Ok, there are spoilers for Blade Runner 2049 here. Proper emotionally powerful spoilers, hence the vague title. If you’ve not seen the film (and you must) and want to remain unspoiled please click away now.
Done that? Or not? Good.
This VFX Breakdown from effects house MPC, led by the film’s overall visual effects supervisor John Nelson, showcases a moment which comes late in the film, when Jared Leto’s vampiric Neander Wallace taunts Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard with the ghost of his long dead love Rachel. Part of the brilliance of Denis Villeneuve’s film is its use of memory and digital recall of the past. It is key to the central mystery Ryan Gosling’s character is uncovering. When Deckard is pulled out of hiding and the screws are applied to him with the digitised recordings of his past, he shows himself to be too strong. Leto’s Wallace tries a different tactic, and introduces Rachel, a perfect (well, almost perfect…) replication of Sean Young’s character from Ridley Scott’s film.
It is a moment which caused gasps in my screening, and is another step on from Rogue One’s recreation of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. The holy grail for many VFX professionals is to convincingly render a human being digitally. ILM’s Tarkin was perhaps the boldest move so far, and this film goes one better.
The digital wizardry cinema uses every day is still capable of standing out. Watch the video below and you’ll see the impressive work being done on the frontline of CGI in the movies.
Blade Runner 2049 VFX Breakdown