Visions of the future take center stage in Blade Runner 2049 Interlinked – The Art

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s been three years since the arrival of Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi cult classic, Blade Runner, itself based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  At last fans of the franchise, sci-fi, and futurism have a worthy tribute to the artwork behind the production with Tanya Lapointe’s Blade Runner 2049 Interlinked–The Art, now available from Titan Books.  A companion piece to the author’s 2017 book, The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049, published in 2017, which focused more on the entire production than the ideas behind the look of the film, this new book is packed with more reproductions of concept artwork than text, a journey for anyone thinking about the next Syd Mead–who will he/she be, and what the world they create might look like.

The challenge for the visionaries behind Blade Runner 2049?  Finding the right fit between nostalgia and innovation–piecing together architecture, technology, and design to reflect 1982’s vision of the future updated with today’s vision of tomorrow.  Artists were interviewed and discuss their inspiration and ideas, accompanied by hundreds of full color photographs.  Readers will see the beginning, middle, and final ideas for the futuristic cars called spinners, weaponry like those bulky blasters, future landscapes and cityscapes, cyborg corporate logos, the look of residents of the future, and locations: the memorable bar and casino, K’s apartment, the Wallace corporation, and Deckard’s apartment.

Readers will learn of several Easter eggs they probably missed that the creators sneaked into the film, found in corners of the screen on objects like license plates and within corporate logos, and they’ll get a better understanding of what the production team intended to convey via the use of tricks like changes in color as well as explore concepts that didn’t make the final cut.

The core creators from the film who participated in this book includes the initial brainstorming team of senior conceptual designer George Hull, concept artist Scott Lukowski, concept designer Victor Martinez, concept illustrator Emmanuel Shiu, WETA Workshop artist Steve Jung, and researcher Allison Klein.  Even more players fill in the blanks for the rest of the book, including production designer Dennis Gassner, production consultant Aaron Haye, concept artists including Dan Walker, Sam Hudecki, Carlos Huante, Peter Popken, and Kamen Anev, concept designers Tibor Lazar, Kim Frederiksen, Mike Hill, Ed Natividad, and Zsolt Tarnok, graphic designer Laura Dishington, and WETA Workshop artists Leri Greer and Paul Tobin.

See the future as foreseen in the early 21st century.  Check out Blade Runner 2049 Interlinked–The Art, available now here at Amazon.  Would you like to know more?  Catch up with The Movie Art of Syd Mead, reviewed here at borg, Space Utopia, reviewed here, and Typeset in the Future, reviewed here.

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