Can you believe Blade Runner will be 30 years old this year? Just one year younger than myself, it’s a film I’ve grown up with and Rutger Hauer still scares me. Many of the actors have gone onto other things, captain of Battlestar Galactica or sheriff of Bon Tempes, even one appeared in The Fifth Element, a film that owes a lot to Ridley Scott’s classic.
Watching it now, it doesn’t feel like a film of the eighties, excusing the occasional use of synthesiser for the soundtrack, and even that somehow seems to fit the mood. I did watch the final cut edition so I’m sure it’s been tidied up a bit but still. The atmosphere is excellent and the low key lighting reminiscent of film noir. Perhaps my half forgotten memories of Blade Runner are why I like photographs lit through venetian blinds.
The early dialogue is lifted pretty much straight from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It made me wonder why everyone kept going on about how different the two were but it soon veers from the original plot. PKD’s San Francisco is empty and forgotten but resembles the current day city near enough. Scott’s is modelled on Tokyo, cramped and lit with neon. Humankind has not fled the earth. Though how Sebastian has found an abandoned hotel to live in, I don’t know.
The Voigt-Kampff test doesn’t really make much sense in the film. There is no real explanation of the part animals have to play in this future, except that artificial ones are more common, so that the questions in the test don’t appear relevant. So what if a man has no desire to save a tortoise in the desert? The whole test is out of context yet I think you need to have read the book to realise this. To me, Roy Batty shows empathy in Blade Runner that he wasn’t capable of in Electric Sheep.
I found it rather amusing that TDK of cassette tape fame would be paying for electronic billboards in 2019. After looking further into the history of the film, it seemed that there was a curse on companies that were advertised within, with losses and bankruptcies soon to follow.
All in all, Blade Runner is an action film based on the concept created in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It’s a stylish and tense thriller but after reading the book, it feels a little unsatisfying.
There are mutterings that Ridley Scott is planning a sequel and wants to bring Harrison Ford back as Deckard. First Indiana Jones, now Blade Runner, you think he would like a quieter life at his age! I imagine it’s either going to be a quieter, more introspective film or there will be another main character running about killing things.
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