Thoughts: Blade Runner 2017
Making a new film based on something from the 1980's seems like the new normal. Whether it's a sequel, a reboot, or a remake it feels like everything is coming back. That being said, if you haven't see the original Blade Runner, you may feel a bit lost coming into this movie.
However, you don't need to watch the original to understand what's going on here. The film does enough to explain the world without the need for backstory but it really helps if you have seen the first movie. Especially when it comes to understanding Harrison Ford's character and motives because otherwise it can get a bit confusing. If anything, just do yourself the favor of watching the original Blade Runner because it is a good movie on its own right.
Now, as for the actual film, Blade Runner 2049, it does what movies rarely do, and that's to make a sequel as good as the original. From a lot of people, and message boards, director Denis Villeneuve has earned their respect and look forward to his next project. He definitely has a was to move a film and tell a complex narrative. You don't see whats coming next and even if you think you do, he has a way to turn typical movie tropes around and make you question what is going on. The only other director that could have pulled off this type of feat is Alfonso Cuaron. If you want more of that, I say go watch his last movie, Arrival, and you'll see a lot of the same direction in world building and character development.
The acting in this film is also top notch as Ryan Gosling is on top of his game. Everything he does makes his character more and more believable and thus, makes the narrative more more confusing. Don't feel bad if you come out of this movie not sure what happened or what's going on at points. It only adds to the mystery layer of the narrative. The only person who feels out of place is Jared Leto and that may only be because he doesn't have a lot of screen time. We're told of his character through others, but never fully quite get the entire gravitas that he should bring to the film.
If anything, go see this film for how it is shot. There are really cool scenes that stretch the world to a bigger and better version of their 80's counterpart. It explores the world outside of Los Angeles and shows us the desolate wasteland. It's a very nice and sharp comparison from the sleek, shiny city life to the robust, dirt filled exteriors where scavengers fight for survival. The way it's shot and the careful attention to detail elevate this film and separate it from other films trying to emulate sequels.
Long story short, go see this film. Go in blind and expect to see a world unfold that is layers deep with story and characters. My only hope is that they don't do another sequel very quickly. This is not a cash grab blockbuster of a movie, but rather an intricate story that walks the fine line of real and belief.