It has never been a secret that Denis Villeneuve had a four-hour cut of "Blade Runner 2049" [IndieWire ] and the director's claim that it was “pretty strong.” However, he has admitted that the released 163-minute theatrical version was still the better movie.
Editor Joe Walker, speaking to Collider as to what he left in and took out, gave us more details about the process. He mentions that he was ordered not to cut any of Cinematographer Roger Deakins' amazing shots.
Walker goes on to say, “On ‘Blade Runner,’ I’ve got a world class shot of this amazing caustic light effect following Sylvia Hoeks, who’s amazing to look at, climbing up the steps,” Walker said. “The first person you see in the office is a man in the shadows, a blind man, with artificial sunlight crawling into a huge water set. So, I mean, to make that three to five seconds long is killing a major world class shot.”
This does explain why the film's running time was still 163 minutes, they wanted Deakins' shots to linger and be absorbed, no complaints there, and to have, as Walker mentioned, more “experimental things” cut instead.
Walker also mentions that the first half of the film, a decision made by himself and Villeneuve, would have ended just after K had sex with Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), he states “the beginning of part two was her waking up in bed,” Walker said. “It struck us that it drew attention to the fact that [this is a film] unusually in two halves. It starts with aneye openingand the second half starts with aneye opening; it’s a very different K in the first half where he’s coming to terms with his past and him being a real boy in the second half. That was just the way we viewed it.”
A peeve I had with BR2049 was that, due to the trailer and posters, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Harrison Ford's Deckard was going to be introduced to us in the film's last third. Come on, admit it, when it did happen it was a rather predictable and uninspiring moment and the glaring flaw of the film.
I'm torn between thinking BR2049 is a good movie or better than that because of the Ford section. There must have been a disconnect between studio and director because we all knew Ford was going to be in it, just based on official production photos. No surprise then that Villeneuve has admitted he regrets revealing Ford in promotional posters, ads, posters etc.