Incredible as it is to realize, but we’re now finally in the year the original Blade Runner was set in. That’s right, thirty-seven years on, we’re in 2019 and while the world might not quite be like how it was predicted back then, we did get a sequel to the original film in 2017.
Blade Runner 2049 was unanimously praised for its visual effects, underlying theme, and continuing the unique perspective the series offers. This has led to many comparisons between this film and the original, and we’re here to even those two out to see 5 reasons why Blade Runner 2049 is better than the first part and 5 reasons why it can’t match up.
10 Better: Slower, Nuanced Perspective
Blade Runner 2049 took a different turn than what action fans were expecting to see, when it came out as a slower, more character-driven film. The action was there, but it wasn’t the kind of explosion-filled experience today’s audiences are used to due to the influence of films like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, this film sought to keep the pace slow.
Whenever K was feeling down and blue, the focus was brought to face in order for us to empathize with him. Elements such as the weather, or the environment of the city, emphasized more on the aesthetics than anything else. This helps you to dig deep into the meaning behind these scenes. The original film didn't quite put as much stock on the layers behind the characters as this one.
9 Not Better: The Original Changed the Industry
The simple fact is that the original Blade Runner revolutionized the Sci-Fi genre. It still receives praise for the way the film utilizes its themes in its visuals, offering a majestic perspective into the genre that was always termed as one-note beforehand.
Blade Runner was credited with introducing the noir format to science fiction, something unheard of at that time. Its impact resulted in several video games, franchise media, large followings, television series, and most importantly, a template for future science fiction films to follow. Blade Runner was even entered in the USA Film Registry for it being significant to culture. Blade Runner 2049 just doesn’t have accolades to this level.
8 Better: It Told The Story In One Go
In some ways it was a good thing for Blade Runner to leave a lot of room for further adaptations, but Blade Runner 2049 can be more appealing to the casual viewer for telling its story the first time round.
We didn’t need to wait for extended cuts, or directors telling us what they wanted or where the story could go – it was settled within the time the movie ran. This plays to Blade Runner 2049’s advantage, as it means the fresh viewer won’t be need to buy the seven different cuts they need to like it is with the first part.
7 Not Better: Too Much Focus On Skin Exposure
Films are syndicated over to countries around the world, and these syndications cut out scenes that feature graphic or explicit content. Blade Runner has been distributed worldwide for years, but has had only little of its scenes cut out; however, Blade Runner 2049’s liking toward nudity has meant quite a few integral scenes don’t make it to syndication.
This focus on skin exposure has meant Blade Runner feels like a complete package, while 2049 leaves more than a few people watching the syndicated version confused. Even if you disregard the syndication aspect, there’s still the point that reliance on such scenes sullies the experience somewhat since its uncomfortable for some, and distracting to most.
6 Better: A Poignant Send-off For the Protagonist
The storyline of K is sad more than anything. He’s a deeply lonely person who’s in love with a hologram he can never truly be with. The film sees this man go through his existence feeling hollow and alone, and the ending marries this point and his character development.
We see K lying on the steps as he dies in silence. It’s fitting for him to go out this way since he’s spent his life being all by himself, and dying the same way is the way it should’ve gone. However, before he dies, he ensures Deckard goes to meet his daughter for the first time, thereby passing away with the knowledge that he at least saved someone else from a lonely existence. The first film didn't get as cathartic or emotional with its ending.
5 Not Better: The Original Left Viewers Wanting More
Would anyone have bet in 1982 that all the way till 2017 – when the sequel was released – people would still be guessing whether Deckard was a replicant or not? It’s incredible how many questions fans had over Blade Runner for literal decades, and this made them watch the film again and again.
Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t boast the level of replay value the original has, mainly because the first film left viewers with so many questions – these weren’t annoying queries, though, they were genuine curiosities that fans enjoyed having. Only a select few films can hold this level of intrigue for so long, and Blade Runner 2049 isn’t one of them.
4 Better: Effects Put the Film on a Grander Scale
This is a point in favor of the latest film quite easy, seeing as production advancements made it a guarantee that the sequel would best the original in effects. And yet, you don’t get the sense that just because we’re in modern times that Blade Runner 2049 feels majestic in scale.
The film had this level of grandeur in its mind while it was being made, and scenes are crafted in order to encompass the larger-than-life aspect. Blade Runner evoked a similar feel in viewers, but it didn’t have the finesse the sequel has in this regard.
3 Not Better: Can't Be Seen As A Stand-Alone Feature
Smart alecs will want to complain it’s unfair to vote against Blade Runner 2049 in this point, but there are many other franchise sequels that don’t require the viewer to watch the original film to understand what’s going on.
A first-time viewer of the sequel will be confused at various points over what’s happening, and that’s due to the filmmakers expecting the viewer to already have seen Blade Runner before watching the next part. This means you’re reliant on the knowledge you gain from the original to best understand this film, which is a shame if you’re not all that invested in the storyline.
2 Better: Combines Themes From The First Film And Brings In New Ideas
Blade Runner has always been about the effects of “going too far” with technology and the consequences it presents. The original tackled this subject, while the sequel carried on this theme and added a story of its own.
In Blade Runner 2049, we see further how keeping replicants pinned down has resulted in a potential conflict for the future, and the story revolves around uncovering how replicants can reproduce. However, it also stays grounded with its protagonist, and explores his inner turmoil. This helps the sequel remain faithful to the original idea, and carry forward a story of its own.
1 Not Better: It Doesn't Create A World of its Own like the Original
Finally, there’s no denying that the original film is the basis for the sequel to come about. The themes, the story format, the setting, and everything else came from the first Blade Runner film. The movie created a world of science fiction to explore.
Blade Runner 2049 only continues where the first film left us; it doesn’t create an entire idea for another film to follow. The story about replicants, the fall of ethics in society, the technology that has influenced the world, all of it was created in the 1982 film – there’s just no topping that level of creativity.