Funny how time, consideration, and no less than five different cuts can so radically change minds. In 1982, Ridley Scott's cerebral sci-fi thriller "Blade Runner" came and went in theaters with little fanfare and middling critical notices. Based on the 1968 novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick, the film's heady themes, dead-serious tone, and hard-boiled noir leanings likely left viewers scratching their heads and yearning to be in the theater next door where the altogether warmer, more life-affirming "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" was playing. A groundbreaker in terms of its special effects and flashy dystopian depiction of 2019 Los Angeles, "Blade Runner" is nevertheless an intellectually and emotionally chilly experience. By exploring the relationship between living beings and hunted bioengineered replicants, the picture provocatively delves into the nuances of humanity while, ironically, rarely feeling human. In other words, it's easier to deeply admire than to wholly embrace on first blush, and that is perhaps the key to why it has gradually built such a feverish cult following in the thirty-five years since release. Also likely not hurting the movie's mystique are the multiple versions released to home video over the decades, culminating in 2007's definitive, director-approved, blessedly voiceover-free "The Final Cut."
Ridley Scott may have struggled with the studio over his theatrically released version of "Blade Runner"—fearing audiences wouldn't be able to follow the plot, higher-ups insisted on including an aforementioned running narration delivered by Harrison Ford's bounty hunter Rick Deckard—but there are no signs of a behind-the-scenes struggle when it comes to long-awaited sequel-cum-companion-piece "Blade Runner 2049." Denis Villeneuve, who has made a string of great, time-testing cinematic triumphs over the last five years (2013's "Prisoners," 2014's "Enemy," 2015's "Sicario," and 2016's "Arrival"), is an undisputed visionary, one of the finest filmmakers working in the twenty-first century. An ideal successor to Scott who puts his own singular spin on the material, Villeneuve adheres to the spirit of what has gone before and then expands, enlightens, and improves upon the original in every conceivable way. This may sound like mighty high claims for those who view "Blade Runner" as sacred, but that was mere appetizer to the more fully rounded meal served in "Blade Runner 2049."
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review