'Blade Runner 2' Has One Slim Shot at Being Legit

The Los Angeles of the distant future must be built by hand.

A Blade Runner sequel is a terrible idea for a myriad of reasons. It’s happening anyway. Any profanities screamed into the void are futile. The only chance it has at being special in its own right is the talent Blade Runner 2 has already assembled — and the potential that they will embrace the old-school aesthetic of the towering original.

Harrison Ford is back, for better or worse. These days he’s cruising the senior circuit and hasn’t been interested in a movie he’s made for at least a decade. What is intriguing thus far is the hiring of Denis Villeneuve to direct and Ryan Gosling to star alongside Ford. The great Roger Deakins is slated to do the cinematography. This is all promising. What will be ignored, almost certainly, are the practical effects that gave the original Blade Runner its captivating textural environment.

A recent photo gallery highlighting the intensely intricate details of Blade Runner’s sets and props is jaw-dropping. The Tyrell Corporation’s deified pyramid headquarters is especially captivating. These sorts of miniatures and models are relics in the CGI-saturated Hollywood of today. Building future worlds on hard drives is a taxing and detail-oriented endeavor, sure. But it never quite matches the physical, nurturing, hands-on attention to every detail.

The texture of a dystopian future world built with miniatures and models is impossible to replicate via Macbook. Perhaps Villeneuve and his effects crew will recognize the importance of the tangible over the technologically enhanced. If not, Blade Runner 2 may arrive as mush from a monitor. Without the physical influence, even the top actors and directors and cinematographers can go only so far.

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