Blade Runner isn’t about the metaphysics, it’s about the value of life. The replicants were created to be a race of slaves and given a logical limit to their lives to keep them from developing identities of their own. They were created to be lives that have no value, and Ford had to realize they did have value and it was wrong to enslave and hunt them.
BLADE RUNNER is one of those films that dazzles on a first viewing only to disappoint on further viewings. I find Ford’s performance in particular to be rather grating — all that heavy Gloom. And the film has some real issues — that really incredibly extended final chase scene just goes on for far longer than it has any reason to.
There’s no denying that BLADE RUNNER has managed to enter our collective consciousness, though.
“Blade Runner isn’t about the metaphysics, it’s about the value of life.”
Right, but there is still this idea about what makes human human, and what brings this process about. Is it a soul, is it consciousness etc. these are some of the questions raised and fans and critics have gone nuts talking about this stuff in relation to the film. That is the metaphysical aspect of Bladerunner.
I recently watched Blade Runner. Mind was nuked. SFX wise it tops any modern CGI film. How did they manage to put that on film in ’82?
I think people’s frustration with Blade Runner is that it puts forth a brilliant concept that then leaves soo much to be explored. But if that would have had to come at the expense of the epic cityscape shots….meh I’m ok with lack of character development. And this is coming from someone who is all about character driven films.
Also, I just want to point out, there is only one way to truly enjoy the beauty that is Blade Runner…..
^^ON A BIG MOTHERFUCKING SCREEN — absolutely.
On the other hand, it took all those years of seeing it on assorted video releases to really drive home for me te film’s problems, with the surface dazzle lessened. It took me about 25 years to finally be able to admit that I don’t really like the film all that much, for all the brilliance of the execution.
Speaking of big motherfucking screens, I saw William Wellman’s WINGS at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, in that radiant restoration with live music and foley sound effects. A real marvel in many ways, the aerial dogfight scenes are damned impressive. Alas, the rest of the film is a batch of war movie cliches, with a rather tired romantic triangle. The male leads, Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers, are okay at best, but the film belongs to Clara Bow who just LIVES onscreen in way that nobody else is able to.
I saw the restored Blade Runner when it was released in theaters a couple years ago. I still don’t get what all the fuss is with this film.
^unreal. did SEE it? I mean really…the visuals. the music. made in 1982.
^unreal. did you SEE it? I mean really…the visuals. the music. made in 1982.
I like the memory element too. How we trust our memories but really…they aren’t that reliable/verifiable. But memories make us, us.
THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1975) – 5 out of 5 stars
(Still working on it.)
I had the opposite experience. I didn’t like it all that much the first time I saw it, but liked it a lot more when I came back to it years later. I think the first time I saw it I took issue with the fatalism stuff and the bad combat choreography.
Can you go into some more detail about the memory element? I didn’t notice that as a theme, at least not before the final speech about how the memory of them will fade away into irrelevance.
I tend to have a more ‘nurture informs nature’ approach to the issue. Our memories teach us the result of similar situations to help us better achieve our natural goals.
I enjoyed watching Sean Young’s character grapple with her ‘existence’. She is defiant at first when she is told that her memories are not hers. But she has to come to terms with that reality. Were her emotions, both in the fake memories and present day coping with being a replicant, real? I found her struggle fascinating. She appears vulnerable and emotional. Would she eventually become like the rebellious replicants and seek survival. And isn’t this drive for survival as human as it gets? I feel like there is a connection Blade Runner tries to make between memories and the emotion attached to them. They are real, but they aren’t in the scientific synapses firing in our brains way.
Even Deckard starts to question his own existence. In the final cut, he has that dream/memory that greatly disturbs him. Roscoe called out Ford’s acting, saying he played it too ‘gloomy’. Ford has very little dialogue. I’m not sure what to make of the gloom. Is it bad acting choice by Ford or is there significance there. You yourself said that Ford has to realize the value of the replicants’ lives, and that is ‘wrong to enslave and hunt them’. Perhaps he has realized this and that’s why he is clearly unhappy (though not humorless) throughout.
It seems to make no sense whatsoever. He should hate Deckard for what he did, killing replicants, including his lover. He is capable of murder for sure.
edit 2- I had a half baked idea while watching the ending that the replicant thought Deckard was a replicant too.
Why does Roy save Deckard’s life?
Maybe to show that indeed a replicant can be extremely humane. He values life in a Christlike way, even the life of someone who relentlessly hunted him and his fellow replicants down. It’s his way of saying “forgive them, they know not what they do”.
I don’t get all the fuss about great effects in the early 80’s.. isn’t that when they were at their peak? After Star Wars and 2001, but before they slid into the homogeneity of CGI.
Nobody seems to ask: Why does the replicant save Deckard’s life?
Actually it is asked quite a lot. This was yet another theme in Blade Runner I had to write an essay on.
EDIT: The most common idea is that it is representing Roy’s humanity. Deckard doesn’t hesitate in killing the replicants and would have killed Roy if he had the chance, but Roy not only saves Deckard from falling to his death, but then spares his life, showing greater empathy in him than in Deckard, ultimately proving the Tyrell motto “More human than human”, which then also ties it back to another one of the major themes in the film: what is exactly does it mean to be a human?
I had a half baked idea while watching the ending that the replicant thought Deckard was a replicant too.
Never heard this before, but I don’t think this situation would be possible.
Wait wat – seriously you never heard the “Deckard is a replicant” theory"? Or are you saying you never heard that Roy thought he was one?
No haha, I meant about Roy knowing Deckard is a replicant.
EDIT: Sorry, if he is a replicant.
Ah ok, gotcha!
In one sense I think Roy was the most “alive” person in the movie, and he woke up Deckard from that brooding everybody has been complaining about. I think he considered that his mission just before he died. Whether or not Deckard was a reppie, by movie’s end he’s more human than he has been throughout.
^On the theme of more human than human and Deckard’s brooding/being less alive than replicants:
It just occurred to me that Roy was a lot more affectionate towards his replcant lover than was Deckard to Sean Young’s character. I thought he was extremely cold towards her in the scene where she is beginning to accept that her memories aren’t real. Interesting juxtaposition.
I got the impression Roy wanted to prove he had free will and was not thinking one dimensionally based on his programming.
That’s interesting about her struggling with the implanted memories, trying to separate who she is with what she was programmed to be, I hadn’t considered that angle. I tend to think that it wasn’t her memories that made her who she was, it was her memories that stopped her from questioning her programmed behavior.
I think the idea is that as they approach the 4 year programmed lifespan the replicants have now experienced enough and built their own memories quite apart from the artificial implanted ones and they are indeed becoming fully human – more so than Deckard and many “real” humans.
Um… what thread is this again… ? ;)
Blade Runner = OVERRATED. Yeah, I said it. I’m with Santino here. What’s the big deal?
Emporte-Moi (Dir. Lea Pool, 1999)
There’s an awesome idea here: 13 year old girl, Hanna, sees Vivre sa vie and begins to mimic Nana from the movie. When Pool is focused in on juxtaposing Hanna with Nana, the results can be compelling. Otherwise, it’s a run of the mill coming of age story, complete with the requisite sexual orientation confusion and first period. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s fading from my memory already.
There’s an interesting thread in the movie about how Hanna’s father is Jewish and her mother is Catholic, and Hanna claims neither religion. But, like many other things in Emporte-Moi, the tension never gets its due, and we are left with only a hint of an idea.
Fireworks Over the Sea (Dir. Keisuke Kinoshita, 1951)
The worst Kinoshita movie I’ve seen yet. It has all the melodrama of a soap opera but none of the sex. It’s a crowded movie, pulling in far too many directions at once. There is one amazing tableaux shot of a fight aboard a ship that just blew me away. The rest of the move is not worth the time.
A New Leaf (Dir. Elaine May, 1971)
Absolutely hilarious and equally touching. May is a comic force as a rich botanist and Walter Matthau matches her as a trust fund baby who has finally run out of money and looking to marry himself back into some.
One of the best movies I’ve seen this year.
Hotel Transylvania – ugh
^ The trailer scared me enough.
Firmly in the “overrated” camp when it comes to Blade Runner, and Ridley Scott in general. Alien is decent but uh… Have you guys seen some of these other films he’s done? G.I. Jane, Matchstick Men, Kingdom of Heaven… yeah….
lol. Actually, Matchstick Men is one of my favorite Ridley Scott films.
@Nathan – How did you watch A New Leaf? Is it on Hulu or something? I’ve wanted to see it for years but it’s not on DVD.
It’s on Amazon Instant. My sister-in-law has a Prime membership and I noticed it there for my free viewing pleasure. It’ll be on DVD and BD on Sept. 4th, though.
Oh great! I’ll wait for it on DVD in Sept.
They actually had a screening of it at LACMA several months ago but I was unable to go. I’m glad to hear it’s finally coming to DVD.
Im srprised New Leaf is coming out on dvd. the only.version i found online was a bad video rip. havent bothered watching it though because of the quality