1982 was a long time ago. Still, one slice of cinematically gorgeous neo-noir from that year still stands tall in the sci-fi genre: Ridley Scott's dystopian classic Blade Runner. The film, adapted from Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? novel, battled against initially perplexed reviews upon its release to eventually become one of those movies that film buffs will definitely judge you for not having seen.
Just last year, Blade Runner was named an "essential" sci-fi film by none other than former POTUS Barack Obama. "It asks what it means to be human," Obama told Wired last year. So yeah, to say the absolute least, the pressure is on for Blade Runner 2049 to avoid the shittiness that so often envelops sequels. But do fans really have anything to worry about? Probably not, and here's why:
The director has never made a bad movie.
Though Blade Runner 2049 won't see the return of director Ridley Scott, the guy who's at the helm instead is also a proven master of brain-challenging cinema. In last year's excellent Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Denis Villeneuve brought Eric Heisserer's screenplay (based on Ted Chiang's short story) to satisfyingly symmetrical heights. Arrival landed a slew of Oscar nominations at this year's ceremony, including Best Picture and Best Director. Other entires in Villeneuve's increasingly stacked filmography include Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, and Best Foreign Language Film nominee Incendies.
The entire cast is pretty fucking great.
In all fairness, we could just say "Harrison Ford" and leave it at that. But Ford is far from alone in Blade Runner 2049, as Ryan Gosling—judging from the glimpses we've seen so far—is clearly just as much the star of this sequel as Ford. Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Dave Bautista, Carla Juri, and Jared Leto are also along for Villeneuve's journey. Keep hating Leto's Joker all you want, as Suicide Squad was definitely not very good. But Leto still has what it takes to turn in a great performance:
The timing is perfect.
Ford has been reviving classic characters left and right in recent years. He brought Han Solo back to the big screen in The Force Awakens in 2015, and is set to give Indiana Jones the same treatment in 2019. Why not give Rick Deckard a chance? Also, the dystopian landscape of the original Blade Runner may as well be everyone's backyard by now, as almost nothing is going mankind's way.
There will be no PG-13 nonsense.
PG-13 might as well be a death sentence for art. Thankfully, Blade Runner 2049—like its 1982 predecessor—will be rocking a much-needed R rating instead. Villeneuve told Screen Daily in December that his producers were having fun reminding him that Blade Runner 2049 will go down as "one of the most expensive R-rated independent feature films ever made." But don't worry, producers. That's money well spent.
Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters Oct. 6.