K (Ryan Gosling) is hunting down a miracle in Blade Runner 2049. (Warner Bros)

Reel Reviews: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

We say, “Blade Runner 2049 is a masterwork”

K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner in the year 2049.

He works for the Los Angeles Police Department tracking down, arresting or “retiring” Replicants — androids built originally for labour who have since developed a desire for freedom. Although a Replicant himself, K harbours no such desires, willing to follow his orders and live his life with little thought about his own existence or circumstance. A routine investigation leads him into a mystery that, if solvable, could provide answers to the greatest questions of all time, the self: the soul and the miracle of life.

We say, “Blade Runner 2049 is a masterwork.”

TAYLOR: Ridley Scott’s director’s cut of the original Blade Runner is long, dark, harsh and bleak, alternatively loud and quiet, philosophical and instinctual. It was Hollywood that forced Scott to cut it and add Harrison Ford’s narration to make it more palatable. I think in this effort, multiplied by the glibness of the era, the original film, while excellent and a favourite, comes across as dated. I’m not sure the same can be said of Blade Runner 2049, which seems to improve upon every aspect that made me love the original, without compromise.

HOWE: What a movie. From start to finish, it had me hooked. Certain films just have that X factor feel to them and Blade Runner 2049 has that in bucketfuls. Besides the writers and director taking all the applause, I feel Gosling has to take some also — he does a very good job in his role as K. He delivers a performance so well as an android that you forget that he is an actor playing a role. I always thought he was a fine actor and not just a pretty face.

TAYLOR: Gosling is great as a Replicant having an existential crisis, which isn’t that different than the same experience had by a human. While this film, like its predecessor, is a tale of a police officer trying to do his job, it is more about life, love, how we treat each other and understand ourselves. There are more questions than answers — each new discovery leads only to further mystery and the value of life has to be gleaned by the person living it, regardless of what it means to be a person. Phillip K. Dick, (author of the original novel) Scott and director Denis Villeneuve are all men of deep thought and artistic vision. This is not just a film filled with cool and interesting things at which we may marvel, it is a mirror that reflects our personal philosophies of being, which we may or may not have previously contemplated.

HOWE: The story itself feels tied very much to the first instalment, not just an add-on to line the movie companies’ pockets with more wealth. It felt that this has been in the pipeline for a few years, waiting for the right script, the right actors and right time for release. I loved the overall look to it — very dark, foreboding yet stunningly beautiful to look at. The soundtrack itself sounds like it has just stepped back in time to the original. I loved this movie, and like you said, it does seem to have improved upon Blade Runner. If I was scoring the two of them side by side I would have to give this sequel a slight edge.

Taylor gives Blade Runner 2049 five origami figures out of five.

Howe gives it 4.5 flowers out of 5.

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