Blade Runner 2049: Or why I’m in love with Roger Deakins

WARNING: This doesn’t contain spoilers as such but if you haven’t seen the 1982 release of Blade Runner already, you deserve to have it spoilt.

What is it about Blade Runner that has given it such a cult status?

I’ve resurrected this post after re-watching the trailer for Sam Mendes upcoming war film 1917. It already looks beautiful, and oozing with atmosphere, enough to transport you back in time without the fear of tripping on bullet casings.

I’m gonna start this with some honesty, I don’t actually think Blade Runner is as great a movie as many paint it to be.

Put your pitch forks down for a moment… I do still like it.

There are a lot of odd moments in Blade Runner, the voiceovers, the odd ending that was added to appease confused test audiences. This is all after you’ve decided which cut to watch…

What I can’t argue against is it the impact it’s had as a film on the sci-fi genre. From the streets of Gotham in Tim Burton’s 1990 release of Batman to the gritty future scape of The Fifth Element. Ridley Scott created a world that future directors would hold up their work against for years to come.

Watch this video from Lessons from the screenplay on how you construct a ‘Future Noir’ world, it highlights just why Blade Runner works so well & makes it so memorable.

Lessons from Screenplay @MichaelTuckerla

It’s portrayal and sense of crime around every corner, how the characters interactions in that world effect their morality with every action, and the constant sense of darkness, danger & death around every corner.

Is Blade Runner 2049 as good film as critics say?

It’s easily the one of the most beautiful sci-fi films in recent memory, and likely have seen for some time. Every dust swept landscape shot is purposeful, the constant haze of the Blade Runner world helps draw you in further to its story without saying a word.

It’s the third team up for Director Denis Villeneuve & Roger Deakins as Director / Cinematographer (Previously Prisoners & Sicario). You can really tell that their partnership really took hold of the vision Ridley Scott had when he brought Blade Runner to the screen in 1982.

Blade Runner 2049 - Yellow Reception

Blade Runner 2049 – Yellow Reception

It also touches back on the themes of the first movie. Imprinted memories, characters on the run & questions around what it really means to be alive; in human & artificial replicant form.

Jared Leto gives an over-acted performance as the blind visionary with his own idea of what life is, determined to create his own version of perfection. I still can’t get his portrayal of Joker out of my head. I get that he’s trying to channel his inner Rutger Hauer in his monologues, but they don’t have the same sense of purpose that ‘tears in the rain‘ gave us the first time around.

Blade Runner 2049 - Red Sand Storm

Blade Runner 2049 – Red Sand Storm

Should I watch Blade Runner 2049 in 2D or 3D?

I’ve watched this film in both. Frankly, I detest watching films in 3D. I have the memory of watching the first transformers outing in 3D sitting just a step to close to the screen and had motion sickness for a week…

However, I found that watching Blade Runner 2049 in 3D was a different experience. While the 2D version is beautiful and visually engaging in every scene, 3D viewing helped to immerse me into the scenes.

Since the pacing of this film is far slower than most blockbuster action movies would suggest, it doesn’t leave you feeling uneasy in your seat.

I’d definitely recommend the 3D version as it really helps reinforce the sheer scale of how big this movie really is. And how small the characters seem in comparison. Literally.

Blade Runner 2049 - Future AI

Blade Runner 2049 – Future AI

Is this film worthy of the hype? I’d say so.

It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful. What it means to love, whether as a parent, an artificial girlfriend or a replicant simply trying to find their place in the world, will stick with you long after you’ve left the cinema.