If ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Seems Long, That Says More About You Than The Film

Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi sequel is going to be over 2 1/2 hours long, but if it's a good movie then who cares?

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

One of the biggest wild cards of the fall movie season is Blade Runner 2049, an exceptionally expensive and ambitious sequel to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner, which completely tanked at the box office back in 1982. The new film is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Denis Villeneuve (ArrivalSicario) and stars Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Harrison Ford, who played a man tasked with decommissioning rogue robots in the future in the original movie.

Blade Runner 2049 is also, as Variety has revealed, two hours and forty-three minutes long. That’s 163 minutes, including the closing credits, which run 11 minutes, which adds up to 152 of actual “movie” in the movie.

It seems like a long time, and a lot of different publications throughout the internet are dedicating headlines to this information as though it means something. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t mean jack shit. At least, not necessarily. Some movies are long. Batman v Superman was over 2 1/2 hours long (and over three hours long in its so-called “Ultimate Edition”). The Dark Knight was over 2 1/2 hours long. Avatar was only one minute shorter than Blade Runner 20149, and nobody complained about it.

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That’s because, again, run times don’t mean anything. PACING means everything. As Roger Ebert so famously said, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” If a movie is made well, it justifies whatever running time it has. You won’t even check your watch because you’ll be too engaged with the movie to care what time it is.

The real story here is in everyone’s minds, because if they really think that a 2 1/2 hour-plus Blade Runner sequel sounds too long, it means they’re probably under the assumption that the film won’t, or at least might not be good enough to warrant that much of a time commitment. And that’s a very bad sign, at least on a marketing level, about what people think they’re in for when Blade Runner: 2049 arrives in theaters on October 6, 2017.

So be honest with yourself: are you a glass half full person, or a glass half empty person? Because that’s the only thing we really know for certain today, thanks to this little announcement.

Top Photo: Warner Bros.

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on Canceled Too Soon and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.