Written by Tanya Lapointe, director Denis Villenueve‘s life partner and assistant on Blade Runner 2049, The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 isn’t your usual ‘Art Of‘ book because of the talent involved, and the depth of the interviews, content and insider insight that means you embed a little more deeply than you usually would with this style of book.
While the sublime nature of the art and design is definitely a pull, it’s Lapointe’s narrative that takes us through the process of the making of the film, which never fails to highlight the high collaboration factor in the making of Blade Runner 2049. Whilst every movie is always a huge combined effort from every department involved, it quickly becomes clear in ‘The Art and Soul...’ that here they really wanted to make something that honoured the original Blade Runner but also became it’s own, unique experience.
With a foreword from director Villeneuve, who tells us of his early meetings with screenwriter Hampton Fancher, Roger Deakins and more important production and design colleagues, the book is soon handed over to Lapointe’s unique memories of the film-making process.
Broken up into an impressive eleven chapters, no moment is overlooked or undervalued as we take on a huge dive into almost every process through tech, design, exclusive insight from the actors and more as they set out to achieve the invention of a new world, that has progressed and digressed since Ridley’s original. I think it’s safe to say they achieved that, and a whole lot more, and although I agree a little with Ridley – the film could have easily lost a good 20 minutes or so – it’s still a stupendous world that Blade Runner 2049 puts up there in front of our eyes.
It would be understated to say it’s easy to create a ‘world’ with all the tech involved in the blockbuster film-making process these days, but it’s clearly revealed that Villenueve wanted the reality of the characters to be the most important thing. While the visuals are truly breathtaking and transport us to another place all together by telling their own, individual stories, it’s the characters who truly take us into their world and – as they discuss in the book – if you can’t get a narrative right beneath the pictures, then there’s no point in telling the story. But, for me, the characters are the focus and that’s what makes BR2049 more special than your usual big screen entertainment, it really tells its own story beyond the original.
We hear of Ryan Gosling‘s acting method to get into the head of K during ‘The Baseline Test’, hear from screenwriters Hampton and Michael Green, look at the work of the Weta Workshop and the building of real miniatures and sets, the ‘building’ of an progressed world set 30 years beyond Blade Runner, and the depth of each individual choice of what we see on screen, and the choices of the characters throughout. If you loved the film and wanted to get a little deeper under the skin, then there’s no doubt this is the book for you and I think it comes with a whole host of extras bonuses, showing us moments and things we don’t usually get from this type of art book.
In the words of Lapointe herself “This book is about more than celebrating the art of Blade Runner 2049. It’s about capturing its soul, so that all these moments will not be lost in time.” And they achieve all that quite effortlessly, which is interesting considering how much work went into the film!
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