Today we have the release of a very belated sequel.
I’m referring, if you haven’t paid attention to the headline above, to Blade Runner 2049, the Ryan Gosling starring vehicle -though Harrison Ford is back as well- of the 1982 film (duh) Blade Runner.
Which means this sequel comes an astonishing 35 years after the original movie’s release, which I believe is a new record. The previous record of the longest time between original movie and its sequel is, I do believe, 1982’s Tron to 2010’s Tron Legacy, something I’ve had on my mind very recently. To save you doing the math, that movie had 28 years between original and sequel.
I plan to catch the film in theaters as I am a fan of the original though I feel director Ridley Scott’s previous film to that, Alien, is a far better overall film.
Blade Runner was a difficult sell back in the day it was originally released. It was something way different from what many expected and was a murky, at times difficult film to understand. In some ways this was understandable. Director Ridley Scott was forced to add a “voice over”, which Harrison Ford reportedly couldn’t stand doing, to explain for audiences what was up.
The film wasn’t a terribly big success but over time the movie received second and third looks and, voila, people began to appreciate the movie more and more. In fact, things became so good for the film that Mr. Scott was given the unheard of until then chance to return to the film and “fix” it so that it more resembled the version he wanted.
That meant various versions, most of which did away with the voice over and included or cut certain scenes but, with the eventual release of the “Final Cut” of the film, we have what is likely the final word on it… though I personally don’t feel the “other” versions are so terrible they should be burned at the stake. Hell, I don’t even mind the Harrison Ford voice-over!
But when I watched the original Blade Runner a little while back, I noted something that always troubled me about it: The story presented was… slight. In fact, if you look at Blade Runner as a modern noir mystery, the mystery part is surprisingly slight. Here we have the police department going to Harrison Ford’s Deckard to find these lost Replicants as if he’s the only one capable of doing this type of dirty work -the classic “he’s the only one with the knack” archetype- and the way he goes about finding them is, let’s face it, something the police should have been able to do.
For example, he finds a snake scale -something the police should have found- in an apartment along with a photograph (which he does not much more than zoom in on) to get valuable clues to where those replicants are.
But here’s the thing: The movie uses a film noir/mystery to offer us a fascinating sci-fi mood piece/environment which influenced pretty much all futuristic movies that came afterwards.
In fact, so many movies were influenced by the visuals presented in Blade Runner (which, to be fair, was itself influenced by works such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis), that today’s audiences looking at the movie for the first time may have trouble finding it as great a film as others have. In fact, I recommend those who are fans of the film (or not) to check out this interesting article over at i09.com, a site dedicated to geek culture, which had two of its staffers see the film for the first time and react to it.
Anyway, as I said above, I do plan to catch Blade Runner 2049 sometime in the very near future, though the run time -two hours and forty some minutes!- does seem rather… long.
Still, as a fan of the original film and based on many of the good reviews, I’ll give it a look-see.