It is time for the third entry in my year-long series in which I revisit some of the most classic films to be released 30 years ago in the year 1982 (the year of my birth).
This month marks the first film in this series that I am seeing for the first time – the science fiction classic Blade Runner. Despite being a first-time viewing, I’ll will still proceed with a full discussion, which may include some SPOILERS.
For this post, I rented the 5-disc Blu-Ray of the film, which featured no less than five versions of the film (theatrical cut, international cut, director’s cut, final cut, and workprint). Since I wanted this series to be authentic as possible, I opted to watch the theatrical cut of the film.
Blade Runner is an interesting film, since it is essentially a mash-up of two different genres. At its core, the film a film noir and features many of the elements inherent to that genre. However, the twist here is that this film noir story is taking place in a sci-fi world.
An interesting thing to point out about this “futuristic” story is that it is set in 2019, which is now only seven years away. Of course, the world we currently live in is not really as futuristic as seen in the film. I also like to point out that I was very impressed with the special effects in the film. Blade Runner was made long before CGI was the norm, though I couldn’t really tell that watching the film. Of course, I was watching a high-definition version of the film, which probably helped.
Moving onto the story, Blade Runner is about Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), who is on the hunt for a group of renegade “replicants”, lead by by Roy Batty (an awesome performance by Rutger Hauer). One of the main themes of the film involves whether or not these artificial beings really deserve to be hunted down and killed. Deckard’s moral compass gets complicated when he begins to fall for an advanced replicant named Rachel (Sean Young).
Before seeing the film I was already familiar with Rutger Hauer’s great performance as the villain Roy Batty. However, I did end up being disappointing that he wasn’t in the film more. There was like one scene with him early on and he doesn’t really show up again until the third act. That said, despite the relatively short screen time, he is still a great character.
One thing I should bring up, which I was already familiar with before seeing the film, was the debate about whether or not Deckard himself was a replicant. Apparently there are some hints towards this in the other cuts of the film and Ridley Scott apparently confirmed it at one point (even though both Ford and Hauer prefer Deckard being human). I for one watched the film on the assumption that Deckard is human and that the movie works better this way. This is especially true for the final showdown between Deckard and Roy, since the possibility that Deckard is a replicant dilutes the message that Roy is a replicant that is, in some ways, more human than Deckard.
Overall, I would say that Blade Runner is an excellent science fiction noir story that still seems to hold-up in this day and age (perhaps even more so).
Next month (the actual month of my birthday), I will be checking out a film that was a hit in theatres when I was born and is often considered one of the most successful Canadian-produced films of all time – Porky’s