I had been waiting a long while to see this film--and it was a nervous wait since the film could have been fantastic or dreadful. But even before it was released, I saw it has a lot going for it: co-written by Hampton Fancher who co-wrote the original film, produced by Scott Free Productions (founded by Ridley Scott, the director of the original film), and starring Harrison Ford who played Rick Deckard in the original film. Add to this the fact that the film was directed by Denis Villeneuve who did the extraordinary 2016 Amy Adams film "Arrival," and also stars "La La Land"'s Ryan Gosling (a wonderfully understated and versatile actor, seen previously here and here) and Oscar-winner Jared Leto, well,...it seemed to be a sure thing.
And I must say that the film exceeded any expectations I had. It is a stunningly beautiful film--truly a worthy successor to the original, in every way possible. The visuals are as breathtaking as the original and the art direction is ravishing. The story makes complete, utter sense and in no way feels forced--or unnecessary--as many sequels (especially after so many years) can; the story not only references the original, but is completely dependent upon it in an extremely satisfying and plausible way. Thanks to Villeneuve, the pacing of the film is a marvel: perfectly deliberate and eerie, like dreaming. I love that Fancher and Villeneuve and everyone connected with this film dared to forego the current popular film structure paradigm of an explosion or car chase every 5 minutes. Sure, there are some actions scenes, some explosions, some chasing, but it does not feel distracting, sensationalizing, or sophomoric...they are part of the larger, more cerebral story filled with deep connections that one must pay close attention to and for.
The film presents something else that I just adore: I love when films portray technology that is unrelated to most anything we know now or could possibly imagine. As the great science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." And Leto's character possesses some magical technology that is simply not explained which makes complete sense: if we show current technology, why would we bother to explain how, for example, an iPhone works? In the future, the tehchnology that seems magical now was built on all that came before it. Have faith, it will get there.
And of course it is a real treat to see Harrison Ford as Deckard once again, along with many familiar faces from the original film. The new additions are marvelous too: Gosling, Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, and Robin Wright are expertly cast.
Recommend? YES YES YES! But of course you SHOULD have seen the original first...