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Chas’ Blog – A Classic Sci-fi Movie Revisited

Chas’ Blog – a classic sci-fi movie revisited


2049 – it is thirty years in the future from the opening of the original Blade Runner.   All of the characters of the original film were killed off with the exceptions of Deckard, Bat, and possibly Rachael.  After watching the film innumerable times through four (count ’em, 4) versions these characters are indelibly engrained on my consciousness whenever I  hear the title Blade Runner.  Since the international cut is essentially an unrated cut of the U.S. theatrical release an argument could be made for three versions which still ties the record of Oliver Stone’s Alexander.

Besides the characters there are so many other memorable aspects of the original film:  the superb cinematography of Jordan Cronenweth and the special photographic effects of Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer.  This was all done in pre-digital days and Trumball brought along his technique from the 70’s Close Encounters of the third kind.  Additionally the film score “composed, arranged, performed , and produced” by Vangelis  is wonderful and evocative…his contribution was likely the most digital aspect of the film.  Finally there were the personal contributions of Edward James Olmos  and Rutger Hauer :  Olmos researched for his Cityspeak dialogue when he first confronts Deckard in which I can hear fragments of three languages  and Hauer composed Batty’s farewell soliloquy is reminiscent  for me of Orson Welles’ ” cuckoo clock” monologue in The Third Man.   Even the ambiguity of the original was artful…what will happen to Rachael…is Deckard a replicant ?

At the beginning of this piece I swore that I wasn’t going to wax rhapsodic about the original film but I’m afraid I’ve run off the rails a bit… my apologies.  To the present film:  it is 35 years since the release of the original Blade Runner and film technology has come a long way since 1982.  I hope that imagination, script writing, and “happy accidents” of collaborative creativity along the lines of what I have described in my preamble  have advanced as well .  Advance publicity reveals that star Ryan Gosling enjoyed working with Harrison Ford on the film.  There is only a handful of directors I would look to for this project:  Christopher Nolan who has been otherwise occupied and  Denis Villeneuve who did last year’s acclaimed Arrival and 2015’s Sicario.   The cinematographer is Roger Deakins whose work is most prominent in the Coen Brothers movies …he has been Oscar -nominated a dozen times without yet winning.  The co-screenwriter is Hampton Fancher who co-wrote the original Blade Runner screenplay back in 1982. All in all… the auspices look good for Blade Runner 2049.