More than three decades after the original film, “Blade Runner 2049” is finally hitting theaters. And critics agree it was well worth the wait.
“Every minute of this mesmerizing mindbender is a visual feast to gorge on,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt agreed, calling it a “ravishing visual feast.”
“Even when its emotions risk running as cool as its palette, ‘2049’ reaches for, and finds, something remarkable: the elevation of mainstream moviemaking to high art,” she added in her review.
While others called it 2017’s best, ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer added it “looks like someone dared director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins to make the most visually spectacular science-fiction film of the century — and then they actually did it.”
TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde said Villeneuve crafted “many moments of breathless tension… Here’s hoping modern audiences take to the new ‘Blade Runner’ with more enthusiasm than they did in 1982, because this sequel proves that this world merits repeat visits.”
“Blade Runner 2049” takes place thirty years after the events of the first film. A new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Denis Villeneuve directed the film that also stars Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista and Ana de Armas.
It has a glowing 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes so far. Sample seven of the most rapturous reviews here:
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
“Every minute of this mesmerizing mindbender is a visual feast to gorge on … When K and Deckard finally meet – Gosling and Ford are double dynamite together – the film takes on a resonance that is both tragic and hopeful. It turns out that the theme of what it means to be human hasn’t lost its punch, certainly not in a Trumpian era when demands are made on dreamers to prove their human worth. ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ on its own march to screen legend, delivers answers – and just as many new questions meant to tantalize, provoke and keep us up nights. Would you have it any other way?”
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:
“The film’s an honorable, reasonably grown-up continuation of Scott’s futuristic noir vision of 2019 Los Angeles and the world of author Philip K. Dick’s source material, the short story ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ Director Denis Villeneuve’s brooding, methodical sequel challenges audiences to take their collective time, two hours and 44 minutes of it, and marinate in the images while Ryan Gosling‘s LAPD officer stares down his latest adversary, or stares into his latest existential riddle.”
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly:
“Villeneuve, one of the few filmmakers working today for whom the word auteur doesn’t sound like an unearned affectation, may have fallen a little too in love with his own creation; at two hours and 40 minutes, aesthetic shock and awe eventually outpace the narrative. But how could he not, when nearly every impeccably composed shot — a surreal six-handed love scene; a shimmering hologram of Elvis, hip-swiveling into eternity; a ‘newborn’ replicant, slick with amniotic goo — feels like such a ravishing visual feast? Even when its emotions risk running as cool as its palette, ‘2049’ reaches for, and finds, something remarkable: the elevation of mainstream moviemaking to high art.”
Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice:
“‘Blade Runner 2049’ is filled with mind-blowing images, with cinematographer Roger Deakins and production designer Dennis Gassner giving us frame after frame of impossible, forbidding beauty: Overhead shots of a gray, cluttered Los Angeles skyline, with brief, mysterious glimmers of those iconic neon screens below; desolate, dust-blasted orange wastelands; abandoned cities stacked with ornate, neoclassical ruins; even, yes, snow. The first ‘Blade Runner’ was shot by the late Jordan Cronenweth, who found moments of crystalline precision within the grime and the clutter; its world was visually striking, but also somewhat monotone. Deakins, Villeneuve, and team have to stay true to the feel of that classic – the original is too beloved for them to dare reinvent it – and yet still give us something new and exceptional. They have achieved all that, and more.”
Scott Collura, IGN Movies:
“It’s a huge relief to see that Villeneuve and his team are well aware of what the original film was about and show enormous respect for it. Instead, 2049 plays off of the themes, plot, and characters of the 1982 movie without cannibalizing it or negating or retroactively ruining any of those elements. Rather, it organically expands and grows what came before. It’s a deep, rich, smart film that’s visually awesome and full of great sci-fi concepts, and one that was well worth the 35-year wait.”
Dan Jolin, Empire Magazine:
“As bold as the original Blade Runner and even more beautiful (especially if you see it in IMAX). Visually immaculate, swirling with themes as heart-rending as they are mind-twisting, 2049 is, without doubt, a good year. And one of 2017’s best.”
Matt Singer, Screen Crush:
“My God, what a beautiful movie this is. ‘Blade Runner 2049’ looks like someone dared director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins to make the most visually spectacular science-fiction film of the century — and then they actually did it. You could watch this movie with no sound (something I don’t advocate you do, because the dialogue, music, and sound design are all incredible too) and still enjoy each of the film’s 163 minutes. Every frame here tells a story.”