Ford passes torch to Gosling

I was a little tyke when the original “Blade Runner” came out in 1982. Even though I was young, I got into it because of the supporting turns by Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah. To me, they were the real reason to see this adaptation of a story based on the writings of Phillip K. Dick. Harrison Ford’s persona of Rick Deckard was just window dressing for me.

In “Blade Runner 2049,” Ford returns as Deckard, albeit in a smaller, supporting role. This one is Ryan Gosling’s vehicle. He is on the screen for a majority of the flick. Ford’s Deckard does not even show up until an hour into the movie. Gosling’s K persona occupies the majority of it.

Quirky performances abound in this flick, especially Jared Leto as Niander Wallace, a creator of sorts, who claims to be the maker of the replicants. He nonchalantly guts and kills his creation like it was spoiled fish.

 Ryan Gosling (K), left, and Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard) in "Blade Runner 2049."

Ryan Gosling (K), left, and Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard) in "Blade Runner 2049."

Also important to the storyline is Robin Wright’s turn as Lt. Joshi who is, for all intents and purposes, K’s boss. She fears for K who is essentially flying blind in their search for Deckard, who has been absent from current America for many years. James Edward Olmos makes a cameo appearance as Gaff, who fashions minute origami versions of various creatures.

Directing “Blade Runner 2049” is Denis Villanueve, who scored major points with me for helming the amazing “Arrival” (2016) as well as “Sicarrio” in 2015. He knows where to point the camera in every single solitary frame. Ridley Scott returns to the “Blade Runner” universe, this time as executive producer.

What is really cool is the vibrant color palette used in sections of the movie. Roger Deakins' cinematography glistens on the screen. He even brings a presence to snow that is falling to the ground.

Like the original “Blade Runner,” the film makes references to now defunct companies such as Atari, which has not been a part of the American gaming landscape since the mid-1980s.

I have a feeling this one will be a front-runner in this year’s Oscar race, kind of like what happened a couple of years back when the well-received “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) received a deluge of the shiny gold statues.

I saw the screening at AMC NorthPark. This is important because I did not get the goose bumps I’m always looking for but busted into big smiles whenever I heard events unfolding on the screen. The seats literally rumbled, adding to the atmosphere by making it a full-on immersive experience.

I know a lot of people dread science-fiction tales, but this flick is just awesome. I highly recommend “Blade Runner 2049” because it does everything it’s supposed to do, even a conclusion that is thoroughly dynamic.

GRADE A-