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Why 'Blade Runner 2' Will Be Great (and Why It Won't)

The first official artwork from the Blade Runner sequel no one asked for has been revealed. This latest development has once again stirred mixed feelings in fans of the original (like me), causing both hope and dread. Help me work through my issues as I consider why the film will, in fact, be a worthy successor to a sci-fi classic... or an unmitigated disaster.

 

Harrison Ford is back...

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I have to admit, seeing Ford return as Indiana Jones in 2008 and Han Solo in 2015 made me very happy. He still has a charm, a swagger, and a toughness that few actors possess. Seeing a a vulnerable, ambivalent Rick Deckard, both wizened and worn down by the years, could be a fascinating character study by a talented actor.

...but only at the end.

Ridley Scott told Variety in 2014 that Ford would appear only in the "third act" of the film—roughly the final half-hour.

 

Ridley Scott is back...

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The man directed Blade Runner, Alien, and The Martian. Some of the greatest, and even most realistic, science fiction films ever made. Thelma & Louise and Gladiator were pretty great, too. And he's endorsed this new film.

...but only as producer.

Instead of Scott, we get Denis Villeneuve, who directed Sicaro and Prisoners. Were those any good? You tell me.

 

The concept art looks cool...

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...but it's not by Syd Mead.

The "visual futurist," who changed how we imagined the 21st century with his stunningly grim concept art for the original film, is still alive. He worked on recent movies like Elysium and Tomorrowland. You'd think he'd be the obvious choice for the sequel, but no reports show him having any involvement.

 

It stars Ryan Gosling...

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He's done great, emotional, dramatic work in Blue Valentine and Drive, and a number of independent films. It will be interesting to see such an actor navigate the high-tech, morally ambiguous world of Blade Runner.

...but it stars Ryan Gosling.

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Gosling also played goofball characters in Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Big Short, and The Nice Guys. Even at his most serious, he seems to have a smirk on his face that some—not me—might want to punch. Blade Runner is not a place of silliness; if any of Gosling's grimaces peek through, it will ruin the mood.

 

We'll get to see the future of Blade Runner's future...

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We saw the world of 2019. What could it possibly look like in, say, 2049? Will technology have completely overtaken humanity? Will the rain and pollution and darkness be even worse? Will there be a glimmer of hope of salvation in the form of some new gadget or drug? Did a lot of people believe the original film's advertisement that "A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies" and leave the planet entirely? What would that mean for those left behind?

...but who cares?

One of the best things about Blade Runner is that, aside from the Replicants, it didn't rely on technology. There were no smartphones or portable computers. No self-driving cars. No miracle drugs. No virtual reality. The cars flew, the phones had video, and you could somehow navigate three-dimensionally through a photograph. That kept the focus on the plot, the characters, and the mood. Instead of robots beeping or phones ringing, parts of the film are filled with silence, or with only Vangelis' haunting score. There's really no way to top that. Siri and self-driving cars and Google Glass just don't feel like Blade Runner to me.

 

...and there's no composer yet.

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Speaking of Vangelis, the film's IMDb page doesn't list anyone associated with the film's music. The sound of the film is almost as important as the look. If Vangelis returns, that's one more reason to hope. If not, that's one more reason to worry.

How do you feel about the Blade Runner sequel? Tell me in the comments.

Photos: FameFlynet, NikolasforWiki


Jason ginsburg

Jason Ginsburg

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