With Deakins at the helm and the iconic BR fundamentals beneath it, this movie was destined to look spectacular. Despite me expecting it, I nevertheless sat there in awe pretty much throughout the movie. So much good world building. The production design and the concept work behind it are fantastic, and the light/color/contrast composition and the framing in every single scene are something I couldn’t help but ogle at. Along with the bassy, booming audio design, this really made it worth watching it in a movie theater - and I definitely will watch it a second time.
I don’t mind Ryan Gosling, and liked him a lot in The Nice Guys, but I can see why others are less fond of him. That said, I think his perceived detachment/monotony worked perfectly for this particular character. I had low expectations regarding Harrison Ford given his performances and efforts in the past 15 or so years, and I was pleasantly surprised.
I was saddened to see that Dave Bautista was in the movie only for the initial minutes, but he surely made those minutes count. (And yeah, I know he’s in one of the three shorts.)
Lots of neat world building bits, and I was glad that K/Joe didn’t turn out to be the special child - that would have been a bit too much clichee and convenience. And boy, when he finally sits down on those stairs and “Tears in the Rain” kicks in - goose bumps. One of BR 2049’s achievements is that it is the sequel to an influential classic, but can stand on its own feet and doesn’t constantly repeat plot beats the way Star Wars Episode 7 did. The “Tears in the Rain” bit is pretty much the single biggest specific nod - and that’s why it has impact.
I adore BR for its production design and the themes it brings up. It undoubtedly was groundbreaking in some ways. BR 2049, however, overall is a better movie. Not perfect by any means, but 3 hours flew really by for me. The only scene that felt a bit too long was the dialog between Deckard and Wallace. Leto didn’t do a lot for me. At least he was not aggressively overacting. Given the runtime, I think his character and Love could have been a bit more fleshed out. Especially Love seemed to have more potential given that she was a ruthless henchmen, but clearly not without emotions and empathy either. I feel the script could have done more with that conflict.
Overall, a very impressive and satisfying cinema experience for me. Villeneuve simply is one of the most interesting contemporary directors to follow. And Deakins is consistently great.