“Anyone with even a fledgling interest cannot help but be impressed by this comprehensive, fascinating, and best Art Of books that have ever been published”
Behind the scenes and ‘The Art Of’ books are flooding the bookshelves in the film departments of bookstores. Some are just wafer-thin, cash-grabbing non-starters, others are interesting enough but without going into too much detail and giving the reader/buyer everything they would want or like to know while a large majority of them are fantastic volumes, thick and overflowing with information and fascinating looks into what makes a film tick and what we see on screen. Although rather weighty with sometimes a price tag to match, these exceptional volumes are must-have items for any film fans bulging bookshelves. Tanya Lapointe was given the task to bring to us a book dedicated to the art of the sci-fi sequel ‘Blade Runner 2049‘. The author worked for fifteen years as a field reporter/Interviewer and TV host for the Radio-Canada/ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during which she covered such prestigious events such as the Academy Awards alongside the yearly Cannes Film Festival.
Combined with her craft as a Producer, Writer, and Director for documentary films, she also wrote ‘The Art And Soul Of Blade Runner 2049‘ which was enjoyable by itself. But can she continue her fantastic run with ‘Blade Runner 2049: Interlinked-The Art‘ which has just been released?
Blade Runner 2049: Interlinked-The Art | Tanya Lapointe
From the moment the reader sets eyes on the front cover, they should by rights be hooked. A wonderful illustration of 2049 Los Angeles architecture with ‘Spinners’ either flying through the air or just sitting and waiting to take flight greets us. It is a terrific illustration and a wonderful starting point for what we will discover inside the pages contained within. The back cover gives us an even bigger look into what we will be afforded once we take the plunge and open the book itself. But first, we must take the beauty of what the front and back cover display. The cinematic image we will see projected in front of our eyes is one thing, seeing the actual design before it reaches the silver screen is something else entirely. We finally gain the courage to break the seals on the clear polythene wrapping and to open the book itself. The image displayed on the front cover is replicated once again in a smaller capacity as we enter the pages. We are greeted by an illustration of what could be J.F Sebastian’s home, long since deserted after the creator’s untimely death at the hands of Roy Batty back in 2019. As we turn the page, we are granted a visual representation of the Japanese logo’s so prevalently displayed in both ‘Blade Runner‘ movies. We now move to the introduction page and it is here that we begin to discover more about the world we once again encountered back in 2018. We are given a brief but telling rundown of what went into the production design, the way the world of the film was created all the while keeping to the style that Syd Mead created thirty-eight years ago. The film recreated Mead’s world to perfection while managing to forge an identity all of its own. Throughout the pages, we are braced for what we will find once we start discovering what the book holds.
Our first chapter is dedicated to the ‘Spinners’, those flying craft that engulfs the skies above, ferrying people to and fro for whatever purposes they are required. Our first encounter with them back in 1982 was a cinematic experience all by itself but to see them represented here in all their glory is heartening, to say the least. Production drawings, early concepts, and the various designs, both old style and the new, sleeker, and differing versions are represented. In a nice little twist, the character of Luv has her Spinner with a barcode license plate. Here it is revealed that IF the barcode was scanned, it would read Philip K. Dick, the writer of the source material the film series is based on ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?‘. This is a nice and heartwarming touch by the designers and the filmmakers to pay tribute to the late author. The Wallace Corporation lift vehicle gets a look in too alongside the Niander Wallace’s private luxury jet from the film. After too brief a time looking at these vehicles and their new designs, we leave the futuristic craft behind. We now move onto blasters. It is here that we will discover the weapons that Blade Runner’s, villains, and in some cases, the general population carry on their persons. Of course, Deckard‘s pistol is represented once more but the designs of the new weaponry we see in the film are also brought to us in detail. Although a rather brief section, seeing what is represented on the screen in a blink and you’ll miss it moment brings home the world we will be visiting during our time inside the theatre.
We arrive at the Los Angeles section and it is here where we will be blown away by what we see and learn during our visit. The design of the cityscape is up first and we are granted a fantastic look at the sights we will see from above. The illustrations are exquisite and quite breathtaking in their beauty and the descriptions that are afforded them, like every section contained in the book. The thought and the foresight that has gone into designing this world cannot be understated. We approach the neon advertising we see in the film and are amazed at the work and the designs that went into bringing this to the screen. The design for actress Ana De Armas’ billboard, neon representation is covered with various production drawings and paintings to bring us closer to the amazing visual effect we will be witness to. Bibi’s Bar and Marketplace are visited along the way in an impressive fashion that demonstrates the sheer hard work and thought that went into something that is only on screen for a few minutes. K’s apartment is presented in all its splendor, all washed out in some areas, glorious and inviting in others all the while looking incredibly sterile and clean, almost like a private medical center. The rooftop of K’s building is visited and again, we come across the designs of Ana De Armas’ character of Joi in some marvelous production drawings and paintings. The L.A.P.D department is also visited alongside the office of Lt. Joshi’s office and the L.A.P.D logo itself. And we also pay a fleeting visit to the morgue.
We now take a deep breath and enter the building of the Wallace Corporation itself. The designs we see here are quite amazing and show an incredible desire to bring the world we will discover on the screen to us in all its dazzling glory. The Wallace logo, in all its different variations, is on display here. But our look at the designs for the outside of the building is so breathtaking, so awe-inspiring that we cannot tear our eyes from the pages. We must see and appreciate the magnificence that is on display. Through the multiple aspects and various representations that cover the pages, we are looking at something an architect or a technical drawing expert would relish, rub their hands with glee and take ideas and inspiration from. We enter the building itself and are allowed brief looks into the offices of Wallace himself and his assistant, Luv. We also visit the creche and discover Wallace staring at another of his creations. We take a look around the Records Library. We are allowed entry into the memory vault for all too brief a period before we are escorted away from the building and its vast interiors.
We now leave the city on a tour of what lies away from Los Angeles and the wilderness beyond its borders. Old wind turbines remain upright but no longer functioning. We see Sapper Morton’s farm from overhead before we land and make ourselves known as we commence our visit. It seems to be not of this earth as we take our first look around, all desolate and unwelcoming. We find ourselves amazed that anyone could live out here by any means. The design that the makers went for is represented once more by storyboard drawings and production paintings, bringing home once more the dedication and forethought that has gone into designing the places we encounter along the way. We decide that enough is enough here and take off and head to the Trash Mesa. It appears to be like a nightmarish version of the Los Angeles splendor we are accustomed to, a war-ravaged part of the landscape that people avoid. Again, the level of detail afforded this brief section of the film is beyond comparison, as the production drawings and paintings demonstrate. We visit the orphanage while we are here, entering the vestibule and sorting room. It is dystopian in its look and presentation, exactly what the designers were aiming for. We stop off in Cotton’s Office for a brief respite and are amazed at the look and design of the room. Every aspect of everything we see during the book is explained and dissected with wonderful and informative text from the very start.
We now depart once more and make our way towards Las Vegas and our rendezvous with Deckard himself. Once more, the visual representation of what today is a thriving and beautiful city looks like in 2049 is astonishing. All abandoned, crumbling with the desert seemingly set on reclaiming what’s left and wiping it clean from the face of the earth, the designs show a dystopian deserted city, one that is dead in all but name. What tourists from around the world currently flock to remains but is falling in on itself. The great metal signs and the beauty of Freemont Street are rusting away to almost nothing. The excess that the city has seen over the years has come back to haunt it in ways no one would have ever envisioned. But the production designers and the artists have pulled it off in great style, as the illustrations and the representations demonstrate.
We now enter the Vintage Casino and discover the disturbing quiet that resonates within. We look at the art that was created for this vital sequence in the film and discover that every minute detail is covered. The fallen chandeliers, the abandoned casino floor, and games, the no longer functioning slot machines, all are presented to us in the art we discover. Finally, we enter Deckard’s Penthouse. This is the home of someone who doesn’t want to be discovered. No longer interested in the world outside. It is decorated with the extravagance left behind in the deserted, crumbling metropolis but looks like what it is. The home of a broken, lonely, despairing man, decorated with whatever treasure he can scavenge from what’s leftover. It has been designed and created with a fantastic sense of style by the artists of the film. With a few more looks at smaller things that will appear in the film, we discretely end our time within the pages of the book.
Like many of the best ‘Art Of’ books, it takes a while to discover everything that the pages contain. But therein lies the beauty of it. It amazes the reader by taking them on a journey beyond what is seen on screen and into the minds of the artists and production designers and the genius that they brought to the finished film. Their art and designs were the basis for this vision of a dystopian future and one that the book brings to the fore. There is nothing that a movie buff, an art student, an art fan, or anyone with even a fledgling interest cannot help but be impressed by this comprehensive, fascinating, and quite easily, one of the best Art Of books that have ever been published. Tanya Lapointe has delivered something that will be held up as a must-have book, a must-read volume that is worthy of the purchase price. I said before that a lot of these books come with a high price tag on occasion. With this incredible and joyful book from Tanya Lapointe, believe me when I say that it is worth every penny. And then some.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
Editors Note | A big thank you to our friends at Titan Books for sending over our advance review copy.