When Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep hit cinemas in 1982, it divided both critics and fans of Dick’s work.
A neo-noir science fiction film, Blade Runner’s depiction of a dystopian Los Angeles was both beautiful and nightmarish, portraying a future of neon drenched city streets and industrialised landscapes. Famous for it’s retro-fitting of a Warner Brothers back lot, the design of the film is legendary along with the stories of its troubled production.
Since it’s initial underwhelming release, Blade Runner has gone on to become one of the most influential and iconic films of all time. With no less than 7 versions of the film in circulation, culminating in the ‘Final Cut’ released in 2007, Blade Runner still feels fresh and relevant 35 years on. From Vangelis’ pitch perfect scoring to futurist Syd Mead’s inspired designs and Ridley Scott’s distinctive direction and style, what you have is an arthouse detective story like no other.
As a self-confessed obsessive fan of the film, and someone who has watched it more times than he can remember (I screened it every night on my laptop whilst travelling around New Zealand in our makeshift camper, which was just a van with a mattress and bin bag blackout curtains), the idea of a sequel, to me, was non-existent. The film was perfect in my eyes, so a sequel was unnecessary. I grew up with the version that featured a voiceover, but felt equally satisfied when it was removed, and to me the story finished where it needed to.
So when I heard rumours that a sequel was in the pipeline, my initial reaction was “WHYYYYYY GOD OF BIOMECHANICS WHYYYYYYYYYY???”.
Months passed, I managed to calm down a bit, and as rumour became fact and more details were released, I kept an open, if somewhat apprehensive, mind.
When Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s name was mentioned as a possible director and British cinematographer Roger Deakins joined the project, my apprehension turned to hopefulness as these were 2 artists whose work I respected.
Villeneuve has built up an impressive portfolio of work; Incendies(2010), Prisoners(2013), Enemy(2013), Sicario(2015) and one of 2016’s best films Arrival(2016).
Roger Deakins frequently works with the great Coen brothers and is one of the true great cinematographers working today.
Still, with all this great talent involved including Ryan Gosling, and the return of Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard, how do you follow up such a stylistically unique and enduring masterpiece?
As a fan of the original, I don’t want a rehash of what came before but I need it to feel like a continuation. The world that Ridley Scott created should be apparent but needs to feel progressed (or regressed) somehow, depending on where the story goes. And then there’s the music, how do you compete with arguably one of the greatest scores of all time? Tasked with this unenviable job is Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson who has worked with Villeneuve before on a number of projects, and who I feel is the right man for the job.
So it seemed to me like all the right people were being brought in to work on this, and then the teaser trailer for Blade Runner 2049 was released…..
They appear to have nailed the aesthetic and design, keeping it familiar but fresh. The music too resembles what came before but is different enough to feel new. The trailer gives little away but enough to get me excited, very, very excited.
Roll on October……
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