I'll start with this: I probably won't be able to shut up about the utter awesomeness that was the Blade Runner 2049 experience at San Diego Comic-Con last week. Last week? Jesus, it's already Monday, isn't it?
If you've ever gone to SDCC to work, as press or vendors or other, you know how the return to everyday life can feel like coming home again after time on an alien planet. The stimuli from every possible front at times can be overwhelming, but usually worth it in the long run.
The incredibly immersive Blade Runner experience was set up off site at the parking lot, which normally houses a wrap of food trucks. A slider of food trucks? What is a good collective noun for food trucks?
The experience was housed in a huge tent, set up with a foyer displaying concept art and the resulting production images down the hallway. After wandering around in there for a few minutes and breathing in the massive amounts of hazer smoke for "mood lighting", we were ushered into the VR experience. Rows of single rider chairs stood waiting, and we were instructed to put on headphones and visors.
And suddenly, I was in a spinner! The spinners are the flying cars you may remember from the first Blade Runner film, and I cannot begin to describe how cool it was. Sure, chasing around a bad spinner in the skies above Los Angeles may not have a lot to do with the core of Blade Runner, but I sure enjoyed it. At the end of the car chase, you crash into the bad guy and hit the ground. The experience docents tell you to remove your visor and headphones, and suddenly you are in the movie.
It rained inside the tent, simulating the moody umbrella needed setting of the film, denizens of Los Angeles 2049 are milling around, and the LAPD are of course looking for trouble making Replicants. You could sit at the White Dragon cafe and have tea, you could have 2-2-4 and noodles, you could even go to Bibi's Bar and enjoy a flight of Johnny Walker (if you were over 21).
There were places to scan the ID bracelets we were provided, and the video screens would light up with your name and reward you with collectable posters and t-shirts.
I could have spent hours there; I really didn't want to leave. If the new film shows the same care to detail and reverence to the original, I think we'll be in for a pretty great sequel.
Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters October 6th.