First 'Altered Carbon' Trailer Draws Inspiration From 'Blade Runner'

Monday, 04 December 2017 - 7:12PM
Netflix
Monday, 04 December 2017 - 7:12PM
First 'Altered Carbon' Trailer Draws Inspiration From 'Blade Runner'
Netflix
Cyberpunk is in fashion in a big way at the moment - at least in Hollywood boardrooms.

Hot on the heels of an initial teaser for Netflix's Altered Carbon comes a brief yet attention-grabbing trailer. If you enjoyed the "sleeve" (a sexy artificial body) that made up the primary focus of the first teaser, then good news: this trailer is approximately 80% gratuitous naked bodies as part of an extended fake commercial for a cyberpunk mega-corporation that lets people stay young forever by selling replacement meat sacks.

See the full trailer below:



What's interesting here is just how much Altered Carbon seems to resemble Blade Runner 2049. It's entirely possible that Netflix's trailer department has deliberately chosen to focus on the scenes that best mirror Denis Villeneuve's stylish love letter to the original Ridley Scott movie, but it seems more likely that this show was designed with that aesthetic clear in mind.

In a way, Altered Carbon looks an awful lot like a sequel to the original Blade Runner - there's plenty on display here, from bodies in plastic nutrient sacks to stark, bright lighting, that seem to come straight from 2049. So what new concept does Altered Carbon, itself based on a novel by Richard K Morgan, bring to the table? Mostly it's the sexy bodies - neither Blade Runner movie was quite this graphic with its themes of physical bodies as commodities to be used up and discarded.

It's difficult to be certain just how much this new series will actually follow its source material. According to IMDB, the main character of the Altered Carbon novel, Takeshi Kovacs, will apparently only appear in six of the eight episode in the show's initial season. Going along with the body-hopping plot, Takeshi will be played by a couple actors: very briefly Will Yun Lee (who doesn't even appear in the trailer) before switching to starring actor Joel Kinnaman of Suicide Squad fame.

There's a distinct hint that Altered Carbon may be taking inspiration from other recent cyberpunk stories about brain-hopping, which may prove more problematic. Mere months after the internet lambasted Ghost in the Shell for telling a story about an East-Asian woman having her brain transplanted into a very white Scarlett Johansson, Altered Carbon seems poised to pull off something similar, as the Joel Kinnaman Takeshi is very much the star of the show.
 
Hopefully the show will be aware of the response that might draw, but Altered Carbon may be about to make several mistakes that other cyberpunk movies have made this year - not least, existing in the first place. As much as the genre is winning hearts among Hollywood executives, no big, eager audience has shown up for any of this year's dystopian, neon-soaked sci-fi blockbusters.


It's possible that Altered Carbon may find a niche audience on Netflix, but for all that this footage looks absolutely gorgeous, it's unfortunately very likely that the show might not end up justifying what appears to be a particularly lavish budget.

Still, Netflix should be commended for trying this in the first place, and there is a chance that such an elaborate show might prove popular with enough fans to seem worthwhile. As this year has proven, though, trying to play into the Blade Runner mold doesn't necessarily help when every movie that has carried that particular visual style has ended up disappointing at the box office.

Altered Carbon comes out February 2, 2018 on Netflix.
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