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Blu-ray Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049

Blu-ray review by David Blackwell

DETAIL: 163 minutes, three prequel shorts, featurettes
VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition
AUDIO: English Dolby Atmos-TrueHD, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Warner Bros Pictures/ Sony/ Columbia Pictures/ Alcon Entertainment/ Scott Free
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 10-5-2017
Blu-ray/ DVD/ 4K UHD RELEASE DATE: 1-16-2018

It has been 30 years since Deckard and Rachel fled Los Angeles at the end of the first BLADE RUNNER and a replicant Blade Runner named K (Ryan Gosling) finds a shocking clue that may turn the world on its ear when he goes hunting for a Nexus 8 replicant named Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista). The forensics team has uncovered a skeleton of a female who died during childbirth and the identity of the corpse and the missing baby drives forward the story of BLADE RUNNER 2049. It leads K to the former Tyrell Corporation now owned by Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) who has built a race of obedient replicants in addition to coming up with a synthetic food that can be farmed on this wrecked Earth (where only those who can afford it can escape to the Off World colonies). K spends his free time with a holographic AI named Joi (Ana de Armas) while close attention is being paid to him by Wallace's lead replicant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who is trying to find the same answers that K is ordered to cover up by his LAPD commanding officer (Robin Wright). K's search for answers leads him to a retired Blade Runner named Deckard (Harrison Ford) as he is being played in a bigger game for the future of humanity and replicants.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 comes off as a blend of Ridley Scott and Andrei Tarkovsky through the eyes of director Denis Villeneuve and director of photography Roger Deakins from a script from Hampton Fancher (who helped write the first BLADE RUNNER) and Michael Green. It is a very visual and lived in world with character development driving the story along with hints of the cues from the original BLADE RUNNER score in the music score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch. The characters are very well rounded in this movie while providing enough to explore in visual design and sound design along with the themes that are explored within BLADE RUNNER 2049. The sequel story honors the world created in the first movie while also drawing more from the world of the Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It is a movie that continues to reward the viewer on repeat viewings as you get to pick up new details with each view. It is a worthwhile sequel that can stand on its own while your experience will be enriched if you have seen BLADE RUNNER before watching the sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049.

The extras are a mixed bag compared to the superior treatment of extras on the legendary 25th anniversary extras produced and gather by DVD/ Blu-ray producer Charles DeLaurizika. Due to director Denis Villeneuve's dislike for including deleted scenes on blu-ray, he and his editor opted not to include any extended scenes from the initial four cut of the movie along with the aerial sequence trip of K and Joi to Las Vegas (even though he raved about the scene in articles). He did briefly toy with having the four hour version spilt up in two movies, but he will not be including the longer first cut on disc either (which is understandable since the first cut usually has fat that directors and editors like to trim away from movies), but I hope Warner Bros does include deleted scenes (and a featurette on the editing process of BLADE RUNNER 2049) on a future edition and maybe even get Charles DeLaurizika back (one can dream) to do a special edition of the title if BLADE RUNNER 2049 sells well on blu-ray and 4K UHD. However, major movie studios have backed away from double dipping with special editions in recent years unless the director has a real love for including all extras on the disc at first go.

On the blu-ray are three three prequel shorts (two live action short and one anime short) along with some making-of featurettes that feature interviews with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the movie.

The prequel shorts:
2022: BLACK OUT- a 15 minute anime prequel
2036: NEXUS DAWN- one of two prequel shorts directed by Luke Scott starring Jared Leto
2048: NOWHERE TO RUN- the other prequel short from Luke Scott focusing on Sapper Morton who appears in the beginning of the sequel

DESIGNING THE WORLD OF BLADE RUNNER 2049- a look at the production design of BLADE RUNNER 2049 and the large practical sets and locations they used to make the sequel feel more real along with a little on the visual effects and costume design/ props. You will even get cut dialogue from the movie in this featurette too
TO BE HUMAN: CASTING BLADE RUNNER 2049- a focus on the cast of BLADE RUNNER 2049 and learn Ryan Gosling was an early casting choice

BLADE RUNNER 101: various 1 to 2 minute mini-featurettes
BLADE RUNNERS- what is a Blade Runner
THE REPLICANT EVOLUTION- all about the new type of Replicants in the sequel
THE RISE OF WALLACE CORP- a brief look at Niander Wallace and Wallace Corp
WELCOME TO 2049- a look at the future of BLADE RUNNER 2049
JOI- focus on the holographic AI companion Joi

On the Blu-ray/ DVD and Blu-ray/ 4K UHD combos is a code to download and stream a digital copy of BLADE RUNNER 2049.

FINAL ANALYSIS: BLADE RUNNER 2049 looks incredible and is a worthy sequel (and one of my favorite movies of 2017), but Warner Bros needs to release a worthwhile special edition of this movie with a full set of extras including deleted scenes and the theatrical trailers.

This initial review is 1-19-2018 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

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