I’m thinking, well hoping, that this wasn’t the version to see and that one of the other versions is the much talked about great Blade Runner!
Screenplay By: Hampton Fancher, Roland Kibbee & David Webb Peoples
Directed By: Ridley Scott
After many years of hearing about Blade Runner, the excellence of the movie, how it was science fiction personified, I am forced to be a voice of dissent. Although I did my digging after watching Blade Runner and I may not be a voice of dissent. I saw the original theatrical cut, and from everything I have read most people viewed it the same way I did, full of great visuals and some interesting ideas but not a good movie. For that reason I look forward to someday seeing either the director’s cut or final cut of Blade Runner and maybe then I will get what the big deal is!
But, I can only go off of what I witnessed in this version of Blade Runner, and what I witnessed wasn’t all that great. While I enjoyed the overall noirish vibe of the movie, I couldn’t stand Harrison Ford’s bad, oh so bad, voice overs. There was far too much bad exposition. The scene with Ford and M. Emmett Walsh where Walsh spells out everything the audience needs to know about the Replicants was so, so bad. Deckard has been a cop/blade runner for years, he should know all of this already. Probably the worst part of the film, that can’t be fixed unless the scene is removed altogether, was the obvious male stunt double for Daryl Hannah in her fight with Ford.
Where Blade Runner is most interesting is possible interpretations and philosophy. But, this is also where hopefully future versions will help to enhance the experience. I could see where the story was trying to go with ideas of humanity, life versus death, and what constitutes life? However, none of these ideas are fleshed out enough in Blade Runner. They are surface ideas, no more than that. A few changes and some added scenes could make the themes/ideas behind Blade Runner more powerful and more worthy of deep discussion, but in this version they are more a passing moment than something worth detailed thought.
There were areas that Blade Runner got down pat. Future LA looks amazing and combined with the cultural mixing creates a future that is extremely exotic yet also seems very possible based on humanities current path. Blade Runner is full of unique imagery that never ceases to be interesting. I also very much liked the gritty look of the film. Blade Runner didn’t create the dystopian future, but it helped to visually push what the dystopian future should look like.
Where a better version would come in most handy is the story (this also ties into its philosophy and interpretation). There is an interesting story, but it also doesn’t feel fully fleshed out in any way. The ending is another area where the story and the movie feels false. The entire movie has been oppressive and yet the ending is full of mountains and clear blue skies. If those places exist and the world is that free then why the heck are people living in the acid rain controlled cities? I know there is a good story in there, it just needs to be brought out.
For those Blade Runner fans about ready to lynch me, just remember I watched the theatrical version. Hopefully my opinion will be changed by the two “better” cuts. I hope my opinion will be changed, because I was looking forward to Blade Runner, it’s the type of movie I usually like. But, not this Blade Runner, this Blade Runner was a series of missed opportunities and empty themes.