Monday, 19 December 2016

Musings on ''Blade Runner 2049''

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Making a sequel or prequel to a film some 30 years later is a risky endeavour. Once a film has gained status as a classic it's difficult to make a follow-up that'll live up that status. There's also the possibility you undermine the original by either ret-conning events or having a story which doesn't feel like a natural progression of the original's story.  

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner- starring Harrison Ford hot off Raiders of the Lost Ark- was a divisive film when it was first released in 1982 but has since become heralded as a masterpiece of science fiction cinema. What's most interesting about Blade Runner getting a sequel- entitled Blade Runner 2049 and whose first trailer was released earlier today- is despite it's popularity and acclaim, it's always been somewhat of a challenging film and often easier to admire than to lovingly embrace. It's a completely different animal than Star Wars. 

This makes me intrigued about Blade Runner 2049. Instead of just another sequel to a popular movie, we could be in for a genuinely cerebral science fiction film. Director Denis Villeneuve, inheriting the director's chair from Scott, has shown with this year's Arrival he's up to crafting intelligent and emotional science fiction. And with Roger Deakins as cinematographer, the film will live up to the visual beauty of the original.

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So, the trailer. Ideally this would be the only trailer released. It doesn't give anything about the plot other than Ford is back as blade runner Rick Deckard and Ryan Gosling is playing a new blade runner named K. The trailer opens with audio of Deckard from the original, as we see K walking through the ominous street of future L.A, a quintessential Blade Runner image. The released synopsis of the film describes Deckard as having gone missing. So essentially Deckard is the Luke Skywalker of this film, though it looks he'll be in it more than Mark Hamill was in The Force Awakens. When Ford is revealed in the trailer it does feel like you're seeing the older Harrison Ford rather than the older Deckard but it's still a great payoff.

Blade Runner is a film imbued with ambiguity. The big question that still causes debate among fans is whether Deckard is actually a replicant. Villeneuve has stated the film will not necessarily reveal whether Deckard is or isn't a replicant. Since Deckard is in the film, has visibly aged and replicants are supposed to have a short life span, it appears that Deckard would have to be human; unless Deckard is a replicant that lives longer. It would be bold the film to give a definitive answer but part of the appeal of the original film is that lingering question. I think there'll likely be a reference to Rachael (Sean Young), the replicant with whom Deckard fell in love with and would have died nearly 30 years earlier. 

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Blade Runner 2049 won't be released until October 2017- and great or not, I think it'll be one of the most talked about blockbusters of 2017. 

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