Every year, Digital Trends editors hand pick the most exciting products we’ve had the privilege of handling this year. Make sure to check out award winners in categories from cars to computers, plus the overall best product of 2017! Read on for the movies, shows and music that floored us this year.
Blade Runner 2049
For the second year in a row, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has given audiences the most thrilling, thought-provoking, and genuinely beautiful cinematic experience to arrive in theaters. A film more than 30 years in the making, Blade Runner 2049 is more than just a sci-fi sequel. It’s a masterpiece of visual storytelling that looks and feels like no other movie made in recent years, and tells a tale rooted in one of the most fundamental mysteries of our existence: the nature of humanity.
No stranger to blending cerebral, inward-gazing stories with eye-pleasing visuals, Villeneuve gave us last year’s alien encounter drama Arrival – the best movie of 2016 – which took the sci-fi genre in bold new directions by exploring the way we communicate and how the choices we each make shape the human experience. In Blade Runner, he shifts his focus to the human soul and the definition of humanity, and brings audiences along for a ride that’s as exciting as it is fascinating.
Crafting the sequel to a beloved, genre-defining film that has more than three decades of nostalgia supporting it comes with a very particular – and often unforgiving – set of difficulties. Not only did Blade Runner 2049 have to honor the 1982 film that inspired it, but it had to tell a fresh story that would validate its existence while simultaneously looking, feeling, and sounding like a film made 35 years earlier.
Blade Runner 2049 makes the three-decade wait not only seem worthwhile, but intentional.
Villeneuve did all of that and more with Blade Runner 2049, shifting smoothly from hazy neon cityscapes to rusty mountain ranges of urban waste and abandoned cities reclaimed by the swirling desert, spotted with the remnants of a world we left behind. Rather than simply reconstructing the world of Blade Runner, Villeneuve explores it with a scholar’s attention to detail and expands it with a master storyteller’s touch.
With Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve also offers a fantastic reminder of the enthralling experience that a trip to the theater can be. It’s a film that begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible, immersing its audience in the sights and sounds of its characters’ world.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the achievement of Blade Runner 2049 is that it makes the three-decade wait not only seem worthwhile, but intentional – as if this is the movie that the sequel to one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made needed to be.
Read our full Blade Runner 2049 reviewSee it
The groundbreaking series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name just might be one of the most important shows on television right now. The Handmaid’s Tale expertly blends a visceral exploration of a dystopian America where women have been subjugated under severe interpretations of Biblical law with a fascinating extrapolation of just how easily we could get from here to there. Like many of television’s best shows, Hulu’s Emmy-winning series strikes an impressive balance between telling a compelling, layered story and holding up an uncomfortably close mirror on the world we live in.
After finally digesting Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 opus, To Pimp a Butterfly, the music world waited on bated breath for the rapper’s highly anticipated follow-up, DAMN. Though it would take nothing short of a masterpiece to stand with TPAB, Lamar still set the hip-hop industry ablaze with the 14-track album. Teeming with nods to rap history while blazing his own path forward, K-Dot deftly navigates life, death, love, and loss with tracks like Humble and DNA serving as the instant classic’s best. It may lack the political consciousness and complexity of its predecessor but DAMN. proves Lamar is a