Blade Runner 2049 is an Exceptional Science-Fiction Epic

Blade Runner 2049 is an excellent sequel to the original film that presents a dystopian view into the future.

James McCrawOffice Manager/Senior Reporter

In the future police officers known as Blade Runners are sworn to hunt down and exterminate humanoid androids known as Replicants who have discovered a way to feel emotions and go away from their original programming as laborers.

Thirty years ago, director Ridley Scott and actor Harrison Ford showed us this future, set in the year 2019. This year, director Denis Villeneuve and actor Ryan Gosling brought us a new vision of the future, set 30 years after the events of the first film.

The plot of this direct sequel is pretty simple. A series of events lead Gosling’s Officer K to discover the hiding place of Ford’s Deckard from the first film. The movie is about making choices to find yourself and what choices you make in order to do the right thing.

The subplots are what really show the filmmaking process. Each act (there’s three overall) has a subplot or character arc that leads to the overall plot. Gosling’s quest for discovery eventually leads to the climax of the film, which to me, after almost two and a half hours, seemed rushed and not thought out.

The first act introduces us to Robin Wright’s exceptional turn as Gosling’s boss, Lieutenant Joshi. She is a human who runs the blade runner program. Towards the end of the first arc, you realize that she cares about her Replicant employees, even giving up her life to save Gosling’s. We also meet Joi, who is Gosling’s companion. She is not human or replicant, but more of a holographic functioning companion. She is the closest thing that Gosling has to interpersonal relationships.

The antagonist of the film is portrayed brilliantly by Jared Leto. His character runs Wallace Corp who created synthetic farming, as well as the newest new generation of Replicants which have modified behavior to make them more obedient than the older models. These Replicants have implanted memories and open-ended lifespans, and are still used for slave labor on the off-world colonies, but some are also used as Blade Runners, hunting down and ‘retiring’ the few remaining older models that are still at large. His morally grey character is not necessarily a villain in the common sense of the term, but he harbors dark secrets as to what his company is really doing. His right-hand replicant, Luv, is the true villain, doing Wallace’s dirty work.

All through the second act, “K” gets closer (or further) from the truth. The second act is the longest of the three, leading more to style and substance than plot.

The third act is where we find Deckard. Ford portrays his character like almost every character he’s played the past 10 years. He’s a grumpy old man, who has isolated himself from the outside world. When he is confronted by “K” about the reason for his visit, Deckard must relive past events, ones that directly tie together the two movies. The third act is where the action really picks up. Deckard and Wallace have a little chat which leads to some violence. “K” and Luv fight, and a character that you wouldn’t expect gets their happy ending.

The biggest issue with the film was its runtime. The film clocks in at about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The film is visually a treat, and is filmed very similarly to the original film. Villeneuve paid homage to Scott’s original vision, without it being campy or showy. Gosling’s acting is exceptional, adding levels of humanity to his character that one wouldn’t expect a replicant to have.

The biggest takeaway for this film is the idea of humanity. One does not necessarily have to be human in order to have human feelings or thoughts. It’s what one does with their humanity that makes the difference.  

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

James McCraw

Blade Runner 2049 is an Exceptional Science-Fiction Epic

by James McCraw time to read: 3 min