Blade Runner 2049

Brainy Sci-Fi


14 October 2017| No Comments on Blade Runner 2049     by Sean Chavel


Enigmatic. All these decades of science fiction parables and detective stories has led to the most complicated one that a person can imagine with Blade Runner 2049, and I mean that in the very best way. The 1982 Ridley Scott original, and all its later director cuts, was about as complex and mind-blowing as science-fiction in cinema could get, and this new one by Denis Villenueve (“Arrival”) has even more dense layers, philosophical dilemmas, symbolic motifs, twisty plot turns, and places you in a hunt for what it all means.

For twenty minutes, I thought the sequel would be all set dressing and surface qualities. The dependably sturdy Ryan Gosling is a blade runner referred to as K. who hunts unauthorized androids (replicants), and after he has terminated his latest target, he finds a tomb buried in the yard which has long deceased remains. These are not ordinary remains. The new film, right in its opening title prologue, suggests the new breakthroughs of bioengineering in the twenty-first century. The replicants may not be human, but perhaps it’s a little hinted at that in its science it takes more than human flesh to make a replicant. This is where the film begins to get brainy.

It is told to us immediately exactly what kind of being Ryan Gosling is from the beginning. He knows his childhood past is made of completely of memory implants, such is the case with replicants. He eventually is troubled in discerning what early memories might actually be real.

“Blade Runner 2049” is a detective story where K. has to locate the offspring of the deceased that was found in that tomb, and also deconstruct his own identity while he’s at it. K. is compelled to learn more about Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Rachel (Sean Young), characters from the 1982 original (Note: I wish Ford was more cooperative in reprising his role, he’s too sentient and knowing). There are perplexing characters played by Robin Wright and Jared Leto, as well as Sylvia Hoeks and Ana de Armas as artificial intelligence.

There are no pleasures in this future world, and if there any, it’s all creepingly synthetic or transient virtual reality pleasures. Earth is an awful world to be caught on in the “Blade Runner” films, and we’re always left wondering how much more progressive are the off-world colonies. When it comes to viewer pleasures or lack of, I felt like there was a major flaw – one female character that K. has been looking for all along, a female that’s supposed to be the key to a mass rebellion, doesn’t seem all that well-hidden. Couldn’t the evil Wallace Corporation (take note, the Tyrell Corporation has been dismounted) have found this wanted female years ago if they so wanted to put their own search team out to destroy her?

“Blade Runner 2049” is nonetheless a great yarn told with deliberate long pauses, it has the length and depth to put the mind to work to unravel its intricacies, it immerses you into its trancelike noirish techno-saturated future world. It’s far more desolate than the first one, too. I didn’t always believe that the clues would lead the protagonist to one site to another, or that certain characters happened to be exactly where the detective would find them, and on and on. I feel compelled to re-watch it already to see if I find the narrative more connective and less contrived.

I was in awe of the film’s artistry nonetheless. As for Villenueve, I still feel his last film “Arrival” remains his best. He continues though to take on challenges within the Hollywood system and especially has taken on a great undertaking here, creating a worthy sequel to an enshrined classic, and complimenting and deepening it as well.

163 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Blade Runner” (1982); “Minority Report” (2002); “Cloud Atlas” (2012); “Ex Machina” (2015).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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