My girl and I recently saw Deni Villeneuve’s latest film Arrival. It was smart science fiction done perfectly right. I have SO been missing smart sci-fi. With all the stupid shit that I get subjected to all the time in big blockbusters, it is just awesome that I saw a science fiction film that isn’t just shit blowing up and people killing people. In fact, the killing in the movie is treated as something that should be seen off-screen. He wanted to make the movie about the characters that it’s happening to. I love this guy’s movies. He takes complicated themes and applies them to kinds of films that we’ve seen a million times. Granted, they aren’t for everyone, but he doesn’t shy away from that. When I heard that there was going to be a sequel to Blade Runner, I was so fucking nervous. I mean, there are so many ways that that could be fucked up. Since Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time, my nerves were piqued. But then I heard who is directing it, and I saw Arrival. Now I know that it is in perfect hands. You couldn’t ask for better.
Got to thinking – maybe Arrival was Denis trying his hands at sci-fi. Like, he wanted to see what he could do with a story that is as overdone as it gets, just to see if he could tackle a film that is slow, methodical, and filled with all kinds of subtext. He nailed it, and because he nailed it once, I am positive that he can do the first film justice. They have released a teaser trailer, and this is all I am going to be watching of the trailers that are released, because this was all I needed to see to get interested in seeing where the story goes.
We open with a scene of the dismal gray of the world. Since the original film borrowed so much from noire style, I like that this movie is making sure to remind us that they haven’t forgotten that. We then get to see a very orange world. Where is this? The film doesn’t up and tell us that, which is all for the better. Maybe one of the off-world colonies? That honestly would be pretty sick. Our protagonist is approaching some dilapidated structure. Already we are seeing subtlety. Did you notice the door to the building that our protagonist enters? Above them there is some writing. It’s Korean. That’s just awesome! Since the street language from the original film was an amalgamation of various languages, it’s kind of cool that the building that this guy enters has Korean on it. Villeneuve is already all over making this feel right.
Our protagonist is played by Ryan Gosling. Excellent. After watching Drive, I know that he’s the perfect pick for a movie like this. He can do slow plotting and subtle acting. He’s one of those actors who really gets into a role. Can’t wait to see how he acts off of Harrison Ford. Speaking of, we get to hear our favorite Blade Runner! Yay! And he doesn’t look medicated! My biggest problem throughout ALL of The Force Awakens was how Ford looked like he couldn’t possibly care less about being in that film. Now he actually looks like he gives a fuck. This can only mean good things. Villeneuve is something if a deranged perfectionist, so the way I see it, if Ford was willing to stick this out, it meant something to him. Either that or the studio held a gun to his head and threatened a lawsuit if he didn’t comply. But I’d like to think that he did it because he wanted to.
There are so many questions. In the original film, the assumption was that Deckard was a replicant. The theory is that all Blade Runners are. They create replicants to hunt other replicants. It’s a twisted reality. So, since replicants have a life span, what’s the story with him? What has happened since the events of the original film? Gosling’s character says that things were “so much simpler back then.” I take it that the replicant situation has gone more than a little out of control. It was hinted that that was the inevitable result of using cloned people to do the dirty work that no one wanted to do. That some kind of violent uprising was inevitable. What’s happened? Since it is Villeneuve working on the film, I know that there are some amazing answers that will be coming.
We leave the orange-tinted world that Deckard is in, and go back the rainy city. A reminder to us that it is in the world of Blade Runner? I suppose. But the real treat is getting to hear a snippet of that iconic theme as the title comes up. Font and all, this is so perfect. I cannot wait to see where this goes. Next October can’t come fast enough.
9 out of 10