There’s not a lot you can say about the new “Blade Runner,” except that it’s even better than the original, which is considered one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time.
What Ridley Scott built in the first movie, director Denis Villeneuve turns into another masterpiece. You can shuffle through whatever phrases you’d like: tour de force, pièce de résistance, the Ford Awakens.
I’ll try to get a bit more specific, but everything from the first scene to the last is a spoiler. There’s even a little text on screen just setting up exposition that I’d love to tell you about, but nah. If I said anything, Warner Bros. would own my life or something. I’m not exactly sure.
The studio is so anxious about potential spoilers getting out that it made critics at the screening sign an NDA. From my experience, that’s atypical. But I just signed my life away like it was an iTunes service agreement because who has time to read those? I have to jam to sick beats immediately. After the screening and the NDA, the publicist then followed up with a phone call to additionally tell me everything I couldn’t talk about in interviews with the cast.
I got my call while at Cracker Barrel. They have breakfast all day, so they have me all day. I learned pretty quickly that when a heated game of checkers is going on behind you and the lemonade’s a-flowin’, it’s pretty hard to hear there. Thankfully, I already knew what couldn’t be discussed: Everything.
Speaking with Harrison Ford and Jared Leto, they also couldn’t really say much about the movie. The iTunes agreement must’ve gotten to them, too. Though, their reactions were effusive.
Ford told me he was “delighted” over the film and would later tell Build Series host Ricky Camilleri it’s “fucking awesome.” Leto said the screenplay was “absolutely mind-blowing.”
“It was an incredible script. I was so happy they were making another one regardless of if I was in it or not,” said Leto.
The official synopsis tells us:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Thanks for nothin’, Warner Bros. That’s barely even setting it up.
Though, after watching the movie, it’s clear why they want the secrecy. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone, anyway. A movie like this doesn’t come along often. It’s not Cracker Barrel breakfast.
What I can say is this new tale makes the original feel more like a prologue. It’s necessary backstory ― you know, being one of the best sci-fi films ever ― but it’s still backstory, leading to what we get in “2049.”
The performances are excellent across the board. Gosling, Ford, Leto, Robin Wright and Ana de Arma are all brilliant, but perhaps the real star is Villeneuve’s dystopian Los Angeles.
The first “Blade Runner” was known for stunning visuals of a high-tech yet dilapidated future. “2049” carries on this idea with a mesmerizing color palette presented by Villeneuve and production designer Dennis Gassner. Flashy, futuristic advertisements beg for your attention, while the ominous lighting at Niander Wallace’s (Leto) facilities sets a perfectly menacing tone for a practical reason. Wallace himself is visually impaired. It’s not just dark to be cool.
As Avril Lavigne once said, “It’s more punk to tell people you’re not punk than to sit there and say that you are punk.”
That’s so punk.
At the core of the film is the same question raised in the first “Blade Runner” and at the center of the Philip K. Dick novel that inspired it: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” aka “What does it mean to be human?”
In the world of “Blade Runner,” replicants are “retired” not murdered, so you’ll be pondering that a lot.
Ford knows all about it. The humanity of his own character, Rick Deckard, has been open to interpretation and speculated on since the first film, which Ford says “indicates the quality of the discourse.”
If Leto had his way, that question would continue into the future.
“For me, ‘Blade Runner’ is ’Star Wars.’ It’s that expansive. It’s a universe I hope that they expand upon and tell more stories from,” said Leto.
Roy Batty’s (Rutger Hauer) famous speech from the end of the original “Blade Runner” reminds us how some moments can be lost in time. Don’t expect that to happen with “2049.”
“Blade Runner 2049” hits theaters Oct. 6.