Blade Runner stars lose it in interview

Denis Villenueve is officially staking his claim on Hollywood with Blade Runner 2049. Just as Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) was a refurbishment of the original 1977 movie, this sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 science-fiction classic is likewise more like a rebranding than a new product. And that's even without delving into the fun stuff, like the insane hairdryers or the nearly post-apocalyptic fashion sense.

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford are now on a whirlwind promo tour to plug Blade Runner 2049 (not that that's even necessary-the movie, out this Friday, is probably the most anticipated film of the year). For his part, Ford easily recaptures the character he's revisiting after 35 years, instantly conveying the gruff, quiet strength of Deckard. His Los Angeles remains dark, rainy and gloomily handsome, but it's essentially unchanged from Scott's depiction of 2019. The promise of a world with so much more to offer than a rumination about the very essence of humanity. If you can get hold of a DVD of the original, I highly recommend you watch it so you will get the complete experience. Whenever 2049 references the original movie, it shifts into a tone of cautious, unquestioning reverence, cowering away from risks exactly when it should be taking them. On the crowded streets live an underprivileged, multicultural section who couldn't afford to settle in an "Off World" colony, while on the high floors live the corporate giants. It all boiled down to a book in a Blade Runner's cold, metallic apartment, Vladimir Nabokov's metatextual novel "Pale Fire", that made the film's structure explicit: it was not only a poem - each canto reflecting a basic human need: shelter, food, water, sex, and death - but also a critical commentary about those bodily needs through the lens of the spirit: love, hate, compassion, betrayal and sacrifice. As the tone of the film gets more aggressive, so does the music, bordering on industrial. (That's also true of Villeneuve's previous film, Arrival). He and his team realise that the woman died during childbirth and that she was a replicant, two things that don't make sense.

Ryan Gosling stars as K, one of the new generation of android Blade Runners. For some keen observers, this might be a problem.

Running at a little more than 150 minutes, Blade Runner 2049 is definitely too long, with the slow pace of the movie dragging the movie further.

Now, I'm going to state this right here, right now: Villeneuve is no Ridley Scott. From the design carryover of the hulking heart of Los Angeles to a series of holographic marvels in its buffet of digital creations, 2049 is a magnificently crafted world.

It's not hyperbole to say that this is the most magnificent technical achievement we've seen in cinema in a long while. Obviously, Warner Bros. would settle for the lower opening if it meant the film would have the kind of legs Fury Road delivered. You feel it in your chest when that synth fires up. The original movie, released in 1982, was a flop during its release, but developed a strong following later. Time and money constraints prevented this from being Scott's definitive version.

And finally, there's Roger Deakins. This will in no way hurt the film's chances of wowing audiences, but it does leave one feeling that it could have done so much more. Just as Scott's original allowed flashes of authenticity and warmth to come slicing through the layers of irony, and smoke-fogged, gaudy archness, so too does Villeneuve prove unafraid to really, deeply care, both about his characters, and his audience.

Did they have any deleted scenes? Replicants are the future, but I can only make so many. It seems that the "replicants" who turned on the human race have been replaced by "a new line of replicants who obey", performing menial tasks and farming jobs - y'know, slave labor. To not experience its overwhelming compositions in high definition is also insufficient - indeed, one can nearly see why Blade Runner was not as appreciated by audiences and critics in its time as it is now.

  • Salvatore Jensen


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