Blade Runner

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dystopian futures have been a part of science fiction since it’s earliest days, but, in my opinion, was not fully expressed in film until 1982. Blade Runner had a tremendous effect on my views of science fiction and film. Prior to Blade Runner, I was your typically under informed sci-fi nerd. Born of the Star Wars generation, most of my science fiction was in fact young adult sci-fi and space operas.
I hadn’t yet become aware of the works of Philip K. Dick and cyber punk was still several years away. I went into Blade Runner expecting a sci-fi action flick and came out a changed person. It wasn’t the story that moved me. It was the films depiction of a future that hadn’t occurred to me. It was if I went into the movie and saw a new visual language that was unlike any I had seen before.
It was like the first time I saw Star Wars at thirteen (which was the perfect age to see it). I was instantly smitten, as I would be six years later when I saw Blade Runner. Blade Runner may have actually resounded deeper with me, as it caused me to seek out a whole different genre of science fiction.
That first viewing, while containing that crappy voiceover, was truly mind bending. As the movie went through various iterations over the years, the way I felt about it has never changed.
When I saw the Directors Cut in 1992 without the voiceover and with the added of question of whether or not Deckard was a replicant himself, it was if I saw the movie again for the first time. The Final Cut fleshed out the world and gave it more atmosphere.

It is a rich, well thought out world. The chaos of some of the scenes what with crowded streets and ever present steam and rain make the world come alive. Things going in in the periphery of the camera lens, if not understood, are just as compelling as the main action. It is a fully realized vision, much like that other sci-fi great, 2001: A Space Odyssey. 
The gritty nature of this future lead me to other great dystopian stories, like Nineteen eighty four, A Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451. The idea of seeing what the world looks like when things go wrong is so much more interesting than a utopian world. 
Today I watched Blade Runner: The Final Cut for the fourth time this year and it confirmed to me that it is a world I wouldn’t want to live in, but do like to visit. 


  1. Will have to watch it with you.
    I've heard that there are bits that didn't get into the movie - the world is buried in decay because everyone who could has gone to the stars…

    Wonders if the comic version did a better job - I always got that Deckard could be a replicant.

    Thumbs up on distopia - something always goes wrong on the way to utopia.

    1. I wonder if my passion has more to do with the look of the film. That is what keeps me coming back to the movie.


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