Blade Runner 4098

I watched Blade Runner 2049 some weeks back, shortly after it came out. My friend reserved seats for us at one of the IMAX theaters in NYC, and we treated ourselves to a modern wonder.

Not everybody likes the new Blade Runner sequel. Personally, I came away feeling as though I had just seen a masterpiece — one of those rare pop cultural triumphs, like Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane or The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, that will continue to influence people for generations after its own time.

I remember thinking while watching it, about two hours into the three hour long film, that it seemed a bit slow in places. Yet I was confidend that I would go back to see it again on the big screen.

The other day I did just that, this time going with a different friend, one who had not yet seen it. We sat ourselves down fifth row center, and let the experience wash over us.

I had been curious to find out whether I would like it as much the second time around. The results were surprising.

It turns out that Blade Runner 2049 is far better the second time around. The first time you are still trying to put the pieces together in your head, to figure out exactly what you are seeing. The second time, all of your questions have already been answered.

Which means you can pick up the telling details, the subtle clues that change the meaning of everything to follow. This is a film with vast operatic sweep, but its giant canvas is constructed by thousands of carefully wrought details. And when you see it for a second time, you realize that every one of those details is essential.

Also, the second time I saw it, I didn’t find it to be slow at all. On the contrary, it felt as though it was racing headlong forward, like the most breathtaking of thrillers, with not a moment wasted.

To me that’s a sign of a well made film.

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