It’s been 35 years between Blade Runner films with the original being one of the most highly regarded by film buffs in it’s defining of the sci-fi film noir genre. But now the new film has hit cinemas does it stack up against the original?
Before we go too far the original Blade Runner is really good. And while there are multiple editions and cuts that do change how you feel about the ending if you haven’t seen the original you may want to before the new film. Consider this a spoiler warning because to talk about the new film we have to spoil the original.
The original film followed Blade Runner Deckard played by Harrison Ford. Set in a world where synthetic humans exist called replicants, these lab grown people are like a slave race in working in roles ranging from sex workers to miners. In the event that they go ‘bad’ a special type of police are used called Blade Runners who are part police/part bounty hunter.
Set in the far and futuristic year 2019 where off world exploration and colonisation has occurred a group of replicants go bad and Deckard is assigned the case as one more case before he retires.
The original film has been credited for many things, and has clearly influenced a lot of the key sci-fi films that we have have today that borrow from the same concepts such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Dark City. With Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator and about a million other things) returning to this world the new film picks up 30 years later in the year 2049.
From the trailer you may have taken away this is a movie continuing the story of Deckard, teaming up with a new Blade Runner. And while that is true for some part this 163 minute long movie (so 3 hours when you get trailers) really has Ryan Gosling in the centre stage with Deckard not being present for the majority of the movie.
One of the key things in the original was the concept of ‘is Deckard a replicant’, the new movie starts off letting us know very early on that Gosling’s character (who is a new Blade Runner) is a replicant. This being referenced multiple times and not subtle about it. This movie does follow the same recipe in making you wonder if instead about Gosling’s origin.
Following Gosling on yet another case, the film travels more of the world set in the first Blade Runner movie with there being global catastrophes between this and the first movie and letting us see how that has left permanent scars on the world. The film sticks to the film noir roots and while there are bouts of action this is really more of a detective story.
The film is visually stunning as you would expect and the special effects are there to support the story but that’s not to say the parts that are there are not very good too. The casting should also be appreciated with actors you will recognise out of everything from Guardians of the Galaxy to Halt and Catch Fire to the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot.
So should you go see it? If you love Ryan Gosling and have long for a return to Deckard’s world then absolutely. While seeing the original isn’t a must have to enjoy the film (and having gaps in the information may play up the mystery/detective side) the last 45 minutes of the film does reference a lot of events from the first. But if you are the sort that loves films that leave unanswered questions, then this should be added to your must watch list.
Blade Runner 2049 is in cinemas across Australia from today.