Blade Runner Reviews
When the lines are blurred this heavily by the increasingly human actions of the Nexus series, and the ambiguity around Deckard with Gaff seemingly aware of his unicorn dream, does it really matter?
Blade Runner is a very good film, but I did not find myself loving it like many other people. I do think the story and effects were ahead of its time, but in my opinion, they feel dated by today's standards. I take that back about the story. I can't think of any other complex sci-fi flicks that have to do with androids that were released before Blade Runner. There were some things that I did enjoy. The effects were very cool, the writing and storytelling is strong, and the acting is very good. Blade Runner is based on Philip K. Dick's novel, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Once you see the film, you'll understand the title of the novel more clearly. The film is very complex and mental. It has to do a lot with how the mind works. I guess this is where Inception may have gotten some inspiration. I didn't fully understand the movie after my first viewing. I had to read theories and explanations on the Internet and they surely gave me a better understanding. Blade Runner's story is very cool. I was a little bugged by the pacing. I watched both the original cut and the Director's cut and they seemed to pace the same way. The tone of each version was different however and I really appreciated that.
Harrison Ford takes on the lead role in Blade Runner and he portrays Rick Deckard very well. He also adds emotion into the performance. He knew how to kick butt. The supporting cast is all good, but I though Rutger Hauer was great as Roy Batty. He just had that sinister looks on his face and every time he appeared on screen, you know he's up to something. His famous "Tears in the Rain" monologue was just epic. Sean Young did a good job as Rachael, the innocent Replicant. Edward James Olmos' character was pretty cool and I liked Daryl Hannah as the seductive Replicant, Pris. Now I have a crush on the character. The cast played their parts very well.
Blade Runner is indeed a well-crafted film. Ridley Scott's direction is awesome. He claims it to be the most "complete" and personal film he has directed. The cinematography and atmosphere in the film is exciting. This is a good example of an escapism film. The original cut of the film is pretty good, but I prefer the 1992 Director's cut. It had more a dark and mysterious tone while the original one felt more like an action thriller. Either way, both version is worth taking a look. I plan to get my hands on The Final Hands and the Workprint version. The score in the film is like a mix between jazz and electronic music and I did like it. Blade Runner was a very good film. I'm glad that I watched it. I just wasn't blown away like many people. I need to re-watch the film again since I feel I'm missing something. I did catch one of the most important themes and I was able to see why many people call think this is influential. It may take me a few more viewings before I come to understand the film. Anyways, Blade Runner is an original and epic sci-fi film.
"Wake up! Time to die!"
Los Angeles, 2019: Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a 'Blade Runner' - a unit of the police force that hunt and kill human clones, known as 'Replicants'. Replicants have been declared illegal after a bloody mutiny on an Off-World Colony, and are to be terminated upon detection. Some have escaped and prowl the streets of Los Angeles looking for answers from their creator. This is when Deckard's services are called upon.
Loosely based on the novel "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" by, the master of the genre, Philip K. Dick. If you are familiar with Dick's immersive and intelligent ideas, then you'll know exactly why this film works on so many levels. On the surface, it one of the most gorgeous pieces of cinema ever committed to the screen. The opening shot of the vast, dystopian city of Los Angeles - dubbed "The Hades Landscape" - is an absolute feast for the eyes and
a vision that's yet to be beaten, even by today's standards. The city itself is stark, rain drenched and has a heavy Eastern influence. Giant global corporations are rife; slavery, overcrowding and a decaying environment permeate the proceedings. Cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth can't be praised enough for his eye in capturing this inhospitable future world. This is also helped immeasurably in it's realisation by Production Designers Lawrence G. Paull and Syd Mead; Art Director David L. Snyder and Douglas Trumbull's exquisite special effects. Everyone pulls their weight in capturing the sheer visual beauty of this film. Underneath the luscious surface, courses a deep and philosophical pondering. The reference to French philosopher Rene Descartes and his metaphysical statement "I think, therefore I am", addresses the doubt we have as living beings and the nature of our existence. It's a recurrent theme throughout the whole picture.
It's a film that is renowned for being tinkered with. Several different cuts were released over the years. The original had Harrison Ford supply a Philip Marlowe like voice-over, talking us through the events. This was deemed insulting to the audience as it caused continuity problems. However, I actually liked it. It gave a film-noir feel that complimented the look of the film but no matter which cut you prefer, the film is still a masterpiece regardless. It also boasts excellent performances from its entire cast. Ford has been outspoken about his dislike for the film but he has rarely performed better and Rutger Hauer is commanding throughout - with his shiver inducing, "Tears in Rain" monologue, going down as one of cinema's classic scenes. The haunting soundtrack by Vangelis also deserves mention and accompanies Ridley Scott's creativity perfectly.
It's testament alone that with all the big budget special effects these days that a film done in the early 80's still stands as one of the most amazing visual spectacles ever made. And how many films do you come across, that not only look astounding but also channel Film-Noir and Cartesian doubt?
This connects on a visual, emotional and philosophical level that few films have ever achieved.
Blade Runner: International Cut, 82
Personally I liked the narration by Deckard during the film, it gives it a more classic black n white noir detective feel, which its suppose to be like really. The added seconds of gore n blood do add that extra punch too, good version and better without the 'Legend like' unicorn dream sequence in my opinion (which appeared after this cut in the Director's cut in 92, but that was not Scott's actual version, others did it I believe)
The recent final cut is of course the best and most picture perfect version. The few touch up's (unlike Star Wars) actually do improve the film and finish it. The workprint recently available in the 5disc DVD tin is probably my favourite version now.
We follow Rick Deckard, a retired Blade Runner, whose job description was "retiring" Replicants who are exactly what you think; synthetic humans. After a group of fugitive Replicants cause a stir on Earth, Rick is brought out of retirement to track them down.
I am one of the few people who have read the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Phillip K. Dick's sci-fi which the film is based on and, let me tell you, there's a marked difference between it and the film. The film's moody presence and foreboding atmosphere, its noir-centric style and its intriguing and troubled central characters are almost all products of the film, not the source material. It's a tribute, then, to Ridley Scott's vision that the film is all these things and more. Opening with hypnotic wideshots of a dystopian world where flames billow skyward from smokestacks below and moving into the opening sequence with Leon's interrogation, all underscored by a Vangelis electronica, it's clear that Scott's vision is not going to be easy going. Scott is unafraid of moving slowly through a scene; focussing on a detail or nuance for a time before moving on. This means that each and every moment hits with a thud without being trampled by the next one. He also shows his keen eye for visuals. There is a reason that Blade Runner is the preferred example for film teachers everywhere for matters relating to noir and Scott's imagery is why. Contrast and shadows abound with silhouettes and smoke creating a world with the same murky quality as the subject matter involved. Scott also manages several action sequences without breaking the movie's style, making each second rivetting in each scene. His production team must also be mentioned here, as the visuals in the movie would not have been as mesmerising without the incredible city design. Like Alien before it, Scott's film manages to create a future civilisation which is recognisable but so removed from today's world. It's a bleak outlook, filled with synthetic animals and synthetic humans alike, an almost sterile quality to the surrounds. Scott manages to bring this all together with the story seamlessly.
Harrison Ford was already Han Solo and Indiana Jones by the time Rick Deckard rolled in. The character is so far removed from these two jovial heroes that it must have been a confusing choice to begin with. But the casting is perfect. Ford's comedic side occasionally comes to surface but his hard-bitten, cynical persona is the dominating one here and he portrays it brilliantly. His sarcastic smile is also out in force but it's the restraint which he shows which is the most fascinating here. Some scenes involve very few lines and Ford doesn't seem altogether willing to give much away to the viewers, preferring to keep them in the dark as to his true feelings. It's this sort of depth which gave the studios the idea to record a voiceover for Deckard, something which neither Ford or Scott wanted, for the theatrical release. But after repeat viewings his performance becomes more and more impressive without the overblown emotion or character arc which Oscars are given out for. Sean Young plays Rachael, Deckard's eventual love interest. Her performance is a hard one to nail down as she plays jumprope with the line between femme fatale and damsel in distress. It is easy to tell that it's amazing, however, as she's able to convey mountains of emotion and intention with a flick of her eyelashes. Her interview with Deckard is one of the best moments in the film and is filled with an uneasy sexual tension coupled with a testing each other out feel. She is a key player in a difficult film and as such the burden of responsibility must way heavy but she never seems to show it. The eventual sexual overflow reaches a climax when Rachel turns up at Deckard's apartment and the strained emotion is beautifully portrayed by both actors. The two of them apart are fantastic but together the two of them are spectacular. But stealing the show with a brilliantly batshit performance is Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty. His icy, detached yet fascinated glare is always intriguing and downright scary at times and his delivery of his perfectly left of centre lines is as alienating and magnetic as it gets. Ordinary lines like "police-man?" turn into pure gold with his performance and his genuinely disturbing turn to unhinged is an amazing thing to watch. And of course, there's that incredible line about c-beams and attack ships which might have been overly sentimental in someone else's hands but with Hauer it's so haunting and riveting that it'll stick with you for a while.
Vangelis also adds to the film's atmosphere with a haunting electronic score, perfectly underscoring what's happening onscreen. Despite the fact that it's not very flashy or rousing, it's perfect for the film. The very first scene is one of the better opportunities which the score gets to shine, permanently marking Scott's skyline with its slowly invading hum. It's a brilliant piece of work in an incredible composer's repertoire despite being overshadowed by his work in Chariots of Fire.
Hampton Fancher and David Webb Peoples' work with the script is something so often overlooked in a film glorified for its style and sumptuous imagery, but it's a masterclass in restraint and realism. Deftly moving between the strange romance between Deckard and Rachel and the ongoing police drama, Peoples and Fancher are able to manage all the aspects of their story with a strangeness and surreal quality which is almost impossible to replicate. It's almost reminiscent of Paul Schrader's ability to rivet and unnerve in the way that each scene is impossible to look away from but subtly disturbing in so many ways. It had to be an incredible script to support Scott's and it definitely is, in its realism and its restraint and Peoples and Fancher's ability to juggle so many complex relationships so fully.
Ridley Scott's vision is beautifully realised in this cyberpunk masterpiece which will forever leave its dystopian mark on cinema. It's not often you see flying cars and unicorns in the same film.
It's tough to say but it might have to be the Batty and Deckard showdown culminating in that amazing line.
I need ya, Decks. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.
You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down...
Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled around their shoulders... burning with the fires of Orc.
Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother.
Let me tell you about my mother.
Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.
It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.