Sunday, 1 January 2017

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: BLADE RUNNER 2049


It is a new year, and I am already having the first few fears for the future, by which I mean Friday 6th October.

17. “I did your job once. I was good at it.”

01/01/2017
There was a time when “Blade Runner” used to be the future, but it was released in 1982, and 2019 is now approaching. Whether it is a need to continue exploring the future, or whether it is nostalgia for the past, that means we will have a “Blade Runner 2049,” I won’t really know until the film comes out – with the original director, scriptwriter and star involved, I want to believe it is the former, but I am sure the latter is why we are even talking about it.

The mix of past, present and future in the world of “Blade Runner” was designed to be alienating, implying a tension between the world being left behind, and what was to come. However, the film has also become a key work in postmodern discourse, due to its playing with both style, time and the nature of authenticity. It also became a prime influence on cyberpunk, with William Gibson’s novel “Neuromancer” not coming until 1984.


But postmodernism and cyberpunk are now periods of art, implying they have both ended. They remain concepts that can be drawn upon, just as “Blade Runner” took from film noir, and the later “Battlestar Galactica” and “Ghost in the Shell” series borrowed from “Blade Runner.” As prophetic as it was in its time, taking references from it imply it has been set in time too, making another layer of the onion of popular culture… or something like that.

So, “Blade Runner 2049” is an exercise in the same process started by the first film, but it is also borne of a desire to see the same world seen before. I have read the world’s climate will be out of control in the new film, making for a more dystopian feel, but that just makes it fit in with all the other dystopian science-fiction films that have been made… since 1982. This latest work must avoid becoming another one for the pile, whether they have Ryan Gosling eating noodles in the pouring rain or not.

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