Blade Runner is one of the most influential sci-fi films of the last thirty years, building off the dirt-and-muck aesthetic of Star Wars and the headier, more philosophical engine of 2001: A Space Odyssey. So it’s only natural, in our current nostalgia-driven culture, that a beloved classic be revisited for the twenty-first century. We now have our first look at a sequel, Blade Runner 2049 and it’s very orange. So orange. It’s the most orange. There can be none more orange.
The color saturation is cranked Mad Max: Fury Road, and director Denis Villeneuve is showing off some eerie future-scapes that will give this movie a claim to being more than just a branding exercise for a studio struggling with its franchises. (Warner Brothers just sacked their development chief less than a year after he signed a three-year extension, but sure, everything is fine over there.) Ryan Gosling takes over as the lead, with Harrison Ford coming back as Deckard. Old Indy, old Han, now old Deckard—we keep making Ford play elderly versions of his most beloved characters. No wonder he’s so grumpy: We’re constantly reminding him of his mortality. (Also, I don’t think we actually needed to see any of these characters age.)
Who knows what the plot is about. Ryan Gosling is hunting Deckard, it’s implied they’re the same, so same song, different verse, as it goes. It looks good, I guess? It certainly looks very pretty. Villeneuve knows how to compose a shot. And I like Gosling + Ford, in theory. The Gos can be so f*cking precious, and Ford has no time for that actory sh*t, so it will be fun to see how they play off each other. But Blade Runner is a film that has never felt like it needed to be revisited, especially given how many alternate cuts are commercially available of the original. The beauty of Blade Runner is the mystery and the debate. It’s the open ending. I’m okay with a sequel that builds on that mystery—is he or isn’t he. I’m not okay with a sequel that offers a definitive answer. (Lainey: ummmm…what if you’re one of those people who’s never seen the original? Do you need the mystery or not?)