The release of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic, is imminent. With an official trailer released and information about the film slowly trickling through and making headlines, anticipation is growing.
Will the follow-up manage to recreate the critical success of its predecessor, or will it conversely mar the original’s reputation? We’ll have to wait to find out. For now, we can deliberate on exactly just how excited we should be for its release– and there are many, many factors to consider.
Whether the film will be a hit or a dud has been hotly contested thus far, and will continue to rage on as we near Blade Runner 2049’s October release. The crew members involved in its creation are certainly promising, but it’s hard to reason why a sequel’s even being made in the first place.
This article intends to investigate both sides of the argument, detailing how exactly you should restrain– or let loose– your excitement.
Here are the 10 Reasons You Should (And 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t) Be Excited For Blade Runner 2049.
15. Should – It Has Harrison Ford’s Approval
A sequel for Blade Runner has always been a talking point since the original’s rise from cult classic to sci-fi staple. While expectant fans begged for another, the sequel never really came to fruition. One of the reasons why this was the case was the film’s main protagonist, Harrison Ford, who rejected several proposals, claiming that he was waiting for the right script.
It may have taken a good 35 years, but he finally found it in the form of Hampton Fancher and Michael Green’s Blade Runner 2049 screenplay. While he initially refuted the idea of a sequel when Ridley Scott suggested it to him, he changed his mind immediately after reading the screenplay, stating that “this is the best script I’ve ever had.”
After several cases of script rejection, to finally land on a story that suited Ford is a promising sign that Blade Runner 2049 has a story worth telling, and won’t fall into the pitfalls and trappings of any cash-grab blockbuster sequels. Think less Terminator Genisys, and more Mad Max: Fury Road.
14. Should – It Has A Superb Cast
Along with what could be a fantastic screenplay, Blade Runner 2049 has managed to acquire an incredible array of actors. The sequel’s main character, a new blade runner called Officer K, will be played by Ryan Gosling, hot off the heels of La La Land’s success. Jared Leto, famous for Requiem for a Dream and Dallas Buyers Club, and infamous for Suicide Squad, will be playing what the trailer suggests is the film’s main villain.
Alongside these cast members we have Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Black Mirror), Robin Wright (House of Cards, Forrest Gump), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre), and Barkhad Abdi, who stole the show in Captain Phillips.
The lesser known Ana de Armas also plays a key supporting role, and, with star turns in Knock Knock and War Dogs, she won’t fail to deliver. Also, we haven’t even mentioned Harrison Ford yet, returning to his role as an ex-blade runner in hiding.
13. Shouldn’t – The Trailer Is Too Action-Packed
One of the most refreshing attributes of the original Blade Runner is that it’s a sci-fi that doesn’t rely on action to advance its plot and excite its audience. However, Blade Runner 2049’s trailer depicts the film as far more action-packed and violent than its predecessor, potentially dismissing the ethos of Blade Runner that the original created.
Of course, this may be a case of false advertising. There is precedence– Drive had a lawsuit filed against it after its trailer promised Fast and Furious-esque action while the film was anything but. So there is still some hope that the film escapes generic sci-fi action fare.
However, with the trailer already bearing more scenes of gunfights, fistfights, and other displays of violence than the original’s entire runtime, the doubts surrounding Blade Runner 2049’s potential penchant for mindless violence are warranted.
12. Should – It’s Shot By Roger Deakins
As far as cinematographers go, there are few better than Roger Deakins. Teaming up once again with director Denis Villeneuve, this is Deakins’ first sci-fi film and an exciting opportunity to showcase his talent among all genres.
He’s the man behind the camera of such gorgeous films as The Assassination of Jesse James, Sicario and Skyfall–– his filmography is so rich that he’s the most-Oscar-nominated living cinematographer at 13 nominations, and, though he hasn’t won the award yet, with Blade Runner 2049, it may just be his time.
Director Denis Villeneuve stated in a Facebook Q&A that Deakins went “wild,” and, by the looks of the trailer, that certainly seems to be the case. It’s a beautiful concoction of deep, saturated hues and deft use of space. Every shot is visually interesting, and each frame a painting. With Deakins’ involvement in the film, there’s no doubt that Blade Runner 2049 will at least be pleasing to the eye.
11. Should – It’s A Return To Blade Runner’s Incredible World
While there have been many people looking for an answer to whether there’s enough reason to make a sequel, these doubters should look no further than the foggy, neon-swamped world that Ridley Scott created in the original Blade Runner. A world as rich and vibrant as Blade Runner’s deserves more than two hours of screentime devoted to it, so a sequel– and therefore a return to the world– is a welcome sight.
Blade Runner’s world-building was hailed as one of its strongest assets, where director Ridley Scott pieced together a nightmarish landscape that, to this day, influences many modern sci-fi flicks.
With such an iconic aesthetic, to return to the original is a tantalizing prospect. We can once again visit the bustling night-markets and glittering skyscrapers, while also learning how the setting has changed 35 years after the original.
10. Shouldn’t – Where’s The Grit?
The trailer for Blade Runner 2049, however, may not suggest that the world we’re returning to is in keeping with the original Blade Runner’s dark, musty undertones.
The skyline and interior design certainly look beautiful, but gone is the grittiness and griminess that made the original so distinct. Everything is shiny and polished, to the extent that, without Harrison Ford’s involvement, it barely looks like Blade Runner at all.
Sure, 30 years after the original story, the world may have cleaned itself up a little bit. However, there’s no sense that the world feels lived-in– it’s less a world and more a cinematographer and set designer’s opportunity to show-off, potentially to the film’s detriment.
Of course, the trailer is still just a trailer, and these doubts may prove to have been unnecessary. So let’s just hope that Blade Runner’s sequel still looks– and, more importantly, feels– like Blade Runner.
9. Should – Denis Villeneuve Is Directing
The other side of the Deakins-Villeneuve duo, Blade Runner 2049’s critically-acclaimed director is the mastermind behind Incendies, Sicario, and last year’s Oscar-nominated and widely celebrated Arrival. So then, with a reputation like Denis Villeneuve’s attached to the project, and a filmography that bears no duds, Blade Runner 2049 is in good hands.
As director of Arrival, we know he’s both experienced and talented at portraying thought-provoking sci-fi on the big screen. Additionally, with him currently signed on for a Dune reboot, he’s certainly passionate about the genre.
His nous at handling surrealism and wild visuals (demonstrated by Enemy) is also useful in managing to replicate the tone and atmosphere of the original. He’s the perfect director for Blade Runner’s sequel: a talented auteur with a flair for its genre and a respect for the original’s cultural and historical significance.
8. Should – It’s Composed By Jóhann Jóhannsson
One of the original Blade Runner’s most important aspects was its marvellous score: a synthetic, haunting melody that is integral in generating the atmosphere of the film’s dark underbelly. Indeed, the score is now a hallmark of sci-fi, where any use of synth immediately evokes the genre.
From the sound of the trailer, Blade Runner 2049’s score will be a similarly heady mixture of machine and music, not so much replicating the original but rather paying homage to it, and maintaining consistency across the two films.
That original score was composed by Vangelis, and the new score is composed by the equally excellent Jóhann Jóhannsson. His work on Arrival is no doubt promising, creating a unique score that helped to generate the film’s eeriness. That he also composed the music for Sicario and The Theory of Everything is an obvious sign that Blade Runner 2049 will be beautiful to listen to.
7. Shouldn’t – There’s No Reason To Make The Sequel
One of the obstacles a sequel to a classic faces is proving that its existence serves a purpose beyond a simple cash grab. Danny Boyle cleverly manoeuvred this by making this year’s T2: Trainspotting focus on nostalgia rather than addiction. Blade Runner 2049, on the other hand, is very similar to its predecessor in tone, and, potentially, story.
The story of the original Blade Runner ended in 1983. It doesn’t need a sequel, nor does it lead into one. Therefore Blade Runner 2049 functions less as a continuation and more as a separate story that also checks up on its predecessor’s protagonist.
While we’re not one to bash originality, there’s very little reason for the sequel to be made. Yes, the world may be interesting to explore, but why risk marring the original’s status, in the same way that Ridley Scott is jeopardizing his Alien franchise?
6. Should – Harrison Ford Actually Cares
From performances in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Ender’s Game, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and a cameo in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, people are now beginning to get the sense that Harrison Ford may just be phoning it in a little.
He’s gone on record in the past to share his frustration with playing Han Solo, for example, and his performance as Indiana Jones last time out was a far cry from the energy he displayed in the ’80s.
However, reprising the role of Rick Deckard, Blade Runner 2049 is a film that Ford is heavily invested in. Interested by the idea of revisiting a character after a period of time, the trailers suggest that Deckard is now a haggard shadow of his former self, weary and vulnerable, rather than charming and smug. We have no doubt that Ford can pull off his role as Deckard once again– unlike several of his other recent outings on the big screen, he appears to really care about it.
5. Should – Ridley Scott Is Still Involved
In 1982, Blade Runner’s theatrical release was met with mixed reviews, where some critics condemned its use of lazy voice-over narration and a sickly happy ending. What is now almost universally agreed to be Blade Runner’s best version is its Final Cut, which, coincidentally, is the only version of the film that director Ridley Scott had complete creative control over.
Lamenting the use of the narration at the time, Scott knows exactly what works and what doesn’t when it comes to making a Blade Runner film. While he may not be directing Blade Runner 2049, his role as producer will guide the film to a finished product that shares his vision.
4. Shouldn’t – May Ruin The Ambiguity Of The Original
One of the most pressing and hotly-debated questions concerning the original Blade Runner is whether its main protagonist, Rick Deckard, is a replicant or not. Some claim that the unicorn origami given to Deckard in the final scene, referring to the dream he had earlier in the film, proves that he’s a replicant.
Others believe that there’s no evidence substantial enough to prove it, and that the book that Blade Runner is based on– Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?— asserts that Deckard is not. Whatever the case, the very fact that there is this ambiguity makes Blade Runner much more compelling than if it were to outright tell the audience.
This ambiguity, however, may be lost in Blade Runner 2049-– the fact that Deckard is even alive at this point in the story suggests his status as a human. Also, while Villeneuve has insisted that this may not necessarily be the case, the fact that he’s refused to give an outright answer to whether his film answers the question may just mean that the mystery will be resolved.
3. Should – Improved Technology
While we’re sure that 2049’s technology has improved significantly since the 2019 that was depicted in the original Blade Runner, we don’t mean to reference that kind of technology. Instead, we’re talking about the advancement of technology in cinema, where fancy cameras and visual effects far outmuscle what could be accomplished in 1982.
Blade Runner’s world demands immersion, so the sequel’s visual effects team have a tricky task on their hands in grounding the movie in realism. However, as Gravity displayed, special effects have improved to the point where anything is possible, and, in a neo-noir world where anything’s possible, that suits them nicely.
With an untapped potential waiting to be unleashed through a well-judged mixture of props and visual effects, Blade Runner 2049 may look even better than its predecessor, and may be even more daring with what it attempts to achieve on screen from a technical standpoint.
2. Should – It’s R Rated
Of course, a more lenient rating inherently results in greater creative freedom– the plot free from the shackles of a PG restriction. Thus the fights can be bloodier, the themes can be darker, and the dialogue can be… more colorful.
An R rating fits Blade Runner’s gritty tone, giving it the moody heft that a more restrictive rating would potentially diminish. The rating also points to the very comforting idea that this isn’t a sequel designed to make as much money as possible, but one that’s being produced for artistic purposes instead.
1. Shouldn’t – The Trailer’s Dialogue Is Lacking
While Harrison Ford may have touted Blade Runner 2049’s script as the best he’s ever read, spotty dialogue in its trailer suggests otherwise. The story and visuals may be there, but dialogue is hugely important, especially when considering its predecessor was widely hailed for it, producing many iconic lines (“all those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain”).
Meanwhile, characters in the trailer spout worryingly generic dialogue, such as “you’re special,” “the key to the future is finally unearthed,” and “your story isn’t over yet.”
Of course, these are only three lines in a substantially larger script, and the marketing team may have just wanted to promote lines that are instantly attention-grabbing. Yet these few lines may also serve as a microcosm for the sequel’s dialogue as a whole– bland, obvious, and not that far a cry from standard sci-fi fare. Let’s only hope that the dialogue in the film is much better.
Blade Runner 2049 will arrive in theaters on October 6, 2017.
Can you think of any other reasons to be excited for Blade Runner 2049, or why it may be a letdown? Let us know in the comments!
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