Earlier this week, the debut teaser was released for Blade Runner 2049, the long awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 neo-noir sci-fi classic. Whilst little was revealed, save for a few beautiful but vague shots and a brief human (?) exchange, it has, of course, driven fanboys online in their sweaty, gleeful droves.
As I’m one of them, here’s a rundown of why you should be excited for Blade Runner 2049…
Denis Villeneuve may not be Ridley Scott, but, based on the last fifteen years, I can assure you this is a good thing. The French-Canadian director is up there with the best in the world right now, and has already more than proven his worth both at home (Incendies) and in Hollywood (Prisoners, Enemy) with a rapidly growing repertoire of bold, exciting pictures spanning multiple genres. Sicario, last year’s bruising cross-border cartel thriller, was unquestionably one of the films of the year, and ended up pipping Fury Road to the number one spot atop my own ten personal favourites of 2015. With a style that’s as intricate as it is breathtaking, and a slick, drama-heavy sci-fi flick already under his belt in the form of Arrival (watch it), it’s safe to say Deckard and Co. are in good hands.
Affectionately known as “The Deak” over on The Punch Up podcast, British cinematographer Roger Deakins is considered by most to be one of the all-time greats behind the camera. A quick glance at the subtle brilliance of pictures the likes of Fargo, The Assassination of Jesse James, and Villeneuve’s own Sicario, demonstrates that he is unquestionably the industry standard when it comes to creating and framing suspense. The late Jordan Cronenweth’s Blade Runner shoot is, in itself, a masterpiece of beautiful tension, but if there’s one man up to task of capturing the sequel, it’s surely one of the few cinematographers whose name occasionally attracts greater attention than his director. Due to high levels of cinematic love for the man, I have no problem effectively guaranteeing that BR2049 is going to look beyond incredible.
One of the first major talking points of the production was the casting of Ryan Gosling as Officer K, a distant successor to former LAPD Blade Runner, Rick Deckard. An inevitably divisive decision due to Gosling’s love/hate reputation amongst fans, for me the master of the stare is a good choice. Obviously we currently have no idea the direction his character will take, but his low key style is well suited to the Blade Runner universe and should play well opposite the big man, Harrison Ford, who returns as Deckard. Having looked a bit ropey and fairly disinterested during The Force Awakens, the hope is that Ford can muster at least one final memorable performance during his franchise sequel grand tour (I doubt anyone has high hopes for Indy 5).
Supporting the lads up top is a solid line up, including House of Cards’ Robin Wright, The Animal Dave BautistaTM (who surprised the entire world with a decent turn in Guardians of the Galaxy), British lad Lennie James, and Jared Leto who, like him or loathe him, has the potential to fit right in. It’d be great to have Sean Young’s Rachel and Edward James Olmos’ Gaff back too, but you can’t have everything (unless their involvement is being kept a secret, in which case, yes please).
A composer for the modern age, Jóhann Jóhannsson is at the top of his game at the moment, meaning a high quality score is essentially a sure thing. Mirroring aspects of Roger Deakins’ involvement, Jóhannsson has collaborated with Villeneuve on numerous pictures, including Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival, and has demonstrated time and again that he knows how to compliment the director’s intense, sometimes frantic style. The ease with which he enhances emotional tension should do wonders for a production that has a tough act to follow in the form of Vangelis’ quite magnificent Blade Runner score.
The return of Blade Runner’s original writer, Hampton Francher, is another welcome addition to the production. He’s hardly been prolific over the years, but if he can reproduce the understated, mythical neo-noir aura of the first film to at least a healthy extent, then that’s a pretty good start. Co-writer Michael Green hasn’t written much in the way of epic sci-fi over the years, but his inclusion on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant hopefully means he’s good foil for Francher.
Just in case you needed further proof that everything is falling into place for a fricking legit Blade Runner flick…