19 comments on “Blade Runner

  1. I just watched this movie again this weekend, actually, with a few friends, and have an insight as to why it might have such cult status and yet be good but not amazing to an audience like us. It’s the same problem that Alien has (though I think Alien holds up better, personally).

    Basically, Blade Runner was wildly unlike most movies at the time, and most movies that came before it. SciFi was fond of showing bright, gleaming futures. They had their share of problems (including machines that get out of control, right HAL?), but it was still bright and shiny, the world getting better overall, and ooh, technology!

    This is one of the first dark-future SciFi films. Technology kept progressing, but society got worse. It was so radically different as to be striking (everyone I’ve talked to who was alive at the time it came out comes back to that), so it helped re-define modern SciFi movies. Now, dark futures are pretty commonplace, and well explored with better writing (because some of the lines are questionable at best), so those of us who saw the other ones first won’t get the full impact. I know I don’t; I think it’s a good movie, and have heard/can grok why it might be a cult classic, but it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s good, but not amazing.

    • Thanks so much for the insight, Travis. I don’t think I have ever watched Blade Runner with anyone old enough to remember when the film came out, so I’ve never heard their perspective. I’m with you on Alien, love it.

    • Travis: very good point. Seeing it at that time in New York, a city in budget crisis, graffiti everywhere, abandoned buildings — it made a more believable future than Star Trek.

      But, as I said in my other comment, it was disappointing even at the time.

      I saw Alien fairly recently, though, and I thought it was as great as ever.

  2. I’m with you on this one. I watched it a couple years ago and I really didn’t get why it was so great, except for the atmosphere which seemed stronger to me than the plot. I had to read the wikipedia article afterwards to find out what happened and I enjoyed reading that more than the movie!
    I’ve got a long overdue rewatch coming up soon, so hopefully I’ll appreciate it more this time. I always feel bad when I don’t get classic films.
    Kind of wish I hadn’t read Deckard was a replicant though. The thought had never even occurred to me before!

    • You’re not alone, the first time I saw this, I got pretty lost in the plot and didn’t connect who were replicants until later. Kinda kills the tension and makes you feel dumb if you don’t make all the connections.
      Sorry for the spoiler there, I didn’t connect it either the first time I watched it until someone brought it up and a whole debate was sparked.

  3. I’m curious as to which version of this film you watched? Not that I think it would change your opinions, I’m just curious since there are 5 versions available out there:
    1982 Workprint version
    1982 Theatrical Version
    1982 International Cut
    1992 “Director’s Cut” (disowned by Ridley Scott)
    2007 Final Cut (Approved and overseen by Scott)
    These are all on the special 5 disc collection that was released on DVD & Blu-Ray a few years ago. There are various differences throughout, along with missing/added scenes/added visual effects (Final Cut) and alternate endings which many felt changed their perceptions of the film.

    • I’ve seen this film a total of 3 times. Most recently, I know I saw the Final Cut, but the first time I saw it I believe it was the Director’s Cut. That second time is a blur, couldn’t tell you which one it was.

  4. W Hey, some of us saw it the first time around. 🙂 I remember sitting in the theater with my (then) wife, and the movie started with that incredible cityscape, and that music, and I nudged her and said, “Hey, this is going to be good.”

    But, like you, I was vaguely disappointed. This part was good and that part was good, but I don’t think it all holds together as well as I wanted it to. Maybe it’s just because not much is at stake. Does Deckard kill the replicants? Do they kill him? Is he one of them? I can’t remember caring all that much.

    Compared, for example, to Alien. 🙂

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Anthony. While fans will probably argue that it’s not the point as to whether Deckard kills the replicants or not, I think this lack of dramatic thrust through a film which is obviously set up to deal with this very issue ends up robbing the movie of momentum – particularly through the lengthy chase through that abandoned apartment complex. Deckard is too aloof to care about, and the stakes aren’t that clearly defined. As I mentioned in my comment below, perhaps it’s too complex a story for my tiny brain to understand fully, but how hard to I have to work to “get” a film like this, really?

      Alien was terrific, I agree.

      • Thanks for sharing Anthony and Rodney. Got to admit, vaguely disappointed or not, it’s still an enjoyable film. Even if we aren’t very emotionally invested in the characters.
        And yes, everyone loves Alien.

  5. “These replicants are not real humans and it’s stated that they don’t have as much emotional experience and are more detached.” — the point entirely — they do indeed feel emotions despite claims by humans that they can’t — thus, that’s the paradox! the humans want them gunned down but they perhaps feel more compassion than the humans do — of course, it’s a strange childlike emotion because they only live for a few years.

    • Great point, that can be hard to comprehend at first since we are seeing adults, but don’t always realize they have only been alive a few years. It makes my head spin.

  6. Not getting into the story makes sense in that while the story is good, the film is much more interested in the world around it.

    Anyway, I love Blade Runner. It’s one of my all time favourites and I keep coming back to it. Funny story: the same day I saw Blade Runner I had been rejected by a girl I really liked. I was obviously pretty bummed out, but watching Blade Runner made me forget about the whole thing.

    • “The film is much more interested in the world around it.” -Brilliant point.
      Thanks for sharing your story, getting lost in a good movie makes everything better. 🙂

  7. Terrific review, Alyson. I’m with you in that I too don’t “get” the absolute orgasmic love for this film many geeks have; I think the themes, motifs and subtext is lost on me, and as a straightforward sci-fi actioner it’s not really that action packed. Fords portrayal of Deckard is as laconic as his other roles of the era – it’s like Han Solo mixed with Indy mixed with… well Ford himself I guess. Each to their own as far as enjoyment on this one goes (for the record, I’ve seen the original theatrical release, which played once in my hometown back in the day, as well as the ’92 Directors Cut, and most recently I purchased the Final Cut on Blu) but for me, I lament at not being able to truly appreciate this dense, mythical film like so many others.

    The thing which resonates more to me – other than the acting performances, which range from obtuse to obscure – is the fabulous visual style Ridley brings to proceedings. You mentioned it, but I reiterate – Blade Runner’s a film where the look and visual aesthetic is perhaps more important than the story itself…. flame on, haters! Re-watching this film on Blu, one gets a sense of the world-building Ridley and his team went to to bring this story to life, and regardless of what you may think of the characters, the story, or the unanswered questions, there’s NO question the world the film brings to us is stunning in execution.

    • And to think, I was worried that I would be the only one who lacked an intense love for this film. Glad to see I’m not alone.
      I really would like to see it on blu-ray, it would probably blow me away and I’d have even more appreciation for the artistry of the film.

  8. I saw Blade Runner when it came out at a drive-in and loved how it sucked me in. I have seen all the versions and watched it many times and always enjoy being transported into this world. Another feature that has not been mentioned is the soundtrack. Vangelis really helped with the mood of the film and I enjoy listening to that soundtrack. It has been a while since I have watched it so I need to watch it again, in the right setting of a large screen, good sound and dark lighting.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Andy! I miss drive-ins, Blade Runner feels like a great drive-in movie. Glad to find someone else who really loves this film.

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