"This one was more civilized, just slightly more civilized". No definitive answer has ever been revealed, but, without giving it fully away, director Denis Villenueve and co-writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green dispense with any mystery regarding K's status nearly immediately. And this is the point of 2049: it's Blade Runner for people who are exhausted of watching Blade Runner.
The original film was a hit with audiences thanks to its stunning visuals and the questions it raised over the nature of humanity. Gosling, a worthy heir to Harrison Ford, shares his predecessor's inclination for both restraint and a smirk. Even the two writers said the other had the credit for the "correct" answer.
More than three decades after Harrison Ford became the first blade runner, Ryan Gosling now shares the title.
What happens in the first Blade Runner? During a recent visit to the British daytime talk show This Morning, the stars of Blade Runner 2049 caught a particularly contagious case of the giggles while promoting their upcoming movie. But then the program was revisited by new owner Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and upgraded. By his side is second-in-command Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), who offers a more emotional, and certainly more terrifying presence than her otherwise well-mannered and reserved boss.
Wright, a steely actress seemingly born for the world of "Blade Runner", is speaking to her replicant detective, K (Ryan Gosling). On the surface, his silent and sullen demeanor has a lot in common with Deckard. When K discovers a box buried by a replicant - its contents suggest something impossible - the wall between man and machine crumbles a little.
The ever-reliable Gosling ("La La Land", "Blue Valentine") is, as you'd expect, quite good here. Fortunately, that vision is at least as similar aesthetically to "Arrival" as it is to "Blade Runner", the new film retaining the flying cars of the original and even giving a female replicant a hairstyle reminiscent of those from the fictional Los Angeles of 30 years earlier.
Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir original extracted the frightful premise of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - the horror of not knowing if you're real or not - and overlaid it on a mesmerizing sci-fi void. Dennis Gassner's production design complements the iconic rainy metropolis with snowy, wintery cityscapes and barren deserts, and each of them is just comically well-photographed by cinematographer Roger Deakins; frame after frame is simply jaw-dropping.