Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in BLADE RUNNER 2049?
The past will always find you. BLADE RUNNER 2049 hits theaters tomorrow, October 6th. 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.
From executive producer Ridley Scott and director Denis Villeneuve, #BladeRunner2049 stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, MacKenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto.
Let's see what the critics have to say about the sequel.
A.O. Scott, The New York Times: "The precise future BLADE RUNNER projected is now less than two years away, and the next chapter, once something to be dreaded, seems, if anything, overdue. BLADE RUNNER 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve from a script by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, tries both to honor the original and to slip free of its considerable shadow. That's no easy feat, and it's worth noting right away that, in narrow movie terms, Mr. Villeneuve, who also directed "Arrival," mostly succeeds. From the opening aerial shots of a thoroughly denatured agricultural landscape and the lethal confrontation that follows, we know we are in the presence of a masterly visual tactician and a shrewd storyteller."
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. A-"
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter: "For committed fans who have patiently waited 35 years for a sequel to Ridley Scott's mesmerizingly lento sci-fi landmark Blade Runner, the good news is that helmer Denis Villeneuve achieves something very close to the same narcotic effect in BLADE RUNNER 2049 with a voluptuous mood bath that's impressively sustained from beginning to end. The problem is that 164 minutes occupy the distance between that beginning and end, yet another example of directorial excess where self-discipline would have been a great benefit (the release version of the original ran 118 minutes). There are many reasons to see this entrancingly immoderate work, but just as the original was a box-office short-faller in its day, it's doubtful that the mainstream masses will pile in for this follow-up despite the presence of Ryan Gosling, and especially the returning Harrison Ford in one of his most dynamic performances."
Brian Truitt, USA Today: "The cast is just as exceptional. K is Gosling's most engrossing and powerful role to date, and Ford adds gravitas and a fitting sadness to the aging Deckard. As for their co-stars, Hoeks is freakily intense as a scene-stealing villainess, Ana de Armas has a nice multilayered turn as K's girlfriend Joi, and there's not nearly enough of Mackenzie Davis as the mysterious escort Mariette. The first BLADE RUNNER influenced a generation of filmmakers and films; 2049 is the rare sequel that exceeds the original and honestly could be more important in the long run. It's a moving, masterful movie that demands a rewatch and will wow geeks and mainstream viewers alike - so much so we probably won't have to wait 35 years for another one."
Jack Coyle, Associated Press: "There is much to like here, but 2049, like ALIEN: COVENANT feels too enraptured with its own headiness. Even Nabokov's PALE FIRE makes a cameo. Maybe BLADE RUNNER wore its complexities on its sleeve, too. But it's hard not to agree with the old blade runner who turns up late in the film and tells K: "I had your job once. It was simpler then."
Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post: "BLADE RUNNER: 2049 the superb new sequel by Denis Villeneuve (ARRIVAL), doesn't just honor that legacy, but, arguably, surpasses it, with a smart, grimly lyrical script (by Fancher and Michael Green of the top-notch LOGAN); bleakly beautiful cinematography (by Roger Deakins); and an even deeper dive into questions of the soul.
Chris Klimek, NPR: "I hope you don't mind me taking a liberty" are the first words spoken in BLADE RUNNER 2049, an unlikely sequel to the oft-revised Ridley Scott sci-fi sleeper that has confounded and DIVIDED normals - and been an object of adoration for nerds - for 35 years. I certainly don't mind. This inspired, expansive follow-up, for which BLADE RUNNER screenwriter Hampton Fancher returned, though Scott handed the directorial reins to SICARIO and ARRIVAL'S Denis Villeneuve, is less a generational iteration from its precursor than an evolutionary leap. It chews on the many existential questions introduced in BLADE RUNNER - if our machines can think and feel, are they still machines? How do we know our memories can be trusted? Do androids dream of electric sheep, or unicorns or whatever? - more fully and more satisfyingly than BLADE RUNNER did."
Peter Debruge, Variety: "Sure as it is to delight BLADE RUNNER fans, this stunningly elegant follow-up doesn't depend on having seen the original - and like 2010's TRON: LEGACY, may actually play better to those who aren't wedded to the franchise's muddled off-screen mythology. As it happens, in both tone and style, the new film owes more to skis-cinema maestro Andrei Tarkovsky than it does to Scott's revolutionary cyberpunk sensibility. In fact, at 2 hours and 44 minutes, BLADE RUNNER 2049 clocks in at three minutes longer than the austere Russian auteur's STALKER. But Villeneuve earns every second of that running time, delivering a visually breathtaking, long-fuse action movie whose unconventional thrills could be described as many things - from tantalizing to tedious - but never "artificially intelligent."