The Poly Spotlight

SEQUEL: Director Denis Villeneuve delivers a stunning, but underappreciated sequel to the 1982 cult classic Blade Runner.

By Chloe Vega, Staff Writer

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel no one asked for, the sequel of a film that didn’t do very well in the first place. Despite the numerous positive reviews it is receiving, it continues to flounder in the box office. Nonetheless, it remains a stunning cinematic piece that captivates its audience every second, effectively building upon the original movie from 1982.

The original Blade Runner follows police officer Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, as he hunts down artificially made “humans” known as replicants, who have gone rogue throughout a dystopian Los Angeles, circa 2019. Upon its release, the original film did not fare well in theaters but it gained popularity over time and eventually became a cult classic. Because of this, many audiences now aren’t familiar with the original story, and the filmmakers did little to cater toward anyone who hasn’t seen the original.

No, it isn’t like any number of DC Comics films, where the first 40 minutes are dedicated to backstory. 2049 jumps straight into a novel storyline, creating an engaging film with so much information that the few scenes with downtime allow the audience to process everything that’s happened. It’s a lot.

In addition to its completely immersive plot, Blade Runner 2049 utilizes several key elements to centralize the story and setting. Reminiscent of film noir, the cinematography focuses on the use of lighting to funnel the viewer’s attention towards finer details, and creates a certain aesthetic fitting of a dystopian sci-fi setting. Every drawn-out scene is strategically placed to allow the audience to soak up all of the information, and every fast-paced, brief fighting scene is expertly woven in to juxtapose said calm.

Blade Runner 2049 wasn’t an instant hit in theaters because it wasn’t meant to be. It is a breathtaking movie, appreciated immensely by anyone who is invested in the original story. The film even goes beyond that of the original, exploring what it means to be human, and how those who are different than the “norm” struggle to find their belonging in society. With the world’s current social situation, many individuals are struggling to find their own meaning. Blade Runner 2049 succeeds in being insightful as well as enthralling, evidently living up to its predecessor.

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