Saw Blade Runner 2049 as well. @Oolaph @TheMaster
I'm not seeing the mega-hyped 10/10 that some critics did but it is very good and easily beats the original for me.
I rewatched Blade Runner: The Final Cut beforehand and my opinion remains the same, I don't dislike it at all but it's easily one of the most overrated films for me. The visuals are nice but it doesn't connect with me at all, the pacing is awful, the characters other than Roy are extremely bland and it's absolutely full of goofy or terribly executed moments (mostly in the action) that completely take me out of it. Deckard and Rachael's relationship is awful.
I love Harrsion Ford in general but I've always thought his performance here is very, very dodgy as well. Again I don't dislike it, it's decent but I'm definitely not a fan and don't see what everyone else sees in it. I've watched it at least four times now, each time hoping this might be the watch where it clicks, but I doubt that's ever going to happen. The memorable aesthetics and set design are the only remarkable part for me. Even the philosophical questions always seemed so pedestrian to me as to be completely uninteresting, and whether or not Deckard is a replicant is more like a semantic argument than anything.
2049 on the other hand is a masterpiece aesthetically, it's one of the best looking and best sounding (& I'm pretty hit or miss with Hans Zimmer) films I've ever seen, the characters were infinitely more interesting and even though it has a slow pace and a huge run-time it just flew by. The few action scenes were excellent and the main mystery is more than compelling enough. Everything about it just feels far more fleshed out, grandiose and epic in scale. One letterboxd review called it Pinocchio as directed by Tarkovsky and that's a pretty damn good description imo.
(mild spoilers from here)
Joi was another highlight, super endearing and I loved how they never (iirc) imply their relationship is shallow or artificial, it's real to K and that's all that matters, and it's far more powerful played with absolute sincerity than if they'd gone down the frankly boring route of questioning it.
It's not perfect though, it's very dry with a couple tonally dodgy moments and unintentional comedy that took me out of it (Gosling's random burst of emotion when investigating his dream despite being almost completely stoic for the rest of the film, the police chief's head getting smacked on a table, one random bit of Gosling getting his hand covered in bees... etc). Ford's acting is lightyears ahead of the previous film, but to the point where he barely feels like the same character.
There's some minor plot holes too, and unlike the original it doesn't really leave any major questions when it's over. This is an issue with I have with the other Villeneuve films I've seen (Arrival and Enemy), they're all technically great and should be right up my alley, but they're always so simple, clean cut and on-the-nose as well, they don't leave me with anything to think about when they're over. Some ambiguity could go a long way imo. He's put out solid films quicker than I'm able to watch them but they all have a certain 'something' missing.
That said I think this is his best film and it probably helps that the story and world was already partially in place for him to take over, and even if the story totally fell flat (it doesn't) it would be worth seeing for the sound and visuals. The fact that this movie is already being declared a box office flop is a travesty also, I'm heavily considering watching it again while it's in cinemas and that's something I never do.
Although I also think the slow pace might be more grating on a rewatch, some of these shots go on for a really long time and it's done moreso for our character's tension than for the sake of the audience. For one example, K enters his apartment and it drags out revealing what Joi is for so long, on a rewatch surely that will be slightly annoying when you already know
One last thing, while I acknowledge it would be impossible to pull off in this day and age I wish I didn't know Harrison Ford was going to be in this. Imagine going in having no idea this was a direct sequel and thinking it might just be a new story in the same world, and how cool it would be when Deckard shows up and his significance in the story is realized. It's a shame how heavily he was featured in the trailers and such anyway given how he had relatively little screen time and (imo) he was far less interesting than K. I felt so depressed for K's sake at the end, I feel he got shafted in the whole third act because the script thinks Deckard is way cooler and more important.
Anyway wew it's not perfect but it's a great movie and begs to be seen in a cinema. Anyone reading this should go see it if they haven't yet.