The original Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s 1982 science fiction masterpiece, opens with skyscrapers belching smoke and flames into the Los Angeles night. It’s 2019. (We’re now just two years out from Scott’s dystopian future.) The scene cuts to a green-blue eye, the urban sprawl reflected back out at the screen.
The latest trailer for Arrival director Denis Villeneuve’s long-anticipated sequel Blade Runner 2049, begins in a similar manner—after a quick, flashy montage of all the action to come, it cuts, silently, to a green-blue eye peering out at the audience. It’s still California, only now, it’s 2049, in the wake of some ecological catastrophe. (The environment didn't seem to be doing all that hot in the original, for that matter.) The new trailer, which debuted Monday, charts its own course from there, developing the new cast of characters to which we were introduced in the first trailer. There’s the blade runner-cop, K, played by Ryan Gosling, who tracks down Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard, and Jared Leto, playing the kind of unhinged super-villain he now excels at. His name is Wallace. Robin Wright also puts in an appearance, as do Dave Bautista and Sylvia Hoeks, who are probably both replicants. Hoeks, in particular, looks a whole lot like Sean Young’s character in the original film.
Like the original, the new Blade Runner is saturated with color and mood—this time, thanks to cinematographer Roger Deakins. “The climate has gone berserk and the ecosystem has collapsed and the ocean has risen,” Villeneuve told Entertainment Weekly earlier this month. “There are a lot of refugees trying to survive on the West Coast.” (The scenes of burnt orange and yellow, he added, are essential, he just couldn’t say why.) And like the original, Blade Runner 2049 is all about its charismatic leading man: Ryan Gosling, perhaps the closest thing to this generation’s Harrison Ford and a parallel that’s only underlined with Gosling taking up the Blade Runner legacy.
Blade Runner 2049’s second trailer offers just enough more intel on the film, out in October, to feel like an upgrade. And indeed, everything is upgraded: a new blade runner, a new villain, even a new generation of replicants. Where Blade Runner’s Los Angeles was drenched in a constant drizzle, 2049 seems plagued by constant, fallout-like snowfall. There are definitely some looks—as Ana de Armas's brief appearance demonstrates, Raf Simons forecast it well when he presented vinyl outerwear and leather jumpsuits. There are explosions and chases and apparently even a knife fight or two. But it’s not clear we’re any closer to understanding what, exactly, is going on.
I just can’t wait to hear what weird torment Jared Leto subjected Ryan Gosling et al. to in the course of method acting this particular role.
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