BLADE RUNNER (1982)
Watched the Final Cut version, which I greatly prefer to the others. I like all the different versions, though.
Midwest bumpkin note: I had no idea that the Bradbury Building was an actual place. I thought that Ridley was tipping the hat to Ray. One of many things I learned watching the 3 1/2 hour making of documentary included in the Blu-ray set, which barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to know.
So, Alien was essentially Ten Little Indians in space, but at the story’s core was the message that not only will large corporations strip you of your humanity, they will eventually replace you with something completely inhuman. Blade Runner seems like the natural extension of this thought process; You might be replaced by a robot, but really. . . what’s the difference?
Not only does Ridley find his voice on this film, but I would argue that this is the most “Ridley” any of his films will ever get. Ridley Scott: Unplugged. This is the kind of movie that directors usually make at the apex of their career, coked out of their mind in some god-forsaken jungle (See; Werner Herzog, Francis Ford Coppola, etc). The only reason I didn’t think of this movie as being completely bizarre as a child is because I was a child. I’ve seen this many times as an adult, but trying to watch it through new eyes, for the purposes of this blog, I realize how fucking weird this movie is.
There’s something extremely sleep inducing about this movie, and I don’t mean that in a bad way; 2001 A Space Odyssey is one of my favorite films, and I’ve had to catch myself from dozing off while watching it in the theater. It’s something about the mixture of the editing, with it’s dreamlike transitions; Vangelis’ “Kenny G meets Devo” score; and some of the strangest dialogue and affected deliveries. Characters will seemingly pop out of nowhere; Why the hell did Brion James just happen to be standing in the street? I guess you would assume that he was following Deckard, but there’s no indication or explanation of that. It all adds up to an intensely dreamlike experience. Pure cinema.
It seems like you can judge a director’s vision by their camerawork; The shakier the camera, the less likely they are to know exactly what kind of movie they’re trying to make. I think that Ridley had an inkling, and he knew generally what he wanted to convey, but I get the impression that he’s a director who figures it all out in the editing process. It’s taken me quite a while to really appreciate that type of process, but I’ve gotta respect the balls that it takes to just dive right in there.
Clearly influenced by Metropolis, but also clearly influential on any number of Expressionistic and Cyberpunk works made in the last few decades. A character piece disguised as an action movie, it raises questions without providing pat answers for you. It would have been easy to make the Replicants lovable, doe-eyed Na’vi types, and have Tyrell be a mustache twirling villain. Instead, the Replicants are twitchy, dirty and frightening, while Tyrell has all the recognizable shades of humanity. There are no heroes here, no villains; Just people, living in fear. I get why this movie was a bomb when it came out; It’s dark, no doubt about it. But, I personally feel like it ends on a hopeful note. There’s always room for us to feel compassion, even if it seems as if it died inside us long ago.
This is my favorite of Ridley’s films; He’s a world builder, and I think he should have stayed in the realm of the fantastic.
10 out of 10