By Jordan and Eddie on 04/10/2017
With the release this week of the long awaited Blade Runner sequel, Blade Runner 2049, The Movie Guys pay tribute to Ridley Scott’s original classic, that despite its age of almost 40 years, remains one of cinema’s most important films and a defining Sci-Fi masterpiece.
With glowing early reviews of 2049, it’s as good as a time as ever to revisit the original film, a flop on release that has now well and truly proved itself to be one of those rare films that grows stronger in its reputation with age and a film that holds up remarkably well in this modern day and age of constant CGI and visual spectacles.
Happy reading and happy watching.
The most memorable element that Blade Runner wields is it’s palpable, noir-inspired mood that feels lifted from the ‘20’s and transposed into a bleak, humourless future.
Viewing it now, in the years close to that it envisaged, it’s easy to be reminded of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal thesis, ‘that our most humane instincts; our capacity for love, tenderness and self-denial can never win out against the ego-driven tendencies that mar our species: our push for war, repression and cold technological achievement.’*
It’s important narrative is fashioned simplistically, stripped bare of an abundance of sub-plots and momentous in its self-reflective, melancholic nature whilst still remaining faithful to its science fiction musings. Rick Deckard is the audience’s avatar in examining the disintegration through negligence of moralities, as the pointless finality of the loss of life is raised and possibly no lessons learned.
The many subsequent versions of Ridley Scott’s oft-discussed classic indicate a frustrated vision, and its structure often supports this. Mesmerizing scenes involving studying the nuances of androids and the negligible ways they differ from humans (except for their torturously short lifespans) are separated by those more tied to genre cliché, and as a result its iconic ending seems almost detached from some previous moments. Though Rutger Hauer receives plaudits as escaped Replicant Roy Batty, Harrison Ford’s performance is a quality study in restrained acting – the film’s environments and challenges are greater than him, in a rarefied way.
In retrospect, Blade Runner is a flawed masterwork, and the inspiration for works of near-equal importance, which is perhaps its greatest legacy of all.
*Total Film Magazine’s 100 Greatest Films of All Time
I’m not afraid to admit that as a young film fanatic I just didn’t really “get” the love and praise that was heaped upon Blade Runner.
My initial viewing of the film left me rather empty; sure it looked great and had some undeniably cool moments (plus a killer soundtrack) but there was just something about the film that didn’t sit well with me, a feeling like I was missing the point of the whole thing.
I’m grateful then for Blade Runner 2049, a film I really can’t wait to see, as the prospect of seeing Denis Villeneuve’s sequel made me revisit Ridley Scott’s film that initially left me wanting.
Re-watching Blade Runner (the director’s cut) made me come to grips with why the film has such a power over viewers and fans from all over the world.
Scott’s stunningly designed and captured film is a clear influencer of sci-fi and filmmaking as a whole; its fingerprint seems evident on countless projects that followed it and there’s a lived-in vibrancy to this futuristic landscape of 2019 that would be hard to replicate even today with all our super powered computer generated imagery at our disposal.
Blade Runner is also a relatively straightforward story that holds many dark and impactful undercurrents. The journey of Harrison Ford’s replicant hunting Rick Deckard isn’t hard to follow, but all the underpinning examinations of what it means to be human, Roy Batty’s famous speech in the rain of Los Angeles and the feeling that Blade Runner’s landscape is one that feels like it could one day come to fruition, give Scott’s film a power that can’t be denied and will likely never be fully replicated.
To be perfectly fair and honest, Blade Runner is not a flawless or faultless film and some elements of both the script and more character centred scenes haven’t aged spectacularly, but Scott’s film is one of those rare movie beasts that has an indescribable magic running through its veins and from all reports a magic that against all the odds has been re-captured for a sequel many thought would never see the light of day.
Unlike tears in the rain, Blade Runner’s lasting legacy will likely never be lost in time.
What are your thoughts on the original Blade Runner? Which version is your favourite? Overrated film? Whatever your thoughts let us know about them in the comments below!