The Plot: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos.K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckhard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for decades. The hunt for the truth begins in this follow-up to one of the most visually spectacular films in cinematic history (Disc sleeve).
The video: Shot primarily using Arri Alexa XT Studio cameras and finished as a 4K Digital Intermediate, Blade Runner 2049 makes for a jaw-droppingly gorgeous Blu-ray experience. The 2.40:1-framed AVC 1080p encode regularly breaks from its bleak neo-noir setting with bursts of bright, intense primary colours that really pop out of the gloom (see Bibi's Bar in Chapter 5). Accurate contrast and brightness levels result in perfectly judged black levels that are deep and inky, while also bringing plenty of shadow detail to the fore (5) (HCC 282, February 2018).
The audio: Unlike discs sold in the UK, a Dolby Atmos soundtrack graces both the 4K and the 1080p Blu-rays on this USA release, and it's sensational. As soon as the movie opens with the familiar, colossal, down-sliding bass hit, you know you're in for something special. The sheer scale of the soundstage - especially in the mix of Benjamin Wallfisch / Hans Zimmer's Vangelis-inspired score - is incredible, delivered with gorgeous clarity and depth. Crisp, suble detailing that's never overwhelmed by the film's atmospherics. This is an Atmos track to savour, which UK fans without 4K setups should consider importing (as indeed I did), because Sony's UK 1080p disc has only a flat DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track instead (5) (HCC 283, March 2018).