The 3 things you need to get the most out of the masterpiece that is ‘Blade Runner 2049’
Blade Runner 2049 is a sci-fi symphony. Everything works together, thoughtfully, intricately and beautifully.
Story, script, score, characters, ideas, sound design, visuals — oh my stars, those visuals — all in perfect complement, sparking off showers of greatness to blind the sum of these parts. Denis Villeneuve has allowed himself a luxurious 2 hours, 44 minutes to revisit the Ridley Scott cult classic, but not a frame or beat is extraneous or out of place.
Even Villeneuve’s constant interface with the 1982 original Blade Runner is harmonious, heartbreaking and additive. My god, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Blade Runner 2049 makes Blade Runner a better movie.
Even Jared Leto’s koo-koo bad guy kinda works
And here’s a glowing quote you won’t see on a movie poster: Blade Runner 2049 is so grandly awesome, so fully developed and dialed-in, even Jared Leto’s koo-koo bad guy kinda works.
Ladies and gentlemen of the moviegoing public, Blade Runner 2049 simply took my breath away — and if you’re prepared and open to it, it’ll take yours, too.
And that’s about all I’m allowed to say.
Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment have handled this film so gingerly and secretively you’d think it was a weakened, dying worker bee — not a thriving, vigorous and utterly confident example of what a cinematic revisitation ought to be.
That covertness was cloying. Critics and press were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements (I didn’t sign mine, evaded detection)! Last-minute press screening at a stealth location … there were some marketing shenanigans going on over at Warner Bros., due to the wishes of “the filmmakers,” I was cryptically told.
But now I understand why.
There are a few requirements to maximize this experience
Everything really is a spoiler. It’s true. Every. Damn. Thing.
Even telling you that Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas are flawless in their roles feels like saying too much. Maybe it is.
We the press were repeatedly and forcefully asked not to reveal any plot points. Good! We oughtn’t. You’ll want to be fresh for this one. It’s only fair.
But there are still a few requirements to maximize this experience. None are spoilers.
Read, heed and have a great time. Movies like Blade Runner 2049 don’t come around too often.
1. See the original, or re-watch it if it’s been awhile
Look, if you don’t watch Blade Runner, it’s not like you won’t get something out of Blade Runner 2049. But you’ll enjoy absorbing these twists and turns way, way more if you do.
Let me be clear: This is not in service of “fan service.” Fan service is repugnant. Fan service is calling back to things to gratuitously press your joy-buzzers, like cute bloopy robots and spaceships named for mythical 1,000-year predatory birds.
Blade Runner 2049 absolutely needs Blade Runner, but it also enhances it and builds upon it. I can think of no sequel in the dubious history of sequels that has performed this trick.
You’re going to want that memory freshly minted, trust me.
2. Seek out the best screen and sound in your area
The sound is paramount. You want bone-shaking bombast for this baby. Look for a theater equipped with Dolby Atmos (or equivalent) sound gear first and foremostly. Once you have that squared away, seek an IMAX or laser-projected showtime. It looks great, too.
And then — sit up close. Blade Runner 2049 is a world you want to feel like you’re walking around in, not observing from afar. Even if you’re not an up-close person, take my word for this one.
3. Don’t read anything else
Seriously, just do 1-2 and go. Don’t read any more reviews or features or anything. You’ve seen enough. Stop reading this, even.
Stop it. Do it now.
Good. Then you won’t see me declare that Denis Villeneuve is the Stanley Kubrick of our time, and he just made his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Except it’s a 35-years-later studio sequel with a lot of plot, which is awkward and risky to write, I know. I know.
No one wants to see that. I’m glad you stopped digging before you got to the truth.