It’s not 1982 any more, but there’s still some disagreement between Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford about whether Rick Deckard was or was not a replicant. Thirty-five years on, Dennis Villeneuve’s belated sequel to Blade Runner may trigger another insoluble debate: is Blade Runner 2049 the real thing or not? A mythic masterpiece in the key of orange, or a snoozathon bloated with soulless self-regard? Maybe it’s neither. Or both? Its release as a home entertainment will give legs to the Socratic dialogue.
A fiery ambient amber is the prevailing hue of the great outdoors in post-apocaltypic California. Behind a giant wall fending off the risen ocean, vegetation has long since ceased to grow. Ryan Gosling plays K, a replicant later known as Joe, who is employed by the LAPD to destroy other replicants who are past their use. Then he makes a discovery of mysterious human remains which will eventually turn him from hired hunter to hunted.
For those without access to a domestic enormo-screen, one of Blade Runner 2049's dimensions is irrevocably shrunken on disc. The film’s Ozymandian design scheme, ingeniously captured by Roger Deakins’s cinematography, makes for an epic canvas. Undiminished are the yawning measures of screen time as the lens lingers like a stalker on the face of Gosling as he acts fifty shades of troubled as the insistent score Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch grinds and growls. Gosling is joined in this rainy dystopia by Ana de Armas as holographic toy girl Joi, Jared Leto as evil industrialist Niander Wallace, Sylvia Hoeks as shit-kicking replicant Luv and, rather wonderfully, Harrison Ford reprising Deckard. They all feature on the usual slew of extras, impressively padded out with a trio of shorts which fill the gaps between the two movies, plus plenty more on the Blu-ray bonus disc. And you get to watch it over and over again as you decide if you like it or not.