The revival of old franchises is always ripe with danger. There's a responsibility to uphold the old work while trying to create something inventive and spectacular. When the announcement came that "Blade Runner" was getting an update, it was met with some skepticism, but mostly excitement. After all, the futuristic sci-fi thriller would fit in better with the day's motif and the stunning landscapes could be updated in incredible ways. Turns out, "Blade Runner 2049" was not up to the task of honoring the original Movie's legacy.

About the movie

"Blade Runner 2049" is an action-adventure science fiction movie.

It was directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has some significant sci-fi history with 2016's hit "Arrival." The big budget film received its release on October 6, 2017.

A sequel to the beloved 1982 film has been in the works since the turn of the millennium. It took over 15 years for production to finally start on this movie after multiple starts and stops with different people at the helm. For that reason, people thought "Blade Runner 2049" would be a sequel done right. The ratings on Rotten Tomatoes are strong.

But the film itself is weak.

'Blade Runner 2049' as bleak as the picture it paints

This is a bad movie, from the opening sequence to the credits. Distorting the production credits at the beginning is a clever trick.

Putting paragraphs upon paragraphs of plot explanation on a black screen in a really static way? Not a good trick, as it loses the audience's attention before the film can even begin.

The start foreshadowed the problem that would come up time and again: pacing. Many critics have panned the length of "Blade Runner 2049," which falls just 16 minutes shy of three hours.

The length wouldn't be as troubling if the pacing of the movie was better. Scenes with slow and monotone dialogue drag on for minutes, while action sequences climax in just seconds - it's a bad equation.

The filmmakers seemed aware of the problem, making it more egregious. Why else would they throw random sonic booms into the film with no rhyme or reason?

Turning the landscape into a cacophony of sound was the only way to keep the movie audience awake at times.

The acting was subpar. Ryan Gosling looked good but didn't do much besides grunt and frown his way through the movie. Jared Leto's villainous character had intrigue but didn't develop or get a ton of screen time. Harrison Ford was in approximately three minutes of the movie - the last three minutes.

Billing for "Blade Runner 2049" announced a major role for the actor from the original film. It would be like Mark Hamill getting top credit and millions of dollars for his role in "The Force Awakens."

One performance that was intriguing was Ana de Armas' portrayal of Joi. At first, the character seemed naive at best.

But her true colors emerge over the course of the movie as she becomes a murderous badass with no regard for human life. A strong female antagonist can be just as good as a strong female protagonist.

Rare positives

It wasn't all bad - well, mostly. What the sequel did a good job of maintaining were the visuals of a desolate, futuristic Los Angeles. Things looked bleak in a city that had advanced advertising technology, but was clearly letting people fall by the wayside in "Blade Runner" fashion. The future looks like a very grim place.

But even this is taken a step too far. There are understandable reasons for showing an advertisement of a naked woman for sale, for all intents and purposes - it's a sign of what the futuristic society values and lacks.

But with posters, videos, and statues, the naked woman motif was taken way too far, creating an unnecessary distraction within the movie.

Final thoughts

Prior to entering the theater, my expectations were low. "Blade Runner" was not an all-time favorite, but a movie that was enjoyable and novel for its time. "Blade Runner 2049" is neither of those things, failing to produce any character development or interesting plot while passing on the technological options afforded to filmmakers these days.

"Blade Runner 2049" is an artistic film posing as a blockbuster, yet greatly missing the mark on both.

Rating: D-

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