Eppler: "Blade Runner 2049" a worthy sequel to an acquired taste

Eppler: "Blade Runner 2049" a worthy sequel to an acquired taste

With a relatively low opening weekend at the box office, $31.5 million, it is apparent most audiences were not interested in a sequel to a 35-year-old science fiction classic that was always an acquired taste.

Making a sequel to a classic movie after more than a few years is always a dicey proposition. Sometimes, it does work out - like Scorsese's sequel to "The Hustler" called "The Color of Money" that won Paul Newman his only Oscar, or "Terminator 2:Judgment Day." But mostly, we get trash like "Psycho II" or "The Sting II," "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" or "Staying Alive," the "Saturday Night Fever" sequel with John Travolta doing jazzercize. 

But I digress.

"Blade Runner 2049" is a worthy sequel - even managing to recapture the groundbreaking look and feel of the original. If you've never seen the original, you should, but it's not necessary to get into this movie.

Set 30 years after the original, there's a new breed of humanoid robots to replace the older ones that revolted. Ryan Gosling is a police officer, or blade runner, who hunts down the older models to "retire" them. When Gosling comes across a very old case, he tracks down another guy who had his job - Harrison Ford's Deckard from the first movie.

That's all you get from me in terms of plot, which the movie does take a bit too long to unfold at a fatty two hours and forty minutes. Ford actually looks like he cares by giving an emotionally resonant performance, and Gosling is nicely cast because he's not a particularly emotive actor but it works in this context. But they're not the real dynamic duo of the movie. The real stars are Director Denis Villeneuve and especially cinematographer Roger Deakins. 

This is one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen - creating a world that envelopes you. The images make you feel the chill in the air or the ashy grit in your teeth. It's a stunning thing to take in.

There are certainly problems. Jared Leto's villain is obnoxious more than interesting, which is a thing with him lately (couch Joker cough) and the story doesn't quite hold up under the epic weight of the film. But I still thoroughly enjoyed it as a sci-fi film noir that wraps around you and pulls you into its world. 

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