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  • This review is originally from Marcus-Aurelius90 of IMDb.

    Don't believe the deluded shills who rate this sequel a 10/10. The original Blade Runner is a genuine masterpiece; this movie is not. My review will compare both films so it'll contain spoilers.

    Pacing: BR2049's story progression is much, much slower than the original, resulting in two hours and forty three minutes of mind numbing tedium. I love slow-paced films, provided there's enough drama and tension to justify it. While the first Blade Runner has ellipses, it's used to great effect: the instances of apparent silence swell toward sudden, unexpected violence, or when a character is gnawing over an important line of dialogue.

    What makes a slow-paced film interesting? Information, delivered at the right time.

    The first film tells us replicants are murderous outlaws. We witness Leon shoot the interviewing officer at the start. Some more replicants are hiding in Los Angeles, and Deckard has to hunt them. This point is succiently made in the first minutes. When Deckard is wandering through the crowded streets of futuristic LA, we feel afraid for him, because he is putting himself in immense danger. Repeat after me: information creates tension.

    By contrast, Blade Runner 2049 begins with long, drawn-out scenes of Special K, aimlessly searching for.. some replicant child. Since no villain truly crosses paths with K until the last act, there's no point in the hero to race against time, let alone be afraid. Thus, when the movie finally breaks out of its glacial momentum toward the end, you're just so bored out of your skull, it's hard to recall why anyone is doing anything, so you no longer care or even notice what the film thinks is a stunning revelation.

    Look: The shills rave about the look of Blade Runner 2049. But considering its inflated budget, the photography is actually sub-par. There is a lush variety of locales and details to be absorbed on a re-watch of the original Blade Runner, while here, it has some moments of nice visual ideas, but mostly the palette is dominated by dreary tones and brutalist architecture you'd find from the director's native Montreal.

    The close-ups in the original made the grimy futuristic streets of Los Angeles look and feel like a crowded, claustrophobic, poverty-stricken hellhole. Such a lens also gives gravitas to characters in the foreground, making Ford look all the more epic.

    This film used wider lenses, so the pent-up tension of the original street scenes is non-existent. In fact, very rarely does BR2049 venture out into the streets, so that we cannot breathe in the futuristic air as easily as we did in the original. The original film is lively to look at, thanks to the use of light emanating from miniature buildings, vehicles and advertising, diffusing well with the humid vapours. Computer-generated light by contrast, it just doesn't behave like real light does. Real light goes where it wants. The human eye cannot be fooled.

    The "production value" looks cheap. I don't mean that in a sleazy film noir way, which would have been cool, but that I don't know where they've spent the 185 million budget. because only a fraction of that was spent on the sets. Two things work in BR2049's favour: the voice comp device has been updated reminiscent of 1984, and there is a Total Recall-style artificial female hologram who is programmed to love Special K. Interesting, but in light of the original film's vision of futuristic originality, it's hardly groundbreaking. Now, Syd Mead, who drafted up the designs for the Voight-Kampff machine and the flying Spinners is a genius. But to look at this film makes me wonder whether he was given the inspiration to bring out this film's potential, being set decades after the first film. His work on Elysium (2013) was far superior.

    Acting: Ryan Gosling plays it straight (and glum) as he did in "Only God Forgives." There is a plot reason for this, being that he is an engineered replicant whose subdued emotional palette is subservient to mission efficiency, but his dull persona compounds this movie's languid pace. There's not enough of Harrison Ford, who only shows up in the last hour. Jared Leto's monologues are cheesy. It's not his fault: he's miscast and just badly written as the successor of Tyrell.

    Philip K. Dick is a genius too: both films are inspired by his literary masterwork "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." This sequel barely scratches the iceberg of the novel's intellectual depth. Since many of his concepts are inherently visually rich, this only highlights how much of a cinematic failure Blade Runner 2049 actually is, in its inability to invoke the source material to the fullest.

    This film is ultimately meant to be a continuation of BR's science fiction and noir fusion, but it lacks the question-raising intelligence you'd expect from science fiction, and none of the crime-solving tension required of film noir. It lacks the brutal immediacy of the original Nexus-6 villains which the first one delivered in spades. It lacks the tense cat-and-mouse hunting which made the original so intense, a race where our sympathies fluctuate between Deckard and the hunted replicants. It just isn't as clever as it purports to be, flaunting some intimidating visuals and an obnoxious, one-note droning soundtrack as if to distract the audience.

    Blade Runner 2049 is a self-important, bloated fatware snoozefest. It is bleak, boring and ultimately feels like you've paid for counterfeit snake skin. Should you go and see this? If you're a die-hard fan of the original, at least BR2049's story ends in a way which sets things up for a sequel which I hope will actually be interesting.