Bladerunner

Yesterday we travelled to the future, although worryingly, not that far into the future, courtesy of me and Ridley Scott. I chose to take MNFC’s first step into sci-fi by showing Blade Runner, after a cunning double..triple…single bluff…no, red herring (!) of serving Mexican food.

blade-runner_2

Blade Runner is the story of Deckard, as played by Harrison Ford, a former policeman living in Los Angeles in 2019, whose job is to track down and ‘retire’ rebel replicants – advanced androids almost indistinguishable from humans created by the Tyrell Corporation to work on mines ‘off-world’, or for the purposes of pleasure – who is convinced to come out of retirement for one last job: tracking down 3 male and 2 female replicants who have come to Earth to try and extend their lives beyond the 4 year limit allowed by their makers; Deckard attempts all this whilst trying not to be distracted by the not inconsiderable charms of Rachael, a replicant created with ‘memories’ to make her more human than any previous model, whilst getting drenched by the incessant rain, and whilst being fairly regularly beaten up some of the aforementioned replicants. All clear? Didn’t think so.
The film is based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, so blame him! Ten of his novels have been made into Hollywood films, including Total RecallA Scanner DarklyMinority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau.
Blade Runner was first released in 1982 to a muted response from critics and audiences, but in the intervening 30 years has become a cult classic beloved of film geeks the world over, and influenced visions of the future in film ever since. Of most interest to my own inner sci-fi geek is the influence it had on the recent TV series Battlestar Galactica. The series also features conflict between humans and androids with the androids referred to as ‘skin jobs’, and Edward James Olmos – who played Gaff in the film – as a central character.
If  you would like to clear up any confusion and start the journey to true geek-hood you could check out lots of interesting facts on www.bladezone.com, or read some specially composed Blade Runner  fan fiction here, here and here.
To the joy of the geeks, the film has been released in two additional versions: the Director’s Cut in 1992, and the Final Cut in 2007. We watched the Final Cut last night, which confused some of the people who had seen either of the earlier versions.  Interestingly, the original version of the film had a happy ending imposed by the studio after test screenings, much to the disgust of Scott. It also contained a voice-over by Harrison Ford, much to the disgust of Ford.
To provide even more joy to the geeks, Ridley Scott announced earlier this year that he was starting work on a Blade Runner  prequel or sequel.
I’m sure you will all have noticed the influence of film noir on the style of the film. Our friends at Wikipedia classify Blade Runner as being neo-noir, with elements of cyberpunk, two genres I’m sure most of us didn’t even know existed!
As Adam pointed out last night, the film is considered to be rich with symbolism and significant themes, so much so that it has spawned its own Blade Runner themes Wikipedia page. Rather than bore you all with my musings on these themes I’ll let you look them up yourselves. For those of you not so bothered, they are in brief:
  • Paranoia
  • Technicism (I’m sure that’s not really a word)
  • Genetic engineering and cloning
  • Eyes and memories
  • Religious and philosophical symbolism
  • Economic inequality and corporatism (again, questionable word)
  • Environment and globalisation
  • Death and immortality
  • Deckard: replicant or human?
So now you know. One other page I uncovered also adds female stereotypes to this list, and some other conspiracy theorists who are straying towards the edge of sanity would have us believe in the film’s illuminati symbolism (The illuminati being a group which controls world affairs in the hope of establishing a new world order. Obviously).
Dear friends, soon it will no longer be Tuesday, so I am going to wrap up this review, in spite of the fact that I have barely skimmed the surface all the interesting, not-so-interesting, and downright weird stuff that is out there about Blade Runner. If all you can handle is some bite-sized trivia, including the combination of languages spoken by residents of 2019 LA and how Ridley Scott annoyed everyone during the making of this film, I recommend the trusty IMDB.
Becca xx
THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY! IT IS A PARANOID TECHNICISED CORPORATOCRACY!
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One thought on “Bladerunner

  1. Thanks Becca, another thorough and interesting tuesday review. Great, and unusual choice of films, and it’s great as was on my list of ‘films to see’ that I’d never gotten around to.

    Its nice that the issues about the different editions has been cleared up – seems more relating to editing than to story, other than a hollywood cheesy end for the original. I think the sudden end we experienced on monday adds a certain quality that leaves the film with you afterwards.

    It’s also interesting, how the critics were split 50:50 as to whether it was a work of genius, or a boring over-long brooding action film. But with the test of time, seems to have come out surviving as the prior. Any thoughts people?
    The symbolism of eyes certainly was apparent, but must admit some of the other examples passed me by. The true nature of Deckard seems to open up some debate online. My personal feeling is that how could he be a replicant if he’s been working for the police for so long; and the only thing that would suggest that was the throwaway ignored line “have you ever done the test on yourself”. The end suggests that go ahead and run away with Rachael as she’s gonna die soon, but no suggestion that Deckard would. And the final paper unicorn for me suggest that Gaff may have had some previous similar experience, or shows understanding for Deckard’s decision and his retirement, rather than prior knowledge of some ‘inserted replicant memories’. But that’s just me, any other ideas people?

    Thought I’d be nice to keep the discussions going between MNFCs, in geeky interest vibes.

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