This year brought us some astonishing science fiction films, but none felt more real and lived-in than the existential Blade Runner 2049, directed by Arrival’s Denis Villeneuve. Impressive for its scale on all levels—from the booming yet sparse score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, to the looming cinematography of Roger Deakins, to the class and equality metaphors that hammer Officer K (Ryan Gosling)—it’s tragic that 2049 was considered a flop for failing to recoup its similarly monumental budget. (Anytime you hear someone blaming 2049’s financial failure on its being “too cerebral,” keep in mind that’s code for “audiences are stupid.”) The contrast between rave reviews and middling attendance led to a lot of hand-wringing over the future of daring, big-budget sci-fi, but don’t forget the bust-to-boom trajectory of the original Blade Runner, which went from bomb to cult favorite to classic. Like the first Blade Runner, 2049 will endure. (dir. Denis Villeneuve; available digitally Dec 26 and on Blu-ray Jan 16)
The Portland Mercury's Super Cinema Strikeforce™ had a bunch of other favorite movies in 2017, too! Check them all out here.