beloved by fans makes any attempt at a sequel have hard shoes to fill. “Blade Runner” did leave a few questions that could be answered by a sequel, the new film explores these questions while evolving the world of Blade Runner.

In “Blade Runner 2049,” Ryan Gosling plays Agent K working as a Blade Runner for the LAPD. After a run in with an older replicant (artificial human) model, his boss (Robin Wright) sends him on a mission to find someone who shouldn’t exist. As the mystery unravels, K finds out things about himself and the world of Blade Runner that puts him in danger.

Right from the opening scene one thing is apparent: “Blade Runner 2049” is stunning. Whether it’s the dust orange hues of irradiated wastelands or the bright neon signs of Los Angeles, every shot is brimming with a rich color palette.

The special effects blend seamlessly with the world to bring this dark future to fruition. Cinematographer Roger Deakins and director Denis Villeneuve work to make “Blade Runner 2049” echo its predecessor, but give a unique take on it that makes the world feel more dystopian than before. Where most of Bladerunner took place in the bustling streets of future Los Angeles, 2049 feels empty at times. This gives an eeriness to the film that never really goes away. “Blade Runner 2049” isn’t a tense thriller like  “Sicario” or “Prisoners” (some of Villeneuve’s other works), but instead it feels as if the world itself is the mystery along with K’s mission. The whole movie is meticulously crafted and each scene has small details that make the world of “Blade Runner 2049” come alive.

In “Blade Runner 2049,” both minor and major characters really shine. Whoever cast this movie was brilliant, each character no matter how minor their part contributes to the believability of the world. Gosling portrays K masterfully; he starts off robotic and emotionless as K obeys his superior’s commands, but as K starts learning the truth about himself Gosling’s performance becomes increasingly emotional. The best performance in the movie by far, though, is by Jared Leto. His presence is unsettling in every scene and you can’t help but hang on every word his character speaks. Leto actually blinded himself to get into character for the film, I only wish they utilized his character more as he commanded every scene he was in.

As the film goes on “Blade Runner 2049” becomes more complex and a bit convoluted. K’s mission that takes him to his eventual meeting with Deckard is paced relatively slowly. After the meeting, the film starts to pick up and speeds to the finish after that. Scenes where almost nothing is happening are commonplace, but what saves these scenes are the visual storytelling,world building, and foreshadowing that is placed in some of these scenes that rewards the attentive moviegoer. The film never feels dull, though, as the mystery K follows unravels in an interesting and satisfying way. The replicants like in the last film raise a few moral questions about what it means to be human, but unfortunately the film explores these subjects in a very black and white manner. “2049” also hints at a sequel introducing some major story threads late in the film and leaving them untied, but as a self-contained story “2049” succeeds.

“Blade Runner 2049” has all the makings of an instant classic. It has amazing performances across the board, stunning cinematography, great direction, a powerful score, and a world that absorbs the viewer. This movie isn’t for everyone though; the pacing is a bit slow and the plot falls flat in some places. Despite this, “Blade Runner 2049” is an extremely ambitious film that should be commended for its near perfect execution.

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“Blade Runner 2049”: One of the best film experiences of the decade