BOOK REVIEW – The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 by Tanya Lapointe

By Marty Mulrooney

The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049

The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 is the official visual guide to Denis Villeneuve’s stunning science fiction masterpiece Blade Runner 2049, which AMO described in its review as “a complicated and highly accomplished piece of filmmaking that will no doubt encourage discussion and debate for many years to come.” Written by reporter Tanya Lapointe, this lavish, oversized coffee table book – published by Titan Books in the UK – documents the film’s ambitious two year production and is filled with exclusive production stills, behind-the-scenes photography, concept art and storyboards, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.

From the very first moment you hold The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 in your hands, you’ll know you’re about to read something truly special. This ‘official visual chronicle’ is absolutely huge, measuring 279 x 356mm; you may struggle to find a bookshelf that can hold it, or indeed a coffee table for that matter.

The foreword by Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve sets the scene perfectly. The visionary filmmaker put together a team of dreamers to create the future of an old dream. This books shares their collective vision of a story set 30 years after Ridley Scott’s classic film Blade Runner ended. Scott’s vision was darkness and rain; Villeneuve’s is that same world, with the silver light of Canadian winters.

This book is an absolute treasure trove of trivia and breathtaking imagery. Those buying for concept art alone might end up feeling a bit disappointed; the ‘art’ in the title instead refers to the filmmaking process as a whole. The mix of concept art, film stills and behind-the-scenes photography (as well as insightful VFX breakdowns) offers an intoxicating peek behind the curtain of this incredible alternative vision of the future.

It’s fascinating to realise as each page is turned just how much of Blade Runner 2049 was shot practically on real sets or with miniatures. If there is one small complaint to be made, it’s that this extensive companion to the film is so large that it can become unwieldy to read for long periods of time. However, anything smaller would have done a disservice to the incredible cinematography of Roger Deakins and the creativity of all involved. Blade Runner 2049 is a huge film and it deserves a similarly huge book.

The Art and Soul of Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most enjoyable ‘making-of’ film books this reviewer has ever read. It isn’t a cynical cash-in; it’s an accessible, weighty tome, written with love. It will no doubt make future viewings of Blade Runner 2049 even more enjoyable and comes highly recommended as a result.

10 OUT OF 10

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