I don’t think I’ve ever managed to get through the original Blade Runner without falling asleep. I know, I know – I’m a philistine who has no business calling herself a science fiction fan. But I love the concept, if not the actual movie, so that has to count for something, right?
A loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the original movie starred Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Edward James Olmos. Described as dystopian neo-noir science fiction and directed by Ridley Scott, Blade Runner was initially met with mixed reviews – some critics praised its thematic complexity and visuals, others were less than pleased with its pacing – but quickly went down in history as a cult favorite.
It would surely be served better as a stand-alone “masterpiece” as the creation of a sequel seems to somehow diminish the impact of the original but Hollywood seems determined to create a sequel for everything so here we are. That said, I really want to like Blade Runner 2049, precisely because I didn’t like the original. Intellectually, I see the appeal of Blade Runner but I found it stodgy and depressing; I’ve always wanted to like it, however, so perhaps the sequel will present a chance to view it in a new light.
All we’ve got in the way of a synopsis so far is this: “Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years”. Jared Leto takes on yet another villain role as manipulative replicant manufacturer, Niander Wallace, and apparently went full method (as he’s wont to do) while preparing for the part, even going so far as to wear sight-limiting contact lenses to simulate blindness.
Blade Runner 2049 also co-stars Ana de Marmas, Dave Bautista and Lennie James in supporting roles. And Edward James Olmos will join Ford in reprising his role as Officer Gaff in the original movie. There was some debate at the end of Blade Runner as to whether Deckard himself was a replicant; Gaff left an origami unicorn outside Deckard’s apartment, suggesting that he had seen inside Deckard’s dreams and implying that he was indeed a replicant.
Directed by French-Canadian Denis Villeneuve, veteran of no less than sixteen films and recently Oscar nominated for Arrival, the project is in very safe hands. The script, fans will be glad to know, was written by the dream team of Hampton Fancher, the original scriptwriter, and Ridley Scott. Judging from the trailers, it certainly all looks beautiful and they’re ditching the ridiculous (and controversial) voiceover from the original so I’m cautiously hopefully that I might actually like this one.