Blade Runner 2049 Reboots Replicants Amid Sci-Fi Saturation

If high concept sci-fi, breathtaking CGI or wall-smashing action sequences are your thing, the official trailer for Blade Runner 2049 will deliver on all fronts. 

Photo credit: Indiewire

Scheduled for an October release, Denis Villeneuve injects the highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic with a winning combination of nostalgia and dystopia. The cast is in fine form with Ryan Gosling returning to his synth-driven, collar-popping ways from Drive, and Robin Wright in familiar territory with a brief but powerful appearance. It also doesn’t hurt that Harrison Ford looks decidedly more invested in this reboot than in his recent turn as a haggard Han Solo in The Force Awakens

Photo credit: Indiewire

An Atari logo adorns the skyscrapers of future Los Angeles in a Tron-esque palette, and the interiors of creepy Jared Leto’s android facility hold the same sparse geometry that made the design of Villeuve’s Arrival so alien. There are flavours of Ghost in the Shell’s Tokyo vibe without the accompanying cultural cringe, and the desert hues along with Gosling’s sweet shearling jacket thrust some Mad Max vibes into the mix. There’s a cheeky shot of Elvis that is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, and anyone still fangirling over Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will sharply inhale at Dave Bautista’s surprising appearance, whose character is still tightly under wraps. What could have been a disastrous Pinterest board of dry intertextual references becomes a rich pastiche that promises to lodge itself in modern pop culture.

Photo credit: NME

Compared to the original, Blade Runner 2049 blows the confines of grungy neo-noir LA to transport humans and replicants through farmsteads, forests, skyscrapers and mountains, all imbued with an artfully retro aesthetic. What doesn’t change is the awesome scope of symbolism, mystery and layered meaning that made the original so timeless. There’s no sign of unicorns yet, but that very absence probably means something too.

Blade Runner 2049 will be released October 5, 2017.