"Blade Runner 2049" is a sequel to the 1982 original. However, I do have an observation: It's set in 2019, two years from now.
The things that lingered with me most about "Blade Runner 2049" are its melancholy and loneliness. With a flawless blend of 1940s noir and Sci-Fi set in a dystopian future filled with degraded technology, the film uses analogy to make comments on the cruelty of man while tackling subjects like prejudice, slavery, fear and the dangers of AI. If the future world first introduced to us 35 years ago in Blade Runner was anything, it was a world starved for want of wonder. Judging by the Blade Runner 2049 press tour, it has become abundantly clear that Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling should star in more movies together.
Ryan Gosling's police officer KD6-3.7 is now the "blade runner" eliminating illegal first-generation replicants who are still on the run. That's the case with the original at least. It's not often that you get to see this side of Ford, but when you do it sure as hell warms your heart. And is the dream of being a chosen one an expression of solidarity for the people you hope to save, or an act of vanity that separates you from the people you secretly hope that you're superior to? I'm always on-board for a sad, attractive science fiction movie, but I don't think the new Blade Runner has a character quite as memorable as Batty (or Pris, or J.F. Sebastian), or a scene as ideal as Batty's final conversation with Deckard. You'll be pleased to know that Harrison Ford's still got it. Records, which explains why Sinatra, too, is able to make a holographic appearance; and when we hear Elvis Presley later on, and see an Elvis impersonator, we might note that rights to his music are now owned by Sony, Warner's co-distributor of this film. 2049 not only has to stay true to Scott's circa-1982 concept of the future, but also has to deliver a future that feels plausible in 2017. And the injustice of this enslavement is one of the central topics of the film. His Los Angeles remains dark, rainy and gloomily handsome, but it's essentially unchanged from Scott's depiction of 2019.
If there's a classic science fiction movie that absolutely doesn't need a sequel, it's Blade Runner. I'll leave it at that for the sake of avoiding spoilers. Out of the many previous incarnations, The Final Cut most closely resembles Scott's 1992 Director's Cut, with some subtle but noteworthy modifications.
Meanwhile, the fact that Deckard gets continually beaten up by notably stronger Replicants (just like in the original film) is also a bit of a non-clue, as he could have been created to be less physically strong than them. Wallace has a nefarious plan, naturally, and we can see that it bears heavily on K's investigation.
As the Hans Zimmer score pounds us with one seat-rattling, ominous note after another, Officer K's quest takes him to wonderful places - some of them real, some of them "memories", some of them taking place somewhere between reality and fantasy. Audiences shrugged when the dark, dour Blade Runner hit theaters; even the critics who gawped at the film's baroque visuals tore apart everything else. The story picks up decades after the original film. "You're going there?" replies Gosling. There's an Ultimate Collector's Edition floating around that has 5 prints of the movie.