Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A welcome absence on Blade Runner 2 credits

Still from Blade Runner

Occasionally a cult classic film's soundtrack becomes a cult classic in its own right and lives on independently from the images.

One of the lasting examples is the soundtrack to Blade Runner, a film very loosely based on Philip K. Dick's classic novel, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Well, the great and seemingly incurable disease that affects the film industry nowadays, a disease that leads to the regurgitation of classics in order to make entirely unnecessary and inevitably flawed remakes, has entered a more acute phase.

Yes, The Magnificent Seven gets a more "ethnically diverse" remake, Ben Hur gets a... well, unclear why, but it gets a remake that is, as expected, an immediate flop with the critics and the public...

The more acute phase of this rather desperate illness is the making of sequels that attempt to "continue" the perfectly rounded script of some cult classic.

There was the Gone With The Wind sequel (a catastrophe of some proportions, from the novel that wanted to be a worthy sequel of the original classic to the film adaptation that promptly sunk into oblivion)... Now we have a Blade Runner sequel...

Decades after the passing of the unique visionary Ph. K. Dick, someone has the ambition to write a "continuation" to the story. And whilst Ridley Scott produces it, Denis Villeneuve directs it.

The postmodern absurdity has already begun, headlines trying to hype the film as something that  "will take care of the original's biggest mystery" - not realizing at all the very plain fact: the mentioned mystery is exactly what, in the director's cut edition, made Blade Runner into what it is.

That very mystery is what added to the film the philosophical depth of Dick's novel that was otherwise so entirely ignored in the film adaptation.

By saying that this "sequel" takes care of that mystery, the makers of Blade Runner 2 state very clearly just how pointless and devoid of any meaning the project is from its very inception.

However, one positive element in this entire disaster in the making is the confirmed absence of Vangelis.

We can place very solid bets on the quality and prompt sinking into oblivion of yet another desperate and absurd attempt to crack open and "expand" on the story that in both literary and cinematographic sense is as complete as it can possibly be. Credit to Villeneuve, he himself called it an "insane project".

At least the soundtrack shall have zero connection with the original, perhaps the only personal connection is that its composer, Johan Johannsson, considers Vangelis as one of his great influences.

Perhaps it is easy to be prejudiced, and hence it is a welcome the fact that Vangelis's unsurpassed score is not botched in any way by himself or someone else for the so-called sequel.

Anyone with aforementioned literary, philosophical or cinematographic expertise on the original can be understandably prejudiced - especially as one of the most intriguing aspects of the original is that the extremely few elements kept from Ph. K. Dick's novel actually work so splendidly in the film.

Nobody questions the award-winning Johannsson's musical abilities, especially considering his non-soundtrack work (albeit in a very familiar sounding minimalist vein that is frankly getting terribly boring and self-referencing in too many composers' output).

However, he has the not quite enviable job to score a remarkably futile film project, which will have all the hallmarks of current commercial trends of desperate blockbuster wannabe projects. What other reason would there be to make a sequel, if not this despair of milking old classics to death.

The fact that Blade Runner 2 (actual title not yet confirmed) will have this marked disconnect from the original's score is a fortunate development...

Not quite sure when Hollywood and some related film factories (if we may use this word for a moment) will cure themselves of this illness, but for now it seems we have to get used to the desperately forced sequels and "continuations".

Kudos to Vangelis for, intentionally or unintentionally, not being part of this absurd cinematic exercise.

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