Monday, 8 May 2017

Blade Runner 2049 - Trailer Review

The main conflict of interest I had going into this trailer was whether or not it would have the feel of a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’ or come across more like a Denis Villeneuve movie, which isn’t exactly a bad choice to have. Despite assuring myself that it could only come across as one or the other the trailer for the upcoming ‘Blade Runner 2049’ actually does achieve both. There is an undeniable essence of ‘Blade Runner’ to be found within the DNA of this trailer, one that promises to build upon the themes of the original in what will hopefully be a unique way. At the same time though it still resembles a movie Villeneuve (the finest director of this decade) would bring forth, especially since his ambition as a storyteller only seems to be growing by the year, going from small scale thrillers like ‘Prisoners’ to the existential minefield that is ‘Arrival’.

I suppose if anything it stands as a testament to how perfect this matching of director and source material was. This trailer nails to visual aesthetic of ‘Blade Runner’ through its set design, props and entire mood. It is still very much rooted within the neo-noir, steam punk roots from which it was conceived. Just these few select shots feel intrinsically linked to Ridley Scott’s world but never directly imitating it.

There are also a number of arresting and provocative shots within the trailer, from the gruesome Replicant “birth” to the burning structure set against the bleak midday. None of this should really come as a surprise though. Not only do we have Villeneuve at the helm but he is reteaming with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins to bring this vivid world to life. Every image has the energy and vibrancy of any distinct science fiction landscape but also the grim social structure that  is so distinctly ‘Blade Runner’.

But as I said we always knew it was going to look pretty. What of the film as a whole? Well from the trailer it is hard to tell. We get a sense of each cast member’s role and how the character they are portraying fits into the world. As the mysterious Officer K, Gosling seems very detatched and withdrawn just from the trailer alone, similarly to how Deckard’s character was defined when we last saw him. Jared Leto seems to play a part in manufacturing the Replicants, Robin Wright is in some kind of commanding position and Dave Bautista is playing a big strong guy, figures.

Mind you, Bautista’s role could play into another shot we see in the trailer, or at least have a link to it. Years ago Ridley Scott once described an intended sequence in a possible ‘Blade Runner’ successor that had been conceived from a repurposed scene cut out of the original movie. In said sequence Deckard arrives at an outpost in pursuit of a fugitive, but triggers a trip wire and proceeds to engage in a brawl with a large and muscle bound adversary. Two shots in the trailer suggest this sequence may have been repurposed again, even if the lighting suggests they could be two different locations it is encouraging to know they are hand picking ideas that have been long in the making.

I’ll be the first to admit that some of the dialogue feels somewhat contrived and based souley on the trailer alone one could be forgiven the movie might play into your standard cause, conflict, climax structure. But Villeneuve seems too smart of a filmmaker to fall into those traps, and I’m confident he can deliver something very special in this. I’ll try my best from this point onwards not to watch anymore trailers for ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and even if I do I won’t be taking an in depth look at them. More than any other upcoming movie this year, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ is something I want to experience first-hand, in all its glory.

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