Blade Runner is still a stunning thought-provoking Classic
Watching (Ridley Scott's) groundbreaking movie Blade Runner again (before seeing Denis Villeneuve's new Blade Runner 2049) without the terrible narration that neither Scott or (Harrison Ford) ever liked in the original theatrical release, I was reminded of what a great film this is, beyond the truly stunning visuals and haunting score by Vangelis. Based on the novel by writer Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) it posed truly fascinating questions about what it is to be a self, even if it means one that was created with other peoples memories planted in them. What rights they might have? I think the reason this film stands the test of time so well is the story, at its core, questions not only what makes an individual, but in the future, as technology advances with great leaps, when will this flip over and possibly destroy us? It's heavy stuff, and Blade Runner is a greater film than I think it even strived for. Not unlike the scientist who overreached in the movie, the filmmakers have unwittingly also kind predicted what is to come.
In the not to distant future, the world is in a state of decay. Pollution and overpopulation have decimated the Earth and its resources, and many people with the means, have left to live in off-world colonies. The less fortunate are still relegated to a grim Earth. Real animals are a rare site, and with the advent of technology, synthetic animals, and more importantly synthetic humans, or Replicants as they are called, are common. Replicants were created as a labor force, to do the bidding and mining in the off-world colonies. They were made to be controlled, but as the technology advanced more, replicants were almost indistinguishable from humans. Then, at some point, the synthetics started evolving on their own and began to develop the desire for free will and individuality. When revolts started on the off-world colonies by the replicants, where they tried to escape and human casualties occurred, a law was put into place that any synthetics that tried to get back to Earth, had to be retired.
The scientific genius's of these creations decide to put in a safeguard, to protect humanity from this kind of synthetic digression....they gave them a lifespan. At the Tyrell corporation, in a dark smokey room, a police officer
This is the setup of both films, but taking place some 30 years apart.
(Harrison Ford) plays the tired, battered, and now retired blade runner Rick Deckard who has seen his share of killing and has had enough. He hangs out in a rainy and dreary future Los Angeles, where flames bellow from factories into the already hazy skies and the sun never seems to come out. But there is a problem brewing. Apparently, the newest and most improved models of Replicants, designated Nexus 6, are supremely intelligent, and very much aware of why they were built. They have been causing all sorts of problems in the off-world sectors, and one group of very motivated Nexus 6 have killed some humans, stolen a ship and are headed to Earth. This is a big problem, as the authorities don't want this information getting out, so Deckard's old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) has Rick brought back into help them clean up this mess. He wants nothing to do with this until he is convinced by Bryant, that if he isn't police, he's nobody. Worse yet, another blade runner has just been murdered over at the Tyrell building, where he was sent to interview new employees who could possibly be one of the Nexus 6.
The Tyrell Corporation is the huge company, with the biggest building, looming high above the city, that creates Replicants.
Elsewhere in the city, the runaway Nexus 6 group have arrived in Los Angeles, led by the leader Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) a brilliant and ruthless being who will stop at nothing to find a way to see Tyrell. There is the dangerous Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), Pris (Daryl Hannah), and of course, Leon. Roy knows that he is superior to a human in every way, except that he only has a predetermined lifespan of fours years, and he wants more. He believes he has been cheated, and Tyrell, who created them, can help.
Upset now, Rachael visits Deckard at his home, confused and scared about who she is. Deckard is a bit befuddled by what he has got himself into, and the conflicting feelings he has now with a fake human, who might now be a target, as the authorities now know she is a replicant. With all of this, he still must track the fugitive Nexus 6. Priss, meets up with, on purpose, a lonely Tyrell geneticist J.F. Sebastian played by the fabulous (William Sanderson), who lives with the robotic toys he has made in a damp and gloomy building. Roy and Priss have been told that Sebastian can get them to see Tyrell.
This sets up the pieces that will smash together in Scott's film, and every frame of this movie is beautiful and awe inspiring with the haunting score. This is a future, with a gloomy prediction, of what is to come when technology becomes overwhelming and its very creators don't know how to stop it. I strongly recommend if you haven't seen it in some time, to watch Scott's director's cut of the film. You don't need the narration. The acting by all, is fabulous, especially by (Harrison Ford) (Rutger Howard as the tortured Batty) and (William Sanderson).Hauer is perfect for this role, and he understands that Batty, may not even be a villain at all.We would probably do the same thing.
They are all in on a film that has inspired so many a filmmaker since then, into this bleak and somber portrait of what is truly a classic.
watch the trailer: