Yesterday, the Beat had a front-row view of what’s to come during yesterday’s Hall H presentation for Blade Runner 2049, the highly anticipated sequel to my favorite film of all time. Look, I’m as into Jason Momoa as anybody, but once you start playing that Vangelis score through the mega-speakers in the San Diego Convention Center’s biggest auditorium, it was instantly going to win my heart over for “best of the Warner Bros slate”.
I don’t usually partake in the activations offered at SDCC, but the idea of actually getting to walk through a reproduction of that world, one of the most sumptuously designed in all of science fiction filmmaking, I couldn’t resist.
Once you’re ushered in, you walk along a short hallway that includes some set photos with stylishly inscribed descriptors, which sort of primes the pump for what’s to come.
From there, I walked past a number of participants who were being guided through a virtual reality tour of some kind. I’m told it was quite short, but since it was already at capacity I went ahead and skipped the preamble to get to the really good stuff.
And holy cow, it was something! I first was escorted past a parked car (the flying type that appeared in the original Blade Runner) with a cop, in character, that kept telling us to move along, through an opening that had rain pouring through it, to get you really in the non-stop downpour of that environment.
The actors and the immaculately designed interior fully immersed you in the experience, and this was doubly so once we entered the marketplace “district”, which had a food counter, a number of storefronts (with weapons and clothing on display) and many police officers along with other men and women of different stripes coming up to you fully in character. Some were replicants, some offered themselves up to you (for pictures only, of course), and others were deranged, constantly trying to get you in trouble with the police on hand – claiming that you’re a replicant. It was awesome, I felt like I was living a dream!
Once I had finally torn myself away from this neon-inflected space, I moved through a club entrance, where I was given three small vials filled with Johnnie Walker (red label with ginger ale, black label, and BLUE LABEL!!). I drank one before I took the picture, sorry!
All in all it was a tremendous experience, successfully building up my hype for the film and giving fans an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else. Hats off to Warner Bros., they even got a picture of me with the car! Please forgive the con bloat.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.