I watched the original Blade Runner (the Final Cut) and Blade Runner 2049 back to back last weekend, and what stood out to me most is the difference between the two films’ visuals. Both are absolutely gorgeous movies, and I think the sequel does a very good job of adapting the original’s very specific look to a new story. But I also think it’s far less daring, and that sort of speaks to the overall experience of watching 2049. (No spoilers here, I promise.)
The sequel was shot by Roger Deakins, who’s the reason movies like Sicario, Skyfall, and much of the Coen brothers’ filmography look so beautiful. The way he shoots Blade Runner 2049 is stunning. There are big, wide-open spaces, large swaths of color, and lots of sharp lines directing your vision. It somehow manages to feel like Blade Runner, even while doing its own thing. Same goes for the story, which is very clear in the way it shifts from one location and focus to another.
But I think the downside to the way Deakins, and director Dennis Villanueve, decided to shoot 2049 is that it’s so much neater and cleaner that the original — and that really extends to its story, too. That’s a weird criticism, but the original’s crudeness was what made it so incredible. It was dark and cluttered. It was hard to see. It was jarring. And often it was downright weird. Likewise, the story was simple but haphazard, with Deckard bumbling from one place to another and suddenly finding himself at the conclusion of the film. I think 2049 is a surprisingly good sequel, but it’s nowhere near as bold as its source material.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
There’s a 99 percent chance you’ve already seen this, but in the off chance that you haven’t, I gotta tell you, I think you should skip it. It’s a great trailer! But it feels way too spoilery. Now I’m willing to bet that’s not true — for The Force Awakens, Disney barely revealed anything outside the first half-hour of the film. But that doesn’t change how this one feels to me, and I’m wouldn’t risk it if you want to go in completely open to all surprises. There’s just two more months to go. The movie comes out December 15th.
I forgot how good Stranger Things is, and this trailer has me newly psyched. Not just for the show, but for the music, too. The new season comes out October 27th.
Justice League answers the eternal question: what would it look like it DC superheroes made a rock opera? We’ll find out November 17th.
The New Mutants
Fox has made a lot of X-Men movies, but this one is going to look more than a little bit different. The New Mutants basically focuses in on a slice of the X-Men universe and pulls a horror story out of it, giving it some fun new tools to tell an otherwise very traditional haunted house story. It’s a cool idea. The film comes out April 13th.
She’s Gotta Have It
Spike Lee is revisiting his early film She’s Gotta Have It by turning it into a Netflix series. It’s a pretty cool conceit — that we’ll get to see what this same idea looks like three decades later. And from this first trailer, it seems like it could be a lot of fun too. The show comes out on November 23rd.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino is back with a new series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which she’s both the writer and director of. The show is about a Jewish woman in the Upper West Side in 1958 New York who decides to become a stand up comic after her marriage falls apart. It looks just as quick-witted as you’d expect a series from Sherman-Palladino to be. It starts November 29th on Amazon.
There are too many Stephen King adaptations. But what if one TV series could actually embody the pitch “too many Stephen King adaptations”? That’s what Castle Rock is — it’s a creepy, mysterious new Stephen King series that’s based on all of his connected mythology. It doesn’t seem to follow any one specific story or book, but instead take ideas and themes from all of them. It’s supposed to be an anthology series, and there’s certainly plenty for it to explore. The show starts on Hulu sometime next year.
Last year’s X-Files revival seemed to get a pretty mixed response. But apparently people tuned in enough to warrant making another season and giving the show another shot at a great revival. A first trailer came out last week teasing some big, globe-spanning mysteries, which seems about par for the course. The new season starts sometime next year.
Hulu is getting a Marvel show of its own. It’s an adaptation of Runaways, a series about teenagers who run away after discovering their parents are supervillains. This first trailer doesn’t go too deep into the story, but what is clear so far is that it’ll have a very different tone than what we’re seeing from Netflix’s Marvel series — something much more clearly aimed at teenagers, which makes enough sense here. The series starts November 21st.