Saturday, March 1, 2014

Discuss: Blade Runner

Karen: I saw this film again recently and was struck once more by Rutger Hauer's fine performance, and left thinking again on life, and how very short it is, whether you're a replicant or a human being.

Karen: To some degree the film itself has been overshadowed by all the controversy over the different versions there now are of it - a number of different cuts exist besides the original theatrical one. Regardless, Blade Runner is still considered by many to be one of the best science fiction films ever made. Although I did note upon my recent viewing that we're now only five years away from its "future" setting! Thankfully our world is not quite the cesspool we saw on the screen. 

Karen: I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the film. Mine are decidedly mixed.


Doc Savage said...

I'm optimistic that at our current rate of progress we can make it happen in 5 years! It's change you can believe in.

dbutler16 said...

I don't have much to say, but that it's one of the best Science-Fiction movies of all time. I'd certainly put it in the top 5 - either the theatrical release or the Director's Cut, though I think I prefer the Director' Cut.

Edo Bosnar said...

Matt, ha! You may just be right about that...

Otherwise, I think Blade Runner is indeed my favorite SF movie. I prefer the standard theatrical release version over the director's cut, but either way, it's top-notch. Yes, I loved Hauer in it, but one shouldn't overlook some of outstanding performances put in by the rest of the cast, especially those in supporting roles, like Edward James Olmos as Gaff.
Also, I'm a big fan of Philip Dick's writing, and I have to say that even though the movie is only loosely based on his novel, it's the only cinematic version of any of his work that does justice to the original.

Doc Savage said...

It's the only Dick book I have read...I think...maybe I'm forgetting something else. I read the synopses on the backs and wind up putting them back on the shelf but I hear they're good. I'm
just not into a lot of the "high concept" stuff he seems to be into.

Sean Young was great in this as Rachel. She was really good for a while. "No Way Out" comes to mind. What happened to her? I read Han Solo hated working with her. There was a good book about the making of "Blade Runner."

Was "blade runner" a phrase coined by Dick? I recall W.S. Burroughs using it as well.

Not a movie I watch much but I acknowledge it is great. But I'd sooner watch "Wrath of Khan."

Tony said...

One of my favorite sci-fi movies ever. I saw this originally when it came out in the theater. I have always preferred the original version with "Decker's" voice-over. To me, the later version without the voice over always seemed weird.

mr. oyola said...

I have only seen 2 versions of this - the original theatrical version MANY times and the first director's cut sans voice over only twice.

I think the original cut is best. The voice over gives it that noir detective story feel that I think it part of what makes it work.

Just goes to show that sometimes unfettered "creativity" is not best - sometimes it is better to do what you can within constraints and then be done with it.

lynn said...

The November 2019 date seemed faaar more "futurist" and highly anticipating back in 1982 than it does today.

Imagine having Thanksgiving with Zhora and Pris with Roy at the head of the table giving an eloquent grace ala his "Tears in rain" soliloquy.

"I've seen turkeys you people wouldn't believe."

J.A. Morris said...

I think the original theatrical cut is the best as well. I think it's a good film, but I also think it's a bit overrated.

B Smith said...

"Was "blade runner" a phrase coined by Dick? I recall W.S. Burroughs using it as well."

Burroughs borrowed the title, and nothing else, from "The Bladerunner" a novel by Alan Nourse, set in a future where medical practice is forbidden, and "blade runners" are those who deal in illicit instrument supply.

(Wikipedia says slightly different, but I'm going by the detailed article that appeared in The Comics Journal when the film [and comicbook adaptation] was released)

david_b said...

I saw a test audience preview of this on a college campus back just before it was released..

It was alright, couldn't get too much into it.

Anonymous said...

I loved the movie when it first came out, but I much prefer the "directors cut," which loses the voice-over narration and has a far more ambiguous ending. I think it makes the viewer fill in more of the gaps on their own, and supply more of the meaning.
In fact, there's a lot of ambiguity in that film. I watched it with my brother once and told him Dekker was, in fact, one of the replicants, the one that supposedly got killed when they first escaped, and was reprogrammed and sent after the rest of them. And look at the end: nobody human could take the kind of physical battering Dekker takes at the end, and not end up dead or in traction.
My brother says I'm wrong.
I dunno. I don't what that thing with the horse meant either.

fantastic four fan forever said...

I guess I missed the whole point of the film. At what point does it reveal Deckker is a replicant?

I like the movie, however in the director's commentary it was revealed how Ford fired one of the set designers because he didn't like the sets in one scene. It had nothing to do with the quality, however being a former carpenter, he didn't like his work. Shouldn't that be left for the director to decide?

It showed me how he wasn't the nice guy he portrays himself to be. Also revealed in the commentary, was the fact that he wasn't easy to work with.

But I digress, the movie was good, however I agree with Matt Celis, I'd rather be watching Wrath of Khan.

One more thing....what did the origami unicorn symbolize?

Doc Savage said...

Pretty sure neither the film nor the book ever say whether Han Solo is actually a replicant. It's better left up to the viewer/reader.

Anonymous said...

I think (just an opinion) they were suggesting that Dekker might be a replicant, but left it up to the viewer to decide for themselves, just like they leave it up to us to decide whether in the end they get away or not.
But Dekker takes a terrific beating throughout the film, which makes me wonder.

Michelle said...

I saw it as a pre-teen during its first run in the theaters and then again as on video in my 30's. I loved it both times but for different reasons. Such a classic - it will be loved as long as there are movies.

Edo Bosnar said...

On the topic of whether or not Deckard (NOT Dekker) is a replicant, I think Matt and Anon above have it right - it was supposed to be ambiguous. At least, it was in original movie, and this was something that it shared with Dick's original novel.
However, I recall reading later that the director, Ridley Scott, is pretty insistent that Deckard is in fact a replicant. No ambiguity. Personally, I like the matter left open to interpretation.
As for the unicorn - and this reminds me that I really have to rewatch the movie, it's been many years - well, I think Gaff leaving the little origami animals behind was generally his way of taunting Deckard, because he knew Deckard was (probably) a replicant. Also, and this is why I have to watch it again, Deckard at one point had a dream featuring a unicorn, but now I forgot whether this was in the original release or in one of the directors' cuts. Again, more evidence for the replicant theory.

Anonymous said...

The question of, uh, Deckard's identity (and name!) aside, the thing seems to me a meditation on mortality.
Whatever your beliefs, we all see death as an end, and if you don't believe in an afterlife, a final and complete end.
Roy observes in his final scene that everything he is, everything he's done, all of his incredible experiences, his memories, his feelings and even his capacity for love, will be washed away like "tears in rain." His monologue at the end was an attempt to leave something of himself behind in the face of oblivion, even if it's only a couple of anecdotes couched in poetry.
Roy didn't even have the luxury of hoping or pretending to have faith in an afterlife, because he was an android.
Reality is personal. It's Crises on Your Own Personal Earth. Only it isn't the Anti-Monitor destroying the universe and everything in it, it's just you running out of time. which, for an individual, amounts to the same thing.
jeez, this is a creepy subject.

Anonymous said...

As a movie, Blade Runner the Final Cut, is on my iPod. I find myself watching it over and over again. Now I'm realizing I may be watching the wrong movie.

Of watching the movie wrong? I've always viewed Deckard as human. Rachel isn't. But Deckard placed a value on her that makes her more than what she is. With Karen's and Doug's discussion of the Vision retcon, one of the questions that has been central to the Vision is is he human. We see many of the other Avengers viewing him as cold, artificial, a walking computer if you will. In Blade Runner, the replicants are temps, throwaways. tools to be used and discarded. To placate them, they've been artificially sweetened with false memories. But they've always been viewed as unreal. Cutting back to the Vision, his brain was patterned after the dead Simon Williams. Key word her is DEAD. Yet Simon Williams, the dead guy, has a long history as an Avenger. He's DEAD. But there's never been a question about his humanness. Same thing with the replicants. Never a question about their non-humanness. Everybody knows they're not. Except the replicants. It's not the old question/desire: I want to be loved, it's more I want to be valued. That's how I've always watched Blade Runner.


PS (looking forward to Pancake Day).

PPS I know there's no robots, but can a replicant post?

Doc Savage said...

Prowler, a dead human was still a human, so no question that Wonder Man was human. Post-resurrection I never thought of him as human. He has glowing red Kirby krackle where his eyes are supposed to be, for one thing. Vision never was human and never can be. Nor was he ever alive. To me it's a huge difference.

Teresa said...

I've read four PKD novels.

My favorite is 'The Man in the High Castle.'
If you like alternate history, this is for you.

Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies. But I don't wantch it very often. I get drawn into it and can't multi-task.

In recent years I found out this bit of trivia:

"Originally, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) was to have a lengthy monologue just prior to his death, as written by David Webb Peoples. Hauer felt this didn't help in creating any dramatic impact in the scene, so he removed much, keeping the pieces he liked, and then added the last two lines, "All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

Wow. That takes my breath away. That is an amazing line. He is so creative.

"Interestingly, at the time there was an actors strike but it didn't include set designers so when everyone else was showing up at the picket lines for the strike, these workers had to show up for work. There weren't any other workers on the set so these guys kept showing up and kept adding more and more layers to the set scenes."

I saw the movie in the theater. I wasn't old enough to truly appreciate it. But the depth and layers of the set had me transfixed. I really was in awe of that 2019. It seemed so real.
I didn't get that feeling again until 'Watchmen.'

Doc Savage said...

Rutger Hauer is a gem. Ladyhawke is another great film from this era of his career.

Karen said...

I expected Hauer's career to take off and it never really did -at least he never achieved the sort of stardom I thought he would. He wound up in a lot of bad films over the years. I don't know anything about his personal life but I'm sorry that he didn't go on to make more high quality movies. I thought he showed talent in Blade Runner, Nighthawks, and some other things.

Doug said...

Nighthawks -- one of the those 70s pictures with a great ending. Not on the level of Bronson's "The Mechanic", but pretty darn good!


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