Brow Beat

Blade Runner 2049 Will Keep the One Part of the Original Movie Everyone Hates

The first trailer from the Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, has been released, and while it leaves a lot of questions unanswered—among them, “Why are they making a sequel to Blade Runner?”—it does reveal that 34 years is not enough time to learn the most important lesson of the original movie: No one likes the voice-over. After a nigh-infinite proliferation of director’s cuts and final cuts and no-really-we-mean-it-this-time cuts, all of which dumped the soft-boiled expository narration added at the studio’s insistence to the film’s initial release, the first glimpse of the sequel opens with shots of a trenchcoated figure walking down steam-choked city streets, and the familiar drone of Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard on the soundtrack, repeating a line from the original movie: “Replicants are like any other machine. They’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.”

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Before you have time to question that benefit/hazard duality, the teaser moves on to a compressed version of a single scene, where Ryan Gosling’s replicant hunter meets up with an aged Deckard in a decrepit building surrounded by red sand. (It is Mars? Or the “offworld colonies” advertised in the original movie?) Gosling’s Officer K—apparently a big Kafka fan—finds a piano in the wreckage, as required by law, plays a single note on the keyboard, and then Deckard steps from the shadows. “I did your job once,” he says. “I was good at that.” “Things were simpler then,” Gosling responds, and while simpler is not a word anyone would use to describe the original Blade Runner, the line would seem to indicate new director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and co-screenwriter Michael Green are going to add at least a veneer of 21st-century sophistication to the mix. (The original movie’s Hampton Fancher shares screenplay credit and co-wrote the story with original director Ridley Scott.) Further details of the movie, which is scheduled to open in October 2017, are being kept under wraps, but we do know that cast also includes Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Jared Leto and that the oft-debated question of whether Deckard is a replicant will play a significant role.

And we know that no matter what happens, Deckard will be there to explain it all in a disinterested monotone that sounds like it was cobbled together by someone who really liked The Maltese Falcon when he watched it that one time. Ford said of the original movie that he ”went kicking and screaming’’ to the studio to record the voice-over, which he hated. No word yet on how much kicking and/or screaming was involved this time.

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