In the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard is called out of retirement to terminate a quartet of replicants who have escaped to Earth seeking their creator for a way to extend their short life spans.
I declare _Blade Runner_ the best sci-fi movie of all time. Arguments? No? Okay. So long. Please upvote the guest book on your way out.
WAIT! There's more. At the risk of whistling conspiracies and setting off inappropriate vibrations in your slacks, you see, this Ridley K. Dick concoction is going on right now. While we're all transfixed by the endlessly goofy droppings from the web, forever staring down and swiping things on our smarty-pants phones, retweeting selfies of infinitely mirrored selfies; proliferating at light speed, every aspect of humanity is being replicated, perfected, mechanized, optimized, upgraded, fortified, robofied, Googlized, quantumized, DNA'd and NSA'd and will soon converge to fall upon and supplant us, and Harrison Ford, despite looking trim for his years, will be too old to stop it! And the irony to end all ironies is that we, as the irresponsibly arrogant, over-infested and narcissistic caretakers and consumers, and the colossal defecators of this broken-down, flea-bag of a planet, are entirely fundamentally responsible. No, the irony of all ironies is that a world exclusively dominated by self-correcting technocratic cyborgs with zettabytes of artificial intelligence will be a vast improvement. The androids are saving the planet! AHHH, run for your life! Blade Runner is both an expired cautionary tale and emerging utopian fantasy.
Oh, you knew this already? Very well. Carry on. Enjoy your self-driving cars and virtual nature tours.
Retirement - Replicants - Resplendent.
Blade Runner is one of those glorious films that has gained in popularity the older it has gotten. Ridley Scott's follow up to the critical and commercial darling that was Alien, was by and large considered a flop and damned for not being a science fiction action blockbuster. There was of course some fans who recognised its many many strengths during the initial weeks of its 1982 release, but many who now claim to have loved it back then are surely looking sheepishly in the mirror these days, for the hard-core minority of 82 fans remember it very differently.
Remember the spider that lived outside your window? Orange body, green legs. Watched her build a web all summer, then one day there's a big egg in it. The egg hatched...
Anyway, that's by the by, the point being that a film can sometimes be ahead of its time, misunderstood or miss-marketed, Scott's masterpiece is one such case. Story, adapted in fashion from Philip K. Dick's story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is pretty simple. It's a dystopian Los Angeles, 2019, and there are four genetically engineered Replicants - human in appearance - in the city, which is illegal. They were designed to work on off-world colonies, any Replicant who defies the rules will be retired by special police assassins known as Blade Runners, and Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is on this case. A case that will prove to have many layers...
A new life awaits you in the Off-world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!
Ridley Scott gets to have all his cakes to eat here, managing to blend intriguing science fiction with film noir. That the visuals are outstanding is a given, even the film's most hardest critics grudgingly acknowledge this to be an eye popping piece of visual class - the mention of eyes is on purpose since it's forms a key narrative thread. That it is awash with eye orgasms has led to critics calling a charge of beauty over substance, but the deep themes at work here tickle the brain and gnaw away at the senses.
Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.
Mood is set at perpetually bleak, a classic film noir trait, and paced accordingly. Scott isn't here to perk anyone up, he's here to ask questions whilst filtering his main characters through a prism of techno decay, of humanity questioned to the max, for a film so stunning in visuals, it's surprisingly nightmarish at its core. The emotional spine is ever present, troubled when violence shows its hand, but it's there posing an intriguing question as the Replicants kill because they want to live. And this as our antagonist, Deckard (Ford a brilliantly miserable Marlowe clone), starts to fall for Rachael (a sensually effective femme fatale portrayal), one of his retirement targets.
Tears in the Rain.
As Rutger Hauer (never better) saunters more prominently into the story as head Replicant Roy Batty, the pic evolves still more. Haunting lyricism starts pulsing away in conjunction with Vangelis' rib shaking techno score, while Jordan Cronenweth's cinematography brings Scott's masterful visions to life, key characters one and all. Visuals, aural splendour and dark thematics - so just what does it mean to be human? - Indeed, curl as one in a magnificent cinematic achievement. A number of cuts of the film are out there, and all of them have fans, but Scott's Final Cut is the one where he had total artistic control, and the scrub up job across the board is quite literally breath taking. 10/10
The movie's story didn't do much for me, however I did find parts of it confusing. After watching it I found out that I watched the "Final Cut" which has a completely different ending and different implications from the theatrical release. I didn't understand those implications...I needed to look up the ending online. Whether that's because the movie is confusing or I'm dumb, I can't say. But my friend I watched it with didn't understand it either.
After looking up the end's meaning, I did find it a bit more satisfying. But the main reason this movie is worth watching is the visuals. Not sure I'd watch it again any time soon though.
Some people will say this classic sci-fi "has nothing to offer other than overrated cult-status". To that, I would respond, "it has Rutger Hauer on a rooftop, and that's enough for me".
_Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite._
(3.5 for the Theatrical Cut, 4.0 for the Final Cut)