Grauw’s blog

Favourite movie: Blade Runner

October 19th, 2006

(I have some movie reviews laying about that I wrote during the past years for the film club showings at the Parnassos cultural center of my university. This is based on one of them.)

One of my favourite movies is Blade Runner. It was released in the USA in 1982, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah.

Blade runner is percieved by many, including me, as one of the best science fiction films that exist. The movie has a grim cyberpunk-view of the future and a dark and rainy atmosphere in streets dominated by entertainment and neon, accompanied by the wonderful music by Vangelis.

The story goes something like this: in the year 2019 so-called Replicants exist, artificial human beings with a lifespan of only 4 years, created to do the worst and most dangerous jobs on the off-world colonies. After a bloody incident, they were forbidden to be on Earth, and to enforce this a special police force was set up, called the Blade Runners. Deckard (Harrison Ford) had the reputation of being the best Blade Runner, until he quit. Now however he is being recalled to hunt down five dangerous escaped Replicants, and to ‘retire’ them. The story presents a bleak future for human kind, where man tries to recreate itself, and the line between man and machine becomes very thin.

I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams, glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those… moments, will be lost… in time. Like… tears… in the rain.

Nowadays, the original version of the movie is extremely hard to find (I have it on VHS), and in DVD stores you will usually find the Director’s Cut. The story behind this is that when the movie was almost finished in 1982, Warner Brothers did not like the end result, thinking that it would not be appealing to a mainstream audience, and decided that the director had to make a number of changes. That is why they added voice-overs by Harrison Ford during certain scenes to ‘clarify’ the plot and fill up silences, and the ending was also changed to appeal more to the average moviegoer. Because of this in 1982 the people got to see quite a different movie than we now know from the Director’s Cut edition.

The movie is also said to have heavily influenced the cyberpunk (SD) Snatcher games on the MSX. There a lot of similarities in the setting and the theme, and it is probably not a coincidence that there are two dead JUNKER staff members in Snatcher with ‘Deckard’ as their last name.

The Blade Runner soundtrack (by Vangelis) is also a great CD to listen to. If I had to pick a track that I particularly like, it would be the End Titles theme, or the Blade Runner Blues, but actually all the the tracks are very good, some having samples of conversation from the movie and eastern influences.

So to sum it up, this is an awesome movie which you should definitely watch, and if you enjoyed it as much as I do and like the genre of music, I can also recommend the soundtrack. As for which version you should watch, the Director’s Cut is really the best version, and from a practical point of view, also probably the only version that you can get your hands on :).

A fantastic movie and great music for a rainy day!

(Although it is totally sunny out here in Japan, these days :).)