Blade Runner

images.jpegBlade Runner

Ridley: 1982

Over this year my beloved and I are watching a film by either Ridley or Tony Scott. We’re watching in chronological order (well, except for this one, because it took us a while to find it…). There are, of course, spoilers.

J: Hello vintage opening … Like something from an 1980s computer game…

Also old school long from credits up front.

A: love a good scroll-up of back story. Early 21st century artificial people eh? Using them as slave labour? Not so hard to believe if you push it back another century or so. Love that this also imagined humanity was colonising other planets already.

J: Visual cues that link bank to Alien.  The pyramids.  Lights.  Tones. Also Harrison is so young!

A: well that was a bleak opening. And I’m not just talking about the colours, but that is a big part of it. Did the giant ad on the side of the building of the Asian lady start with this movie? And you want young? Edward James Olmos! By golly he’s young! And his eyes are freaky.

J: Blue and teal started before Michael Bay … Just sayin’.

A: the music is going to be an interesting part of this care of Vangelis. Very noir-futuristic. I also wonder whether The Fifth Element was deliberately mirroring the Chinese takeaway scene.

Aw old policeman story. Poor old Deckard just wants out and the boss is a hard-ass.

J: There is also a huge Fifth Element vibe to this film.  Or perhaps it’s more fair to say … The Fifth Element is the more utopian version of this film.

A: not only in the visuals but also Bruce Willis’ character – pulled back into the military, etc.

Meanwhile let’s consider Rachel – not knowing who and what she is, a… plaything for the Tyrell Corp, or more specifically for that sociopath at the head of the company. Urgh.

J: It’s the ‘future’ but the photographs are still from film (film stock rebates in prints). The TVs and technology is quite dated. It seems ‘neon’ makes it futuristic.  Also China/Asia themes… ‘exotic’.

A: Also futuristic: great big buildings and flying cars. EJ Olmos, I adore your obsession with origami and mucking around with matches. I don’t know why you use the walking stick but you are all ‘round awesome so far. And you’ve barely said a word.

J: Blonde arian looking dude = Assume bad.

A: Rutger Hauer. Quite the spunk at this stage (and he’s aged well too), and so intense. While Brion James, he’s quite intimidating.

Rachel still doesn’t get to say much, even when her world is crumbling around her. That’s pretty annoying. I admit Ford does a good noir broody detective.

Those toys are the freakiest part of the entire film. I quite like JF. He’s so innocent.

Old-school looking tech… but voice controlled. Such a mix of old and new for 2016 eyes. Also, high-tech stuff on the streets, use of it being peddled like takeaway food.

J: It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen this film, its influences are so strong, but also it’s been influenced by early scott films.  The computer systems are very Alien, is this the ‘time’ or the re-use of ideas, designers or perhaps just the Scott aesthetic ?

A: the snake-dancing lady, Salome, is awesome. And it turns out she’s a replicant. I love that the scene of her being killed isn’t played as a dramatic enemy-death, but that the music makes it clear this is a tragedy, and to be lamented.

J: Music = Sad parts of Lethal Weapon.  Or is it just 80s synth.

A: Olmos what is with your EYES?! And aw Deckard, your response to the idea that you have to ‘retire’ Rachel is adorbs.

J: “ Wake up … time to die” …

A: Aaand then Rachel kills Leon.  Despite which, as she points out to Deckard, who really cares how he feels after a kill – that it’s ‘part of the business’: “she IS the business”.

… BAM: ever take the Replicant test yourself, Deckard? No answer because he’s asleep.

The bit when she’s sitting at the piano is pretty odd though. And as a seduction it kinda sucked…. And then it’s a ‘he forces himself on her and secretly she wants it despite trying desperately to leave’ scene and that’s really gross. Not romantic to compel the lady to say ’kiss me’, and so on, Ford. URGH.

J: And now we want to get it on with the replicant.

A: There are a lot of noir elements here that I am not getting, I’m sure.

I will be sad if (when) Sebastian gets hurt. I like him… and amused/saddened that they give him Methuselah syndrome, nice little parallel to the replicants as they themselves acknowledge.

The question about length of life, and whether it’s better to burn brightly or burn long… these are things that humanity has been considering since Achilles. Also killing your creator (damn that was a harsh way to do it, Roy). There are a lot of biblical overtones here, too. Roy is literally called the prodigal son by his creator.

(Sebastian lives in The Bradbury apartment! Cute!)

AND the attention to detail in the worldbuilding is glorious. The people on the streets, the rain, the buildings…

Dolls can be REALLY CREEPY. And Darryl Hannah is her kill-Deckard-scene is both creepy and poorly treated, I feel.

J: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz……….

(J didn’t keep watching from the beginning of the confrontation between Roy and Deckard.)

J: Breaking fingers through the wall … ewww … I’m outta here

A: Deckard, you’re really not looking well at this point. Is it Rachel? Is it fear that you’re a replicant? Is it wishing you were still retired? Too much booze?

On the roof: the slave can indeed be more merciful than the bounty hunter. That pleases me.

Aw Roy. Freedom, at last. Tears in the rain.

It’s disappointing to me that the film doesn’t end there on the roof. But along comes Edward Olmos and points that ‘it’s too bad she won’t live’… and Deckard is off to find her… and she’s alive, in bed, declaring her love and trust for the man she barely knows. And off they go into the wide blue. Or black, in this case.

J: I didn’t make it to the end, I tried twice.  I loved the aesthetic – ironically I felt like I was watching The Fifth Element the whole time (which of course is inspired by Blade Runner) … the story never grabbed me, it felt clunky, slow and confused.  I never loved any character, who was good, who was bad, who did I root for ? Honestly I feel a bit guilt, this is a ‘classic’ which I’ve never understood.  I’ve tried 4-5 times, same result each time… ZZZZZzzzzzz… .

8 responses

  1. I remember watching this when it first came to video and I think this was the only time I have ever watched it from beginning to end without falling asleep.

    1. I think James will be pleased to hear this!

      1. I have always felt guilty about admitting it. : D

        1. So does J, which is why I’m glad he has company 😀

  2. This remains my favourite film ever.

    1. So what I’m hearing here is that this film is quite divisive ;D

  3. […] – Alien (1979) Ridley – Blade Runner (1982) Tony – Top Gun (1986) Tony – Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) Tony – Crimson […]

  4. […] film. A: not one I’ll rewatch endlessly, but beautifully constructed.  Ridley – Blade Runner (1982) J: Zzzzzzzzz….  A: I appreciate what it’s doing, and it is beautiful, but I doubt […]

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