By Joe Bandy ’19
“Blade Runner 2049” is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. With Roger Deakin’s prowess as a cinematographer on full display, excellent performances from Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Harrison Ford and Ana de Armas, and a thought provoking screenplay from Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, all together under one of the best directors in the business—Denis Villeneuve—it truly is a masterpiece, and I don’t say that lightly.
The movie is an answer to all the problems Hollywood seems to be struggling with these days. In a world of fast-paced editing, weak plots, and poor characterization, “2049” takes its time to breathe and lets you soak in the story that Villeneuve and company weave.
I think the movie also responds to the complaints regarding sequels and reboots. More specifically, the complaint that we don’t need them.
I have friends and mentors whom I greatly respect, who disagree with me on this. To them, a sequel is easy money for studios. They feel it’s a waste of talented filmmakers’ time and usually doesn’t deliver on what makes the first film great.
But to say these things is to ignore the history of cinema! Was “Godfather 2” really a waste of Francis Ford Coppola’s potential? Did “Terminator 2” not exceed the quality of the first? Was “The Wizard of Oz” not a worthy reboot? How about “Toy Story 2” or “The Dark Knight?”
The list goes on.
You might say these are all outliers and exceptions, but this is just the nature of Hollywood. There are good movies and there are bad movies.
Brad Bird is one of the most talented filmmakers in the industry today, having made “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” and the total joyride “Mission Impossible 4.” Bird also passed up a chance to direct “The Force Awakens,” in favor of doing his own, totally original film.
Remember what it was? It was “Tomorrowland,” and it sucked.
Did you know that Patty Jenkins had only done one, small indie film back in 2003 before “Wonder Woman?” Have you seen anything Peter Jackson directed before “Lord of the Rings?”
Me neither, but his best work is not original to him. Some artists do better in a box than others, but a true artist will always be able to thrive.
Denis Villeneuve didn’t waste his time or mine with “Blade Runner 2049,” and to say he did is an insult to him, his craft, and his peers.