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Blade Runner 2049's Three Prequel Shorts. Excited Yet?

What’s good? My name is Salim Garami. You may have read my stuff at Movie Motorbreath under my initials, STinG, where I sometimes participated in Nathaniel's "Best Shot" series. I’m happy to be here writing my very first post for The Film Experience.

What better way to introduce myself than to explore one of my favorite movies of all time Blade Runner and its imminent follow-up Blade Runner 2049. This week has been filled with whoppers of new revelations on the sequel - from director Denis Villeneuve saying the theatrical 163-minute version is his final cut to the late great David Bowie being the original choice for apparent antagonist Niander Wallace or the initial responses from advance screenings, some even suggesting it surpasses the original. 

All of these stories - as well as my recent positive turnaround on Villeneuve in consideration of his last three films - are more than enough to keep me anticipating rather than dreading the science fiction extravaganza...

I've swallowed my apprehensions (like how I’d prefer a story that didn’t revolved around Harrison Ford’s Deckard, the sudden replacement of composer Johann Johannsson with Hans Zimmer, or the length -- nearly three hours?).

Much like the last time producer Ridley Scott returned to one of his canonical sci-fi works as a director - Prometheus and Alien: Covenant - he has arranged for the marketing of the new film (which he only produced this time) to feature multiple short films establishing how far the world has come between the sequels and their predecessors. For Blade Runner 2049, three were produced.


These two which were directed by Ridley's son Luke - 2036: Nexus Dawn and 2048: Nowhere to Run - feel expository in a clunky way, but the former shows an interesting design with its minimalistic and messy bureaucratic presentation (reminiscent of Franz Kafka’s The Trial, which Ryan Gosling’s character name Agent K only compounds) and the latter provides a great spotlight for Dave Bautista’s talent as a dramatic actor.

The animated third short (which dropped yesterday on anime site Crunchyroll) 2022: Black Out by Cowboy Bebop creator Watanabe Shinichiro is no less expository or inorganic (it’s the only one that uses title cards) but its visual scale won me over. It portrays the devastating terror attack that led to Replicants being outlawed. Watanabe’s switch between artifacted footage-esque black and white animation of brutality, choppily and sweeping flashbacks of wartime, and smooth, metropolitan urban landscapes of blue and black is nothing short of fantastic visual eye candy doubling as stylistic storytelling. It’s easily the best of the three.

What do you guys think about the shorts as individual works? How about as advertisements for the upcoming film? Are you excited or fearful to see Blade Runner 2049


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Reader Comments (7)

Thanks for posting these. It's unfortunate that you have to download an app to watch the anime. I am not ready to be bossed around by machines, and I can't wait to see the new movie. Blade Runner is one of my favorites and a major influence on aesthetics.

September 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJono

@Jono - Yeah, if there's one thing we're to learn from Blade Runner, it's that if you gives those machines an inch and they'll crush your eyes out, man!

Black Out IS worth the watch if you ever find an opportunity to do so, though.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSTinG

Hi Salim and welcome! I liked your article and will think about the shorts with your comments in mind.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Thanks for sharing this amazing blog. one of my favorite fiction movie is blade runner. Here is collection of jacket used in this movie.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Eh. I am very excited for the film, but not at all for these. They're not "short films", they're prologue commercials.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Hey, guys, just wanted to let you all know if you didn't that Black Out was released on YouTube by Warner Bros. earlier this week. I wanted to edit the article with that update, but it seems late at this point.

October 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSTinG

Hi, Salim! I always loved the Blade Runner aesthetics. I’ve only seen 2022 so far, but it maintained the vibes I love. Great post, proud of you, keep up the good work.

October 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMari

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