Over the past week I’ve gone back and watched the original Blade Runner (for the first time since seeing the sequel) and then rewatched Blade Runner 2049 again for the first time.
What a pair of movies. Both hold up brilliantly, and as a pair they actually work even better, with the various interactions between the two movies landing a lot better when the first is so fresh in your mind.
I think 2049 is the best belated sequel (now a sub-genre in its own right?) that I’ve ever seen, and that’s partly because it largely seeks to explore the themes and ideas of the original over directly apeing specific moments or scenes from the first movie.
In fact, I was surprised by how different the two films felt in a lot of ways. The original is much lighter on incident and heavier on mood than I remember, while the plot of 2049 is fairly complex in comparison. There’s also a much broader visual variety in the sequel, which works because the various locations still feel like they fit with what we saw in the original.
Most of all though, 2049 still has the same heart and soul that came through in the original movie, and it’s one of the few follow-ups that I think actively enhances the first movie and makes you look at it in compelling new ways, while also telling a story that is very much its own. I like it even better on a second viewing than I did the first time around.