The original Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and starring a young Harrison Ford, is widely considered to be the greatest example of the neo-noir sci-fi genre. The 1982 film’s dark, enveloping atmosphere, unique landscapes and characters, and complex scope has contributed to its status as a cult classic. The plot revolves around a weary Rick Deckard (Ford) – who hunts down android slaves in a smoky, dystopic future Los Angeles – as well as femme fatale Rachael (Sean Young), but soon elevates to a cosmic, panoramic critique of humanity, civilisation, love, and power over the individual.
Can the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, uphold the high standards of its forebear? Denis Villeneuve, who oversaw Sicario (2015) and, more importantly, last year’s Oscar-winning sci-fi thriller Arrival, directs though Ridley Scott serves as executive producer, and according to Variety, has significant power over the final cut of the film. Ford returns as Deckard, but it is alleged that his character doesn’t play a huge role in the film. Instead the reins are handed over to La La Land’s Ryan Gosling, who takes the central part of Officer K.
Plot details are thin, with the trailer refusing to divulge any major secrets, though the classic dystopian atmosphere – complete with vast, dusty landscapes and hover cars – returns. Set thirty years after the original, we see Jared Leto’s character Wallace producing a very slimy looking replicant, perhaps for labour or even battle. Deckard makes an appearance as the trailer shifts into a faster pace, showing off all the pyrotechnics one could ever need to get audiences’ pulses racing. Blade Runner 2049 does seem to have the same visual spectacle that the original offered, but can it deliver the legendary thematic complexity which made its forerunner stand out? We’ll have to wait until October 6th, 2017 to find out.