Welcome to the shame-free Blade Runner zone.
For much of the population, Ridley Scott's 1982 Blade Runner is a status-quo shaking sci-fi classic, a film that introduced noir elements to futuristic fare and proved to be a game changer in the genre.
But for those who missed that boat (or for the Millennial population in general), Blade Runner lands in the box of a sort-of-dated Harrison Ford movie about artificial intelligence they never quite got around to streaming. Or worse, it's "a so-so movie set inside a truly visionary cinematic universe," as Screen Crush's Matt Singer hesitantly acknowledges.
Fret not! With the critically adored Blade Runner 2049 upon us (and the added benefit of Ryan Gosling), it's time to face two basic questions you might have: What if you never saw the original? What if "the original sci-fi noir" wasn't your bag?
This reporter attended the Blade Runner 2049 premiere last week, and will admit (hold the hate mail) she had never seen the original until a week ago. She attended the said premiere with an even greener plus-one, who had merely read the Wiki synopsis before plunking down in his red-cushioned seat.
And we both loved it.
Truth be told, director Denis Villeneuve's dazzling reimagining of the Blade Runner universe (in theaters now) is fully realized and largely self-contained. It's a gripping detective story set in the dusty marigold-tinted future, packed with questions about humanity, consciousness and ethical responsibility.
Those crunched for time could see Blade Runner 2049 on its own, and it would make sense. But to have an even deeper appreciation for the sequel, here's what you should know before you go.
Set 30 years after the original, Blade Runner 2049 remains under siege from a harsh climate and a grim rain, with L.A. cops in flying cars systematically hunting down rogue high-tech bioengineered beings called replicants.
In both films, humans and replicants look exactly the same, undetectable except to highly trained police detectives called blade runners (that's Ford as Rick Deckard in the original).
Replicant IDs are imprinted on their eyeballs, but otherwise, there are no wires or telltale signs that you're dealing with a 'bot. Replicants are derided by humans as "skin jobs," a common slur.
In the first Blade Runner, Deckard fell in love with one of his targets, a replicant named Rachael (Sean Young). They fled civilization so that they could be together. Thanks to the multiple versions (including a director's cut) of the original that were released, it remains unclear if Deckard was actually a replicant, too.
In the sequel, we meet Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who picks up blade runner duties decades after Deckard's time.
On Twitter, Kumail Nanjiani, who co-wrote and starred in one of summer's best films, The Big Sick, tweeted his highest praise. "Halfway through #BladeRunner2049 I realized I was watching 1 of my favorite films," he wrote. "I smiled, knowing I'd remember this exact moment forever."
Here's mine: The movie is a whopping 2 hours and 44 minutes. But for a gal that prefers a tight 90-minute runtime, I didn't check my watch once.
For more on 'Blade Runner 2049,' check out the latest podcast from USA TODAY's Straight Up Hollywood.