A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blade Runner 2049 is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, set 30 years after the events of the original and again starring Harrison Ford (as well as Ryan Gosling). Violence is frequent and strong, with brutal fighting, guns and shooting, stabbing, crashes and explosions, and bloody wounds/blood spurts. Women (some human, some holograms/sculptures) are shown naked -- mainly breasts and bottoms -- and a man's pubic hair is shown. It's implied that the main character has sex with a prostitute, with his hologram girlfriend superimposed over her. Sex noises are heard in a red-light district, with vague sexual images glimpsed through frosted glass. Expect a few uses of "f--k"; characters also drink from time to time, but never to excess. The movie isn't without its flaws, and it certainly could have gone a bit deeper, but there's enough thoughtful, visually spellbinding stuff here to make it well worth seeing.
What's the story?
In BLADE RUNNER 2049, a new breed of replicants has been created to serve without rebellion. K (Ryan Gosling) is one of them, working for the LAPD as a "blade runner." While on a routine hunt for one of the older, renegade breeds of replicant (Dave Bautista), K discovers clues -- a box buried in the ground and a date carved at the base of a dead tree -- that send him on a new mission. One of the clues is a carved wooden horse, which leads him to a woman (Carla Juri) who creates memories for replicants. From there, K tracks down former blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has gone into hiding. As K gets closer to the solution of his puzzle, powerful replicant maker Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his super-strong henchwoman (Sylvia Hoeks) attempt to bring him down.
Is it any good?
Coming 35 years after the iconic original, Denis Villeneuve's sequel is a little heavier on spellbinding visuals than emotions or profound themes, but it still provides worthy food for thought. Villeneuve's best films -- Enemy, Sicario, Arrival -- are masterful at placing characters in unfamiliar or alien spaces and drawing memorable ideas and feelings from that clash. While Blade Runner 2049 doesn't quite reach that level, it still has many strong sequences that ponder themes of what it means to be alive -- or even human.
Certainly movies like A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Her -- not to mention the original Blade Runner -- probed a little deeper, but this sequel has more than its share of amazing, provocative moments. The spaces and images frequently clash; the cityscape and giant holograms or sculptures that are created by humans feel so inhuman at the same time. Images of wood and water also contribute to more primal themes. Not to mention that it's great to see Ford again, and he finds new levels in his old character. The movie's extreme length wears a bit, as does a slight detour into sillier, more ordinary sci-fi storytelling. And Leto overacts in an unappealing way. But these flaws are few, and the overall trip is well worth taking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Blade Runner 2049's violence. How intense is it? Is it gratuitous or necessary to the story? How does it relate to the themes of the movie? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
How does the movie portray sex and nudity? Is it part of loving, respectful relationships? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex.
How does this movie compare to the original? What's different? What's similar? How has the Deckard character endured? Why do you think the first movie became so iconic?
The main character dreams of having a soul, of perhaps not feeling like an outcast. Have you ever felt that way? How did you change it?
What are some of this movie's themes? What's the value of life in this world?
- In theaters: October 6, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: January 16, 2018
- Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright
- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 164 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language
- Awards/Honors: Academy Award
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