Sizing up the longawaited sequel
The current era of cinema may very well be marked by reboots and long-awaited sequels of beloved old franchises. Many of the year’s big movies fall under this category: It, Six Billion
Dollar Man, and Jumanji are all revivals and extensions of much older titles. But among this lot, the most promising is Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner. It’s taken 35 years for this follow-up to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi noir opus, which in itself is enough to put 2049 in the running to be among 2017’s biggest films.
The original Blade Runner was set in 2019, and was about a dystopian earth in which “replicants” or genetically engineered androids are created to work on human colonies on other planets. Some of these replicants occasionally manage to escape to earth, where they must be hunted down by police officers called “blade runners.” The new movie expands the same universe with the same general premises.
Simple math will tell you that the events of 2049 take place 30 years hence. Ryan Gosling stars this time around, as Officer K, a new blade runner who “unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos.” The revelation leads K to Rick Deckard (the main character of the first Blade
Runner, and a role reprised by Harrison Ford) who’s been missing since the events of the first movie (kind of like something Ford’s friend, Mark Hamill, did recently).
Apart from that, much of the plot has been kept under wraps up until the month before the film’s release. However, Warner Bros. did put out three “in-world” short films as teasers and background-setters for 2049. The first of the three, entitled 2036: Nexus Dawn, gave us a look at the antagonist: Scientist Niander Wallace (played by Jared Leto). It also showed that the production of replicants has been outlawed, but Wallace goes ahead and makes his own new replicants, which he insists will be perfectly obedient (yeah, sure).
2049 also stars Ana de Armas in what may turn out to be a breakout role; as well as Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Batista in his next big gig since playing Drax in Guardians of The
Galaxy. At the helm is director Denis Villeneuve, whose two most recent previous works were
Sicario and Arrival. Both were excellent and critically acclaimed films that displayed an incredible capacity for handling emotion and moral ambiguity. Arrival in particular was a beautiful and complex work of science-fiction cinema that proves Villeneueve worthy of Blade
Runner and its philosophical themes. Intimations of sequel (and even a prequel) have been floating around for almost 20 years now—some dating as far back as 1999, and some even considering Christopher Nolan for the director’s seat. None have panned out until now, which puts a lot of pressure on 2049. But based on everything we’ve seen so far, the new film looks equal to the task.
more human than human