Was there really a need for a sequel to Blade Runner?
This is the question I have been asking myself for months, since the announcement of Blade Runner 2049. Question that I kept asking myself even after the first trailers, the revelations about the cast, the return of Harrison Ford in the role of Deckard, the arrival of the invitation for the preview. The question left me perplexed, after the Blade Runner Final Cut finale, it was all so perfect, concluded, it was useless to make a sequel that could have ruined what we saw in Scott's film. It was also true that Denis Villeneuve. he had charmed me with Arrival, and entertained me great with Sicario, so there was some good hope. The other hope was represented by Ryan Gosling as the protagonist, an actor never too praised.
The question gripped me until Monday, twenty-four hours before the preview, when I looked at the three shorts that cover the thirty years that have passed between Blade Runner and 2049 (you can find them between one paragraph and another of this umpteenth opinion of the belly ). The world based on the characters of Philip K. Dick's novel came to life in about 20 minutes, in two shorts directed by Scott's son, Luke, and about fifteen minutes of animated films. Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), after seeing them, I started to move something, as if they had grafted me a further doubt. What if there were other things to tell?Blade Runner (Final Cut)
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And so, with a lot of fear, but at the same time with the hope of seeing a great film directed by one of the most talented directors of recent years, I sat in the hall last Tuesday at 11, in Milan, to attend Blade Runner 2049.
Doubts and certainties
It is not possible for me to tell you the plot of Blade Runner 2049, if not focusing on what is already known from the trailers and the three short films we have already referred to. Thirty years have passed since the events of Ridley Scott's film and, after the total blackout that shut down all replicants, Neander Wallace (Jared Leto) managed to acquire the last buildings of the Tyrell Corporation, starting the production of new obedient replicants in 2036. Some old models, however, are still on the run, and there are still those who hunt them, the Blade Runner. THE'Agent K (Ryan Gosling) is a Blade Runner, and during a chase he will discover a secret capable of upsetting the current peace. I can not and I do not want to tell you more about the plot of 2049, so as not to ruin anything and above all because it fits perfectly as a sequel to the 82 film. Gosling convinces immediately, perfectly placed in the role of an agent who searches for his purpose throughout the duration of the film, creating empathy with the viewer. The basics of Leto's character are there, although it is not as thorough as K, it manages, in its small way, to carve out a credible space (also thanks to the short that you can see below).
The performance of the female actresses is also excellent, from a stupendous Ana de Armas (Trafficanti, Overdrive) to an impassive Robin Wright (House of Cards, Wonder Woman) to the lethal Sylvia Hoeks (The best offer), while a bolso Harrison Ford resumes in hand the role of Deckard so dear to fans of the science fiction genre. Where Villeneuve's film strikes, however, is in leaving intact any doubts left over from '82, not going to disturb any of the points of the original Blade Runner in any way, but rather by posing new puzzles and new considerations.
There are no unnecessary explanations in Blade Runner 2049
Villeneuve does not want us to forget Scott's Blade Runner, he rather wants to give us his vision of the world and fill it with other details that consequently expand it. It does not touch up any of the "rules" seen in 82, leaving the original intact and usable even without necessarily having to see the courts and 2049.
A game of atmosphereVisual Orgasm
The real strength of Blade Runner 2049, however, lies not in the plot and in the cast, but in all the aesthetics composed by the direction of Villeneuve, by the photography of Roger Deakins (The Wings of Freedom, Not a country for Vecchi, Skyfall) and the music composed by an indestructible Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch. These three aspects give life to the Noir atmospheres of 2049, each shot is a grace for the eyes, from the colors to the saturation, a visual miracle as it rarely happens. And the actors move perfectly within this scenario, between flying cars and advanced AI, giving what for all intents and purposes I would judge as a visual (and auditory) orgasm. It will not be surprising if next February 2049 it will pile up on candidates, especially on the technical side.
And so, after viewing, was there really a need for a sequel to Blade Runner?
It would be all too easy to say no. Because (especially in the Final Cut version) Scott's film is great on its own, perfectly concluding Deckard's adventure. But it was just as easy to "mince" everything with 2049, which the good Villeneuve fortunately did not do. The director fully collects Scott's legacy, respects it and proposes his vision of the noir world, playing everything with the atmosphere. It doesn't try to match the original. He wants his own identity.
And this is an immense strength of the film.
Pure aesthetics, this is Blade Runner 2049. An excellent sequel, probably not perfect, but capable of keeping you glued to the chair and make you jump on more than one occasion. So trust Villenueve and let yourself be transported into 2049, we are sure that, at least your eyes, will thank you.