Their have been a lot of sci-fi movies over the years and many have had their own degree of influence on the genera, especially in the 80s. That decade saw the release of many great sci-fi movies such as The Terminator, 2010: The Year We Made Contact, (although it's now 2011 and I'm still waiting to hear about a Star Child), Aliens, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Tron. The one I want to talk about today, however, is one whose influence is just as great, if not greater then these films. This is the Illusive One's Review of Blade Runner.
Released in 1982, the film was directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, and starred Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. While unsuccessful at the box office when it was released, Blade Runner has since developed a huge cult following and is now considered to be one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi movies of all time. The AFI has sense ranked it at 98 on their list of greatest films of all time, and number five on their top five greatest sci-fi/fantasy films.
It takes place in 2019 dystopian L.A. where humanity has begun to colonies other worlds. To do the more dangerous work on these worlds, humanity creates androids known as replicants who are virtually identical to humans in every way. However, in order to keep the replicants from developing their own emotions they are given a four year life span and have been made illegal on Earth. Whenever one of these replicants shows up on Earth, they are hunted down and “retired” by cops known as blade runners.
The actual story of the film revolves around semi-retired blade runner Rick Deckard (Ford) as he hunts down four murderous, fugitive replicants led by the replicant solder Roy Batty (Hauer) as they try to find a way to extend their lifespan.
Since its release, there have been about five different cuts of this film, each of which has added scenes, editing and dialogue but from what I gather there are two main versions, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. So to start out, I'll get into the positives and negatives both versions share.
On the positive side, it had a great dystopian environment, with a beautiful, yet dismal city skyline. The look and atmosphere of the 2019 L.A. of Blade Runner has been reused, copied, and mimicked in nearly every distant future film and has become the modern poster of the future city. There were also a lot of great themes involved, such as living in fear, as a slave and was one of the first pieces of media to introduce the idea that maybe intelligent artificial beings have a soul. While the groundwork for this had already been laid out, Blade Runner was the first film to really popularize the idea, (although films like Terminator 2 seemed to have stolen all the credit for it). Also,the casting was perfect. Harrison Ford was great as Deckard, Sean Young was good as Rachael, and the supporting cast members were all perfect for the parts they played. The one who steals the show, however, is Rutger Hauer as Roy who is all at once entertaining, creepy, sympathetic, evil and unpredictable. Oh, and Deckard's gun was awesome looking to.
Without getting to the different versions of the film, there is only one major negative thing I have to say about this film. The fight choreography; it was very bland, the fights were too short, and Deckard couldn't fight for shit and only won most of his fights by sheer luck.
Now for the positives and negatives of the different versions. As I stated above, there are two main versions of this film. The first includes a narrative by Deckard and a “happy ending”. The narrative was included because the storytelling of film was kind of vague and gave it a kind of detective story feel too it. On the positive side, this version gives more detail to the story and gives the viewer the idea that Deckard may actually be a replica himself. On the negative side, however, Ford was a horrible narrator and it just sounded like he was reading off a script and leaves no room for the viewer to interpret the plot as he/she sees fit.
The other version is what I like to call the Artsy/Unicorn Version. Supposedly this is the version both Ford and Scott prefer. It has no narrative, the fate of Deckard is left to interpretation as is much of the film, the hints that Deckard may be a replicant are much more subtle, and includes this weird dream scene where Deckard dreams of a unicorn running through a forest, (I still don't know what that was about and apparently only Ridley Scott is the only one who does). This version I actually liked more because the storytelling was vaguer and I like artsy movies but not everyone will because of the vague storytelling.
All around, this was a great film, with a good story line, a great environment, and great themes. Because there are two different versions of this movie I'm going to give two different ratings. If you're just a general movie viewer, I'd recommend seeing the narrative version, as it makes more sense and a lot more is spelled out for you.
However, if you like artsy movie then I would recommend seeing the Artsy/Unicorn Version.
Until next time, this is The Illusive One saying, Time to die....