Ridley Scott has crafted two science fiction masterpieces in Alien and Blade Runner. Blade Runner in particular highlights some of Scott’s most expressive artistry with his handle on in-depth worlds and crafting stories that mean something. Blade Runner is a unique movie that doesn’t need a sequel. Then I heard Denis Villeneuve was directing the sequel. That’s almost a perfect match for the world of Blade Runner as Villeneuve’s movies are just as atmospheric as any of the best Ridley Scott movies. Then I remembered the other Scott movie, Alien, and how much I loved the shift in tone each director brought to the franchise, giving it an anthology feel. My mind rattled, and I came up with a list of director’s I’d love to see take on the universe of Blade Runner.
Nicholas Winding Refn
Refn is a favorite modern director of mine. His stories feel disconnected from reality but still feel tangible on a level of ethos untapped by most filmmakers in the business today. His movies are existentially violent, turning the simplest of stories into an explosion of gorgeous imagery and crippling nightmares. Proof of insurance: Drive, Only God Forgives.
He already directed Alien: Resurrection. Why not try his stab at a sequel to another Scott film? His movies have this atmosphere of otherworldly functions, with a visual style I can only compare to steampunk. Give him a script that compliments his directing style, we could get something along the lines of Amelie or City of Lost Children.
Batman Begins version of Gotham is heavily inspired by Blade Runner. The yellow hues and grimy atmosphere give The Narrows of Gotham a distinct atmosphere. His characters feel distant from the audience but there is still an understanding of where they stand on an ethical compass. They preach their expositional stances on life and moral quandaries. Nolan would be able to combine the grime and grit from Begins with his take on science fiction from Inception (haven’t seen Interstellar).
Guillermo Del Toro
Del Toro is a master behind the camera and for creating fantastical world designs. His best movies are spoken in his native tongue, so why not have his Blade Runner take place in Mexico? A Blade Runner sequel should explore different walks of life across the globe. Not necessarily a globe-trotting adventure, but to see what grim future is in store for the world. See: Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim.
Notoriously hateful of his own work on Alien 3, I actually think the Assembly Cut is secretly great. Maybe he could find some closure by taking a stab at the world of Blade Runner and get an opportunity to make a sequel to a Ridley Scott masterpiece that he deserved to make. Even in the mess that is the Alien 3 theatrical release, Fincher’s spirit of filmmaking tore through the confines of studio mandates. Imagine what he’s capable of in an unhinged genre piece? (Please see: Alien 3 Assembly Cut, Zodiac, Se7en).
Snowpiercer was one of 2014’s very best movies, and Bong Joon-ho clearly loves playing in different genres. He also used the science fiction aspects of Snowpiercer to their full advantage, mixing metaphor with boldfaced ideas. Isn’t that exactly what Blade Runner is about? (See also: The Host).
Alexander’s handle on visual flare is undeniable in Green Street Hooligan’s but its painstakingly obvious somebody needed to give her all the money by the time Punisher: War Zone hit theaters. The ambience of War Zone gives a fluid feeling to both movement and story, in all of its over the top glory. Violence rarely looks so beautiful.
I still haven’t seen Blackhat and it’s destroying me. Michael Mann’s use of visual artistry in Manhunter alone warrants him a chance to explore the avenue of heavy science fiction worlds like Blade Runner. Actually, I think we should just have Michael Mann use the same soundtrack and cast from Manhunter to make his Blade Runner movie. Blade Runner 2: Mannhunter.
Cuarón is a master of imagery and storytelling. Gravity was a simple story but there’s a sense of fulfillment at the end of it all. His effortless long shots can be appreciated as an artistic experiment but also follow suit with the story he is telling (maintaining drama, tightening tension). His post-apocalyptic view of the world in Children of Men is appropriately bleak for a successor to Blade Runner.
Wait, don’t go. Please hear me out. I’m not a fan of Man of Steel or Sucker Punch, but it’s undeniable that Snyder has a great idea of what he’s doing visually. I’ve speculated before that he would make an excellent cinematographer. If Snyder gets anything right in MoS, it’s in the moments where Superman is flying with only triumphant music playing. It’s in the moments of Watchmen where Night Owl and Silk Spectre stand in front of a nuclear blast, or as Dr. Manhattan’s erects a structure on the surface of Mars. So here’s my idea: have him work entirely on atmosphere and a story that contains no dialogue. If we can appreciate The Artist, we can appreciate Zack Snyder in an element of filmmaking he’d no doubt succeed in.