Yes, they weren’t kidding about making a sequel to Blade Runner, with the compelling name, Blade Runner 2049. They’re so convinced it exists, they’ve even released the first teaser trailer. Let’s observe:
Looks like we’ve got young guy Ryan Gosling searching out old guy Harrison Ford. Visually, not bad. I like the scary yellow future part of it. The city section looks shabbier and uglier than in Blade Runner, but that’s to be expected. Nowadays, filmmakers merely have CGI to work with. Back in the olden days, they built beautiful sets and models.
On top of that, as proven in Sicario and Arrival, director Denis Villeneuve subscribes to the modern digital aesthetic of bland, low lighting, where nothing pops, and foreground blends into background in a kind of soupy mush.
Not my favorite look, to say the least.
But look at all that yellow! Maybe he’s going to throw me a visual bone this time around.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
K, you say? Is this one based on Kafka?
Of course Deckard is still alive. People need their Harrison. So is he human? Villeneuve has recently said that he won’t be saying so one way or the other. He’s keeping the debate alive! Only what debate is that, exactly?
Beginning with the first of Ridley Scott’s director’s cuts, and in all subsequent minor tweakings he’s done, Deckard has a private vision of a unicorn. Connected with the unicorn origame at the end of the movie, the message is unambiguous: Deckard is a replicant. Pressed in interviews, Scott has said repeatedly that yes, this is how film works, this is why he put that shot in there, Deckard is a replicant.
So what’s the debate about? It boils down to this: Some people don’t LIKE that he’s a replicant. They point out that in the originally released version of the movie, he’s not a replicant. Harrison Ford has said he doesn’t think of Deckard as a replicant, and he’s argued the point with Scott. And Deckard is certainly not a replicant in Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Which all seem like odd attempts to argue something which, as presented in the versions of the movie everyone who watches it watches, is not debatable. We’re back to whether or not one likes Deckard being a replicant fueling the argument. So I suppose what Villeneuve is really saying is, “I don’t want to piss off any fans, no matter what they like, so I decline to have an opinion on the matter.”
The rest of the plot is being kept under wraps. What is this long-buried secret that Gosling unearths? Well. Rumors are out there. One has crept its way into the underground laboratories in which the mole people create the bulk of Stand By For Mind Control’s content, and it is this:
Gosling finds evidence of Rachael, long-dead, having had—wait for it—a baby. And not just any baby. A baby with Deckard. Now how, you might find yourself asking, do two replicants make a baby? How does even one replicant, if we go with Deckard being human, make a baby? What sort of baby is it? A replicant baby? What the hell would that mean? A human baby? Half human? Any way you play it, it feels a bit, oh, I don’t know. Silly, let’s say. It feels a bit silly.
Of course this is only a rumor. But it sounds like just the sort of thing that would happen in a sequel to a movie crying out to be just left the hell alone, doesn’t it? And if it’s true, you might start thinking, say, couldn’t Gosling’s character be about 30 years old? Thus making him the likely child of Rachael and Deckard? Meaning he’s on a search for himself? Egads. It all sounds terribly, terribly likely.
More than anything else this looks like Prometheus.
Filmmakers, like politicians, can never seem to resist going to the well just one more time. And, if they are constantly rewarded for it by a mind-numbed public who would rather revel in the past than forge an untold (and therefore frightening) future, I suppose there’s no reason not to.