A new video compares the trailers for the original Blade Runner and its sequel Blade Runner 2049 side-by-side. Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic is regarded not only as a groundbreaking work of dystopian science fiction but as an overall visual masterpiece. From the cinematography to the art direction to the costumes to the make-up to the visual effects, everything about Blade Runner was meticulous and exacting and contributed to the sense of a wholly-realized futuristic world.
This year Blade Runner 2049 arrives to continue the story that started with Ridley Scott’s film and explore more of the world he introduced. Director Denis Villeneuve has taken over the directorial reins from Scott, and has the monumental task of creating a film that lives up to the original movie’s vision.
The new Blade Runner doesn’t even arrive in theaters until October, but already the comparisons with the original are flying fast and heavy. A new trailer was just released for the sequel, giving us a glimpse of what Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins have in store from a visual standpoint, and IMDb wasted no time in putting together a side-by-side video that allows the original film and the new one to be subjected to a shot-by-shot comparison.
Watching the side-by-side, what jumps out immediately is the difference in tonality between the two films. The original Blade Runner has much more of a blue-green cast, especially in the exteriors, while the sequel is largely bathed in golden tones (the golden tone appears to be associated with certain settings). The images in Blade Runner 2049 appear to be a lot cleaner and sleeker, in keeping with Denis Villeneuve’s general visual style, while the original has much more uneven, noirish lighting and is grainier and grittier.
In terms of detail, the original film appears to be a lot busier, with more of a sense of an over-stuffed and somewhat ramshackle world. Between Alien and Blade Runner, Ridley Scott was a great innovator when it came to creating grimy, lived-in science fiction worlds. It’s hard to get a sense from this brief glimpse whether Villeneuve and his creative team have gone as far as Scott and his crew did in terms of meticulous detail. One element that does definitely jump out about the new film is Jared Leto with his weird silvery irises. The first Blade Runner was full of supporting actors whose impact was largely visual, and Leto’s appearance looks to continue this tradition of unique-looking and bizarre characters.
For those who are critical of the original Blade Runner, the storytelling often is held up as the film’s one major flaw. Even if Blade Runner 2049 ultimately does not create as overwhelming and memorable a visual experience as the original movie, the story could be where the movie truly shines. Denis Villeneuve has already shown himself to be a strong storyteller in the science fiction realm with his Oscar-nominated Arrival. The real comparing won’t start until Blade Runner 2049 itself arrives.