Thursday, 21 September 2017

Blade Runner (3 Stars)

After 35 years a sequel to "Blade Runner" has finally been made. It's planned to be released in the cinemas next month. That's a good enough excuse for me to rewatch the original film for the first time in 20 years.

I only vaguely remembered the film, more the images than the plot. I saw it on television and had no wish to buy it on DVD, which is a sign that I didn't enjoy it much, but I could no longer remember why. I know that many people consider it to be the greatest science fiction film ever made, so I thought it would be worth investing a few Euros in the Blu-ray edition of the Final Cut. This was first released in 2007, so it's not the version that I previously saw, but I assume that this is the best version, since the director Ridley Scott was personally involved in the re-editing.

In the far distant future -- 2019 !!! -- the colonisation of other planets has begun. Artificial humans, called replicants, have been sent to these planets to make them habitable before humans arrive, and to act as slave labour when humans arrive. The replicants are identical to humans in all ways, except for greater intelligence and physical strength, and a complete lack of emotion. They're created as fully developed adults. The artificial intelligence of the replicants sometimes results in a development of emotions, so they've been built with a four year life span. It's illegal for replicants to visit the Earth.

Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, an ex-policeman whose job was to hunt down replicants on Earth who are either fleeing slavery or trying to find ways to extend their lives. The arrival of four extremely dangerous replicants causes his former boss to beg him to take up his job again.

After watching it again, I can see why it didn't appeal to me. The special effects, especially the futuristic views of Los Angeles, look cheap. The project was too adventurous for the technical possibilities of 1982. I can see that "Blade Runner" influenced "The Fifth Element", which succeeded visually due to the superior computer graphics available in 1997.

I don't like the fact that the whole film takes place at night. There's no justification for this in the plot itself.

The story is far too slow and plods from scene to scene. This would be acceptable if the film were building up to something, but even the final showdown is slow. The final conversation between Rick and the replicant Roy reminds me of the confrontation between Captain Willard and Colonel Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now", but it's not as deep. That's probably what I dislike most about "Blade Runner". There's a constant feeling of depth in meaning, but when you look closer it's just an illusion.

I honestly don't see what's so special about the film, but I'm prepared to discuss it with my readers. Please leave comments.

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