I am glad that Blade Runner 2049 was made. The movie is a long overdue sequel. I have felt for many years that a sequel to Blade Runner should have been made. The world of the original Blade Runner is so rich, it lends itself to so many different possibilities. I will say that Blade Runner 2049 is not the movie that I had hoped for. Ryan Gosling is excellent as K the replicant Blade Runner. Sylvia Hoeks is equaling compelling as the adversarial replicant Luv. Jared Leto is the film’s charismatic, but highly under used antagonist.
Overall I liked the movie, however I do have some issues. Blade Runner 2049’s biggest problem is the pacing. The film opens with a very brief, but tense and violent replicant retirement. After that the movie slows to a staggeringly slow and deliberate pace. At times it feels as if the movie was shot in real time. An appropriate subtitle for the movie could be Waiting To Happen. It feels like we are waiting for something to happen for a good deal of the movie. The director has the audience hanging on K’s every footstep and every breath. Nothing really seems to happen, until Harrison Ford appears, more than halfway through the movie.
There is talk of a possible sequel and I fully support that notion. I did not love Blade Runner 2049, but stopping at this point would be a wasted opportunity. There are so many stories to tell within the Blade Runner universe. I would love to see a sequel that takes place in the same time period as the original Blade Runner. However, instead of focusing on Los Angeles it could take place in another city, or even another country. During the introduction of the original Blade Runner there is mention of the formation of Blade Runner units. This tells us that Rick Deckard and Dave Holden were not the only Blade Runners around. A story line that showcases various Blade Runners would be quite interesting. An ensemble cast featuring a Blade Runner unit at work could be exciting. Another option would be to show a Blade Runner unit, but keep the focus on a single Blade Runner. Either way the main theme would remain the same, what does it mean to be human.
I do feel that there is a director capable of bringing this vision to life. Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrams would ably do justice to the material. But I would love to see Joseph Kosinski direct the movie. With the films Oblivion (2013) and Tron: Legacy (2010) he helped to create two of the best looking science fiction films of the last two decades. With a strong screenplay and the proper budget I do believe that Kosinski would be equipped to create a stellar Blade Runner film.
The big question is who to cast as the main protagonist? Only one actor comes to mind that I would be thrilled to see in this role. I know that many would disagree, but I do feel that he has proven himself as an actor, action star and science fiction leading man. That actor is Tom Cruise. To date he has starred in the sci-fi films Minority Report (2002), War of the Worlds (2005), Oblivion, and Edge Of Tomorrow (2014). With Minority Report, Cruise already has one Philip K. Dick movie under his belt. Other possible actors to cast as members of the Blade Runner unit could include Jeremy Renner, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Jackman, Viggo Mortensen, Henry Cavill, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law and Karl Urban.
Blade Runner 2049, Tron: Legacy and Oblivion all share one unfortunate trait in common. All three movies had very large budgets, between 150 and 170 million dollars. Of the three Tron: Legacy was the most successful with a worldwide gross of approximately $400 million. Blade Runner 2049 was made on a budget of $150 million dollars and only earned approximately $260 million dollars worldwide. Those are not the kind of number that get movie studios excited about investing in sequels. If a sequel is made the production team will have to find a way to make a visually stunning Blade Runner film for under $100 million.
Another point to debate would be the movie’s rating. The first two films earned their R rating, however this may be limiting the audience. A PG-13 rating would in no way diminish the movie. The PG-13 rating may well expand the audience and increase the movie’s financial success. That success would guarantee more Blade Runner movies. Of course the most important thing would be to produce a quality movie.
To date I have seen Blade Runner dozens of times and Blade Runner 2049 three times. I do not want this franchise to be over after two films. In the right hands there is no reason why the world of Blade Runner should not continue on. Blade Runner is an iconic film that continues to influence and impact. Only time will tell what effect Blade Runner 2049 will have.