The world has been waiting for a sequel to Blade Runner for 35 years. This October, our patience pays off in the form of Blade Runner 2049. If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it right and get all the pieces in place and, so far, it looks like Blade Runner is doing just that.
Experienced, but slightly maverick director in the form of Denis Villeneuve? Check. Top billed talent both old and new? Check. Great score? Double check because, alongside the capable Johann Johannsson (collaborator with Villeneuve on the likes of Sicario and Arrival), we now know that Hans Zimmer will be lending his ear to the film’s music.
This is crucial because the score follows in the wake of Vangelis' groundbreaking work on the original, one of the most influential and pioneering electronic sci-fi soundtracks of all time.
Now, don’t get us wrong, Johannsson has achieved an incredible amount in his (relatively short) film career. Three of his last four films have earned significant acclaim and awards recognition, including a Golden Globe win for 2014’s The Theory of Everything, but this film is his first sequel, not to mention one of the most eagerly anticipated sci-fi movies of the last decade.
Therefore the experienced hands of Hans Zimmer in the mix can only be a good thing. Here’s a few reasons why his involvement means great things for the film.
He knows sci-fi
Surprisingly, for someone with such a long career, Zimmer has not frequently been involved with Hollywood sci-fi productions. His first attempt was a little film called Interstellar, regarded as one of the best sci-fi films of modern times.
Zimmer’s score was a large part of Christopher Nolan's opus, even earning itself an Academy Award nomination. Interstellar and the original Blade Runner are similar in that their main focus is on character, with the sci-fi backdrop illuminating our emotional understanding of said characters.
They are rich narratives and the music is designed to get under the skin of the characters as well as the landscapes they live in. Zimmer’s score for Interstellar, like Vangelis’ work Blade Runner, is both evocative and reflective of the story, something that will need to be captured in Blade Runner 2049.
He can do intrigue
The world of Blade Runner is heavily influenced by film noir and Blade Runner 2049 is described as a 'neo-noir sci-fi'.
Hans Zimmer is a king of film, noir, neo-noir and any other noir you’d care to mention! Sherlock Holmes, Inception, The Pledge and The Dark Knight, are all examples of Zimmer weaving his magic through a genre that relies heavily on its score.
Zimmer has used his scores in these films to create tension, fear and intrigue, and his work on Inception especially is largely an electronic sound, which is surely something we can expect from the 2049 score.
At the same time Johannsson is himself a pioneer of brooding electronic textures in the likes of Prisoners, Arrival and Sicario, so it remains to be seen how Zimmer's work will complement the former's.
Hans Zimmer has composed scores for an extraordinarily diverse range of films and directors.
The Lion King, 12 Years A Slave, Man of Steel, Pirates of the Caribbean, Pearl Harbour, all very different films, all hugely successful, all scored by Zimmer. You know that with Hans Zimmer, no matter what the movie, you’ll be getting quality.
He builds strong partnerships
This is not Zimmer’s first time working with another composer. He teamed up with Tim Rice and Elton John for The Lion King, Lisa Gerrard for Gladiator and Klaus Badelt for Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. Plus, within his Remote Control company he regularly marshals a small army of co-composers and assistants to work on his scores.
This surely bodes well when it comes to meshing his tone and style with that of Johannsson.
Blade Runner 2049 is released on 6th October.
Marvyn Wilson is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.