God-like dellusion. Blade Runner 2049 is, by far, the most ambitious, monumental, massive, total blockbuster-movie that has been released in... decades ? The poorly-shot and tiresome movies of Christopher Nolan do not even compete, the esthetical biases of Nicolas Wending Refn are adventurous but kind of weird, and the overloaded Spielberg's universes have been soapier and soapier in the past (at least) twenty years, despite an ambitious awaking with Minority Report.
What makes Blade Runner 2049, fifth hollywoodian piece of work from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, so special ? Clearly, its risk taking in terms of esthetical manoeuvres. With famous Roger Deadkins cast as the director of photography, one could expect from this movie a special kind of attention to the power of images, to the meaning of the colors, to the geometrical shots, to the monumental render of the K. Dick's representation of a post-apocalyptic-like universe.
And one's wishes are more than granted : Blade Runner 2049 gives, more than any other movie before (or maybe the likes of 2001, Apocalypse Now, Sorcerer, and this movie class only), a new meaning to the word monumental, "riesig". Everything seems to be absolutely huge, from this depiction of a dark shantytowny orphanage to the quasi abstract portrayal of an abandoned Las Vegas. Carried out by the heavy music of Hans Zimmer, where the basses scream out their respect to Vangelis's original theme, the depicted decorum blasts at every second of the movie its crazy artistic strivings : the neon-like lights give full respect to the original Scott's movie as much as they epitomize new creative ideas of the lighting use (we kinda think of Tron's reboot during the sinking-car scene, but the lines of color are used in a fancier way), the architectural white-and-grey buildings are shot in cubist-like proportions, and the new-age philosophy of "Do robots think / love ?" is expanded to a new horizon : it tells no more the story of a robot which is firstly convinced he is a human, but of an android who tries to live as one and begins to discover he could be one. All of that, for sure, splattered with themes of "fabricated" love (or is it ?), existential matters of (pro)creation, ambiguous depiction of a robot's own will, and the question of the physical feeling. Blade Runner 2049 is the Black Mirror version of Blade Runner.
Hence, the result is quite appealing : Blade Runner 2049 seems vast, deep, and memorable. But, inevitably, shit happens : where Stanley Kubrick would have made some subtle and seemingly-endless portrayal of K. Dick's visions, Denis Villeneuve appears to be crushed under his own ideas : he does not know where to look, vainly multiplies the trails of reflection (the character of Jared Leto - bombastic as usual - has absolutely no utility except the pretentious need for Villeneuve of showing off some gally yellow filters), knocks the spectator down with an abusive use of the music (where's the silence ?), creates a fake feeling of slowness (shots are stretched to the very limit of acceptance), insists heavily on some of his ideas that he clearly thinks of as brilliant (the repetition of the defects of the holograms, first with Joy as the car crashes, then during the puffy Las Vegas cabaret scene, or the very long assimilation scene between Joi and the real girl, which lasts way more than it should - the troubling feeling inevitably transforms into annoyance), uses the tiresome and already banal image grain of a National Geographic-like portrayal of the future (there is absolutely no flavor to those too-perfect desert-like images, who seem to be assembled by a powerful 3D-creation software), and directs its cast in the most hollywoodian way : Robin Wright is completely drown in her tasteless character (the more "fucks" said, the better it is supposed to be), Ford comes here to pick-up some youth-due salary and Ana de Armas gives no emotion with her instagram-like face (her eyes are way too soft).
The more the movies goes, the more the feeling of a big waste remains : the ambitions are here, the will of doing something big was undoubtedly put on, but in the end, all of this seems absolutely puffy, treated with obvious lack of subtlety : when all of those fake-lengths (Villeneuve knows a lot about that, remember all the overdone mystery before the first meeting in Arrival), too loud music, highly-anticipated twists, idiot steampunk atmosphere, over-esthetisation will be re-thought off, cinema will have made a step forward.