Home > Dynamics Plus - artist, Movie and Anime Reviews > Blade Runner 1982 Movie Review

Blade Runner 1982 Movie Review

Blade Runner 1982 Movie Review

Blade Runner Poster

Blade Runner Poster

Harrison Ford (Star Wars Han Solo and Indiana Jones) plays Deckard; a burnt-out detective on a mission to hunt down and eliminate a dangerous group of androids (called Replicants) in a futuristic society that’s rendered in a hauntingly realistic way. I assume you’ve seen this movie by now, so expect spoilers to be found throughout this review. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Whenever I talk to my friends about movies, the question always comes up, what’s your favorite movie? -or at least what’s on your top ten list? Blade Runner has held a top position for many years, along with movies like 2001, Excalibur, Alien and of course Empire Strikes Back and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I can pick many technical reasons for Blade Runner to hold the top position, from the way the special effects hold up decades later, the classic story or even the total believability of the world the characters inhabit.

Creating a story is more than developing characters or building tension to a satisfying climax. Those elements are important, but we cannot overlook the importance of creating a living and breathing universe for the story to evolve in. Mad Max and its sequel The Road Warrior gave us a post-apocalyptic world that would influence countless films and honestly speaking, let many writers off the hook from the responsibility of creating any kind of world to surround their stage. You see the dessert, a few junked cars and you know what happened before the first day of the story. It’s accepted that we’ll all wear rags and sport Mohawk haircuts.

Blade Runner did the same but in the opposite direction. Director Ridley Scott took the Phillip K Dick story and created a technically advanced society that was shiny at the top corporate level and yet dirty and depraved at the bottom. It feels like a proper translation of the 80s and it still feels right 30 years later. It’s real to us because we can imagine ourselves living and operating in that world. It’s real to us because we feel like if we live long enough we will live in that world.

Sci-fi as a genre tends to be crippled by the weight of its gadgets, gimmicks and gizmos. Many writers rely on the tech/hardware to draw us in instead of our human flaws, emotions and inner drives. Most of these heroes did, well, nothing before the first day of filming. Blade Runner has many props- from the flying police car, zeppelin-sized flying billboards to androids that can pass themselves off as human-better than Arnuuld the Terminator. All of this nerd-candy does not take the place of good story-telling and characters that change and evolve as the story progresses.

The music and soundtrack are flawless as Vangelis uses his synth-wizardry to merge the music and sound effects into a wonderful backdrop that never resorts to laser zaps to let us know we’re in the future. The musical score reflects and reacts with each scene perfectly and always matches the on-screen tone.

Romance works in movies when we all want the couple together by the end of the flick. Most movies simply throw them together enough and boom, you assume after all that adventuring, they just have to hook up. Cue the big kiss and roll the credits. Chemistry is easy to create when there is only one hot chick and one hero in the movie. Star Wars was faced with a crisis as fans were split between Luke and Han for Leia. Lucas chickened out and reached way too far and suddenly decided to make Luke and Leia brother and sister ->add another yuck for the kiss in Empire. When Deckard (Ford) meets Rachael, she is stunning and also way above his level of sophistication. When he sees her next, she is vulnerable and he blows it. Later, he reaches out to her and she blows him off. Boy loses girl. BUT! She comes to the rescue and now you can’t imagine them NOT together. The chemistry works for me. I would want Rachael. Hell, I want Sean Young. While all of this is happening, you are not aware that their relationship is developing, no, you are too busy worrying about robots, guns and how this whole mess will get fixed.

Bad guys are important too. Blade Runner uses the tried and true formula of a super-smart boss surrounded by not-so-smart henchmen. Certainly as simple as some of these extra characters are concerned, there are hints of additional history and relationships. If you note that Replicants are given false memories to create a cushion, Leon is carrying pictures of Zhora. Deckard found Zhora’s snake’s skin cell clue in the shower of  Leon’s apartment. What does that tell you about the relationship between Leon and Zhora? And during her show, right before Deckard meets Zhora, you hear the host say “Watch her take the pleasure from the snake.” Which explains why she’s tickled when Deckard questions if she’s even been asked to do anything offensive by the management. Very funny. Rutger Hauer is at his best playing the leader and supremely dangerous Roy Batty. It adds more tension when you believe the bad guy can beat the good guy. He is also given the wonderful privilege of delivering the best lines/monologue in the entire movie.

 Is Dekard a robot too?

Ridley Scott assured Harrison Ford that he would not be playing an android since Ford thought a robot chasing a robot wouldn’t be interesting to him. In subsequent versions of the movie, deleted scenes (the infamous unicorn running in the forest dream sequence) were added that left that question a mystery and open to debate.

In conclusion, this is my favorite movie because it works for me on every level. It’s a fine story wrapped in the fabric of Science Fiction. I  am not a movie critic; I am simply critiquing a movie.

– Dynamics Plus

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  1. March 7, 2012 at 9:01 am

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