Seen: On dvd on our big screen/projector set-up, rented from Hollywood Express.
I know Blade Runner is like a main science-fiction movie of all time, but when I saw it in high school I was underwhelmed, to the extent that I didn't watch it again for years during which time very little of it stuck in my mind. This was a period when I was really getting into dystopian film, and so I had very high expectations that it totally didn't meet. Now doubting my own opinion of it, I knew I needed to give it another try in my better-informed adulthood. Based on a Philip K Dick book, Blade Runner is set in a futuristic universe in which super-advanced humanistic robots known as "replicants" are used for outsourced labor but aren't allowed on Earth. When four of these androids escape to a giant Earth metropolis it's up to Rick Deckard, a so-called "blade runner", to track them down and terminate them.
Working with multiple storylines and ambitious in both its moralistic and visual scope, Blade Runner aims to be the definitive sci-fi noir. The dark urban imagery is punctuated with neon lights and flickering video advertisements, while cops fly around in hovercraft and people of East Asian descent traipse along the debris-laden streets. The buildings are decrepit but beautiful, and there never seems to be much sunlight. It's a future where apparently only technology has advanced, where people continue living their own shitty lives but with new ethical quandaries to ponder. The possibility of artificial intelligence breeding a new lifeform, of the validity of an android's claims to personhood, of the responsibilities humans have as we advance beyond our own means, are all interesting and loaded areas of exploration here.
Unfortunately none of them are really explored in depth. The weak story and god-awful pacing make Blade Runner somewhat difficult to slog through at times, and good ideas are presented but never followed through. I think the most interesting character is actually Rachael (Sean Young), a replicant who thinks she's human. But she is relegated to a weird romantic subplot and all but forgotten while Harrison Ford runs around trying to stop robot crimes or whatever. Yes, the imagery is gorgeous and influential, and yes, Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer are memorable as the main escaped replicants, and YES, Harrison Ford is a babe, but honestly, I'm just not in love with this movie. I watched the newest version, which I believe is the closest to what Scott had originally intended before the studio added the voiceover and happy ending and all that, so I feel like I've seen it at its best. And still thought it was just ok.
It's inexplicably slow-moving, and doesn't use much of its extra time to develop the characters or subplots. It is layered in narrative hints and questions, and I know upon future viewings I would find new revelations, but I don't have all that much interest in watching it a third time, at least not in the near future. Because it's so goddamn slow. Seriously. I like the premise though so I hope to read the source novel sometime before I'm 30...
Pair This Movie With: The visuals and atmosphere remind me of my favorite dystopian film, Brazil, while the lack of sunlight and noir-ish attributes are reminiscent of Dark City.