So here’s a new featurette for Blade Runner 2049, featuring lots of new footage and a completely new take on the film, even though it hasn’t appeared in theaters yet.

 

First of all, I’m so glad Scott isn’t directing. I’m glad someone who isn’t old and tired and trying to reclaim the vanity of his youth isn’t in the helmer’s chair, whereas Denis Villeneuve, who is tackling the sequel to Scott’s 1984 masterpiece, is youngish and already has several justified successes under his belt, from Sicario to Enemy to Prisoners.

Is Villeneuve the right guy to helm the project? I don’t know. I know he has talent, and raw tons of it. I know he’s waited patiently for the chance to cut his teeth on some big-budget mainstream Hollywood fair. I know Blade Runner is odd enough, with its scintillating cityscapes, emotionally gyrating monologues,  and non-human antagonists. So there’s an intersection I think between Villeneuve’s aim, and the film’s reach,and I think the two are commensurate in that particular department, if you will.

What worries me? The writing. Do Hapton Francher and Will Green, the film’s screenwriters, have the mojo to craft scenes similar to Rutger Hauer’s famous monologue? I seriously doubt it. Better off to have Damon Lindelhof do the the dialogue instead. Quite simply those two are unproven, and why they were chosen I do not know. I’d rather have Scott himself write the screenplay. At least he’s familiar with the world he helped establish.

What else worries me? Can Ryan Gosling carry this film? Again, I don’t know. He’s carried films before, such as Drive and Fracture, and La La Land and The Notebook. So he has the chops, I guess to carry the payload, but can he deliver for this particular film? Again, that’s a big question. Ford is too old, for sure, to have carried the lead, so a new man was needed. And they chose Gosling. At least he doesn’t have toothpick in his mouth for this particular outing.

Everything else looks, in a word, good. I like the minimal CGI, the practical effects, I like how the world looks more run down and under-evolved from the first outing. I love the use of colors and jarring palette for a neon-edged megacity on the verge of despair.

So we will see soon enough not whether Villeneuve has the brains to properly orchestrate  the film’s mechanics, of that I am sure, but whether Gosling can carry this production as well as Harrison once did in another finer generation, but more importantly, whether or not Francher and Green wrote a white hot mess instead of a lyrical visual poem, per the first one.

 

 

EDIT: I was just informed in the comments that Hampton Francher helped write the original screenplay, so despite the fact he’s 78 and probably not of full faculty, as are few people his age, there falls part of my gripes about the writing.

In my defense, I have more to do in life than ape IMDb, and you learn something new every day. Ain’t it cool?

Here’s hoping Francher still has ‘it’ and Blade Runner 2049 is as good as it can be, all things considered.