We first got a look at Blade Runner 2049 back in December, and that trailer had a lot of cryptic imagery and little dialogue or action. This trailer shows a whole lot more.
First off, what’s with the trend of having a seven second “mini-trailer” before the actual trailer? Stop doing that. Stop it!
This project has had a bumpy road since a script for a sequel was written in 1999. The film has bounced around being shelved, revived by Ridley Scott, and attached to a number of directors. Denis Villeneuve is now at the helm, fresh off a strong of strong successes, including Arrival, considered one of the best films of last year and one of the best sci-fi films of all time. Villeneuve has also been tapped to helm the rebooted Dune movie series.
So almost right off the start I had a problem with this. There’s some good imagery showing a building very reminiscent of Tyrell’s palace. A giant Atari logo lights familiar flying vehicles. But then Jared Leto starts talking, and perhaps it’s his awful Joker performance in Suicide Squad that is still throwing me off, but he seems to be way overacting here. To pile on, he is dressed like a blind Japanese monk, or perhaps more accurately: a hipster who hangs out in Chinatown too much. He monologues as a very stereotypical evil corporate type about slave labor, all the while stroking a newly born replicant.
After that there are some cool shots of giant buildings and the metropolis. Robin Wright, looking like she’s probably a police captain, talks about duty while staring into the rain, the reflection on her face a not so subtle reference to the end of the original movie.
Ryan Gosling, as LAPD Officer K, tracks Harrison Ford, returning as Rick Deckard, to what looks like a Cheeto filtered nuclear fallout zone. Buildings are sunk into the ground and a giant archway of two women leaning towards each other towers over Officer K. Deckard and K exchange a couple of words, confirming they share the same job, although Deckard is now retired (again).
Snowy mountains, cyberpunk bars, explosions, and ostentatious displays of plutocratic wealth make up the bulk of the rest of the trailer. Harrison Ford looks constipated a few times and Gosling practices paleontology by wiping away mud on a rock to reveal some writing. Leto continues his evil hipster monk act, there’s more explosions, more people flying in cars, and potential replicants looking emotionless. All you might expect from a cyberpunk action thriller.
The original Blade Runner (Final Cut only) is one of my favorite movies. I was very nervous about this project from the start. There’s no reason to add another chapter to this story. Anything that includes Deckard is going to take away from the mystique of the original. But when I saw Arrival, I became much more confident because of Villeneuve’s talents. The first trailer was pretty good but this one misses the mark on the whole. The imagery is good, but there’s a lot of bad dialogue and overacting, not to mention copious amounts of mindless action. The original movie was a slow paced neo-noir. This looks like an attempt to capture the Ghost In The Shell audience, a movie that flopped at the box office.
Scott, director of the original, is an executive producer on this and has been known to interfere in projects, especially when it comes to his own properties. He notably squashed District 9 director Neil Blomkamp’s planned sequel to Aliens.
I want this to be good, for the sake of the movie and the sake of good sci-fi movies. Villeneuve has a great track record and I have high hopes for his Dune films. If the Scott or the studio stick their fingers in too much, it may end up costing them.