Blade Runner 2049 is a neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve that stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Jared Leto. The film is a delayed sequel to the cult classic 1982 film Blade Runner. Set thirty years after the original film, the story depicts a “Blade Runner” named K/Joe, who discovers a hidden truth about an old NEXUS-6 replicant named Rachel. To prevent a possible war between replicants and humans, K/Joe is secretly tasked with finding and destroying all evidence related to her. Having enjoyed the original film, I was excited to see where Denis Villeneuve was going to take the story. The original film left fans with many unanswered questions that I just knew this film was going to answer. Unfortunately, Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t answer any of those questions posed by the original film. As a matter of fact, Blade Runner 2049 adds many more questions to this franchise… questions that I will not get into because they would involve spoilers. The film has many other issues as well. The runtime of the film is 163 minutes (2 hours 43 min) and it is very, very slow! The film could have shaved off 43 minutes and still worked. That extra amount of time is a hindrance to the plot and provides little to no solid information. Secondly, there are plot holes that could have been easily explained, yet they aren’t. Also, some of the scenes are very dark, which makes sense because of the smog-filled environment when people were outside, but not when the people were inside. Next, some of the characters are unnecessary for the film, including Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). In addition, there is a scene with a de-aged Sean Young that lasted a little too long, which made the CGI aspect of her character very noticeable. Lastly, the films’ villain is one-dimensional and basically pointless. The film does have some merits though. The cinematography is great and many of the locations are beautifully shot. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Also, Hans Zimmer’s score is well done and blends in elements of the original Blade Runner score perfectly. Third, Ryan Gosling is great as K/Joe and his acting is fantastic. He is the main character that we see for most of the film. The more information K/Joe learned during his case the more unsure he becomes. Gosling handled this perfectly as he rode the thin line between knowing his duty and doing the right thing. All the other actors performed well with the minimal screen time that they were given. I give Blade Runner 2049 a Normal 6.7/10. The film is beautiful to watch but unfortunately, it is also too long, too slow, and quite boring at times. The film could have used either more action or a shorter runtime. A sequel such as this shouldn’t leave you asking more questions than the original film.
I once had a professor who said, “If Hollywood ever runs out of ideas all they need to do is open up the Old Testament.” My professor was right as the Old Testament is filled with many stories of early man and their interaction with a more wrathful God than seen in the New Testament. While there are many films that have been based on biblical topics, not all have hit the mark cinematically — look no further than Evan Almighty for a great example of missing the mark. Making religious films is a touchy subject as there will always be somebody who is offended by the work. Whether it be not close enough to the source material, too close to the source material, improperly cast, etc. In this article, I will discuss seven biblically based films that have either hit the mark or sparked important conversation about religion and film.
I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan. The films that he writes and directs are usually different and amazing. When I found out he wanted to make his passion project, Dunkirk, I was excited. We had never seen him do a war film before and I wanted to know what kind of expertise and gravitas he would bring to a film of this nature. After seeing the first trailer, I was not very impressed but hoped the film would be more interesting. I have now seen the film, and while it’s not a terrible film, I do not think it is up to par with Christopher Nolan’s previous films. Nor do I think it is the greatest war film of all time. The film is about the evacuation of the Allied soldiers that were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during World War II. The film is also told from three perspectives and in a non-linear fashion. From the land, we follow a young British private named Tommy as he tries to escape the beaches of Dunkirk. From the air, we follow two RAF pilots, Farrier and Collins, as they take down enemy planes. And from the sea, we follow Mr. Dawson, his son Peter, and Peter’s friend George as they sail to Dunkirk to ferry soldiers home to safety. The non-linear aspect of this film was a tad confusing as you are not told when you are switching from one perspective to the next. Therefore it is hard to grasp a sense of time. I feel if it were clearer when we were switching perspectives, or if each perspective were told separately, the film would have made more sense throughout. The cinematography and use of practical effects did add a realism to this film that most war films lack. The acting was fine and there were great moments of suspense, however, there was little dialogue. I understand that aspect of the film was by design, as Nolan wanted fans to focus on the situations that the characters were in, instead of what they were saying. Yet, I felt that it backfired as I hardly cared about the characters in the film because I didn’t really get to know any of them. Towards the end some light gets shed on the motivations of a few of the characters, but nothing more. Christopher Nolan cast great actors such as Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy to play the roles in this film. Yet, every actor I recognized felt like a glorified cameo. Another setback for me was the film’s score. I was expecting an exciting sound from the composer, Hans Zimmer, but the music was rather dull and bleak. It did appropriately reflect the situation the soldiers were in, but it didn’t really change during the heroic moments. I give Dunkirk a Normal 6/10. I’m happy Christopher Nolan tried something different, but now its time for him to get back into filming something exhilarating and fun. Perhaps something like Bond 25.