"Blade Runner 2049" is a modern day science-fiction masterpiece

Image via Eric Charbonneau Warner Bros. Alcon Entertainment

K is a blade runner seeking out-modeled replicants to "retire" when he stumbles upon the remains of a replicant woman who apparently died in child birth. He acquired what was left of the Tyrell Corporation, which made the old replicants, created an updated line of them and saw the prohibition against the replicants lifted in 2036. Maybe "Blade Runner" wore its complexities on its sleeve, too. When those stars are the notoriously press-shy Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, now promoting Blade Runner 2049, getting a genuinely fun interview is theoretically impossible.

"I feel like that's where this is headed, " Gosling said as he poured himself a drink. As the anchor of the film, K requires a steady and steely resolve, and Gosling has no challenges there. He's done this especially with last year's Arrival. No definitive answer has ever been revealed, but, without giving it fully away, director Denis Villenueve and co-writers Hampton Fancher and Michael Green dispense with any mystery regarding K's status nearly immediately. On top of being the prince of breaking character on Saturday Night Live, he's a genuinely happy guy, and it's shown on his recent promo circuit for Blade Runner 2049.

The story does an admirable job in trying to push forward the ethical issues raised and explored in "Blade Runner". They were used as slave labour because they were better than humans in every way and believed to be incapable of human thought. I personally prefer his more alive and loose-limbed L.A. detective from "The Nice Guys", but Gosling's nature plays into the movie. They are beautifully captured with legendary lensman Roger Deakins' camera, and his work here is sure to land him an Oscar come early next year.

Ridley Scott's 1982 neo-noir original extracted the frightful premise of Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - the horror of not knowing if you're real or not - and overlaid it on a mesmerizing sci-fi void. As to which of the eight versions (!) you should revisit - they being the Workprint, the U.S. Theatrical Cut, San Diego Sneak Preview Cut, the International Cut, the U.S. Broadcast Cut, the Director's Cut and the Final Cut - is entirely up to you (we probably recommend the latter), but do go back to maximise your experience of "2049".

Although 2049 does falter in some of its more heavy-handed allusions to Christianity, and its insistence that "Dying for the right cause is the most human thing we can do", it more often eschews moral certainties, and this is where Villeneuve's film really shines.