Film: Blade Runner

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Film:

Blade Runner

Director: Ridley Scott
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Warner Home Video

When Ridley Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn’t done it right the first time—11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what’s been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phoney happy ending) rather than what’s been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further…

Reviews

Amazon.com

When Ridley Scott’s cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn’t done it right the first time—11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what’s been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phoney happy ending) rather than what’s been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further “explanation”; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn’t use it. (Moral: Never overestimate the taste of movie executives.) The movie’s spectacular futuristic vision of Los Angeles—a perpetually dark and rainy metropolis that’s the nightmare antithesis of “Sunny Southern California”—is still its most seductive feature, another worldly atmosphere in which you can immerse yourself. The movie’s shadowy visual style, along with its classic private-detective/murder-mystery plot line (with Ford on the trail of a murderous android, or “replicant”), makes Blade Runner one of the few science fiction pictures to legitimately claim a place in the film noir tradition. And, as in the best noir, the sleuth discovers a whole lot more (about himself and the people he encounters) than he anticipates. The cast also includes Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah Rutger Hauer and M. Emmet Walsh. —Jim Emerson

Barnes and Noble

One of the most beautiful and visually influential science-fiction films ever made, Blade Runner established a futuristic film-noir style that combines and transcends the sci-fi and detective genres while pondering the nature of what it means to be human. Set in 2019, Los Angeles, director Ridley Scott’s adaptation of author Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? stars Harrison Ford as world-weary android-hunter Rick Deckard, who slogs through the nightmarishly run-down, overcrowded urban dystopia that L.A. has devolved into, attempting to find and kill four escaped “replicants”—physically superior artificial people bred for slavery. In the process of his investigation, he falls in love with a next-generation replicant (Sean Young), who is initially unaware that her human “memory” is largely implanted. Rutger Hauer, as the dangerous yet tragic replicant leader, and William Sanderson, as and infirmed, soul-burdened tinkerer who helped design the androids, turn in performances as stunning as the film’s production design. For Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut (1992), Scott removed Ford’s noir-ish narration, changed the happily-ever-after ending (which had been added at the studios insistence), and added a short, dreamlike scene involving a unicorn that expanded Deckard’s unspoken anxiety over his own murky nativity. Frank Lovece

Related Works

Album:Blade Runner: Original Soundtrack

Blade Runner: Original Soundtrack

Vangelis

For years, the soundtrack to Blade Runner held legendary status among fans of Greek synthesist Vangelis. Except for a few cuts on the Themes compilation, it had never been released on vinyl or CD, although there was an orchestral version of the score. But in 1994, 22 years after Vangelis composed the dark, edgy soundtrack to director Ridley Scott’s archetypal science fiction thriller, the music of Blade Runner came out in all its cybernoir glory.

Vangelis couched his electrosymphonic score in percussive rhythms and shadowed timbres.…

Book:Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep…

They even built humans.

Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified,…[more]

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