Better Late Than Never: BLADE RUNNER
By Lenny Pierce on March 6, 2014
The Film: Blade Runner (1982)
Age at Which Author Finally Saw It?: 26
How Could You Have Missed It?: When I was about 19 I actually did try to watch this movie. The failed attempt went something like this: I was at a buddy’s house one rainy afternoon in Maine and we decided to pop in that “weird sci fi movie with Harrison Ford” that we’d both never seen. About 2 minutes into the movie we realized it was about 10X darker (in tone and picture) than we expected. That would have been fine, but at right about that 2 minute mark the clouds broke outside and the sun came out. Since the Maine summer lasts about a week and a half, we thought it was worth putting a dystopian 2019 Los Angeles on hold to go outside and experience a 2006 utopian Maine.
Impressions: Maybe the omnipresent Harrison Ford is influencing this comment, but I felt like the entire movie took place in the Cloud City’s carbon-freezing room. Keep in mind here that I’m simply not a dark movie guy. It took me a few rounds to sweeten up to There Will Be Blood and I will stand by my Jedi over Empire stance to the death. All that being said – I enjoyed to movie from start to ominous and head-scratching finish
What I loved most about this movie was simply the concept itself. The idea of robots who might not be so emotionally distinct from you and I is one that never gets old for me. Any movie deserves a lot of credit the second you start empathizing with its machines. The empathy tests used to identify replicants were also philosophically stirring and I couldn’t help but put myself in the test taker’s position while they were underway. I found myself wondering how I’d react if a little kid were to show me his butterfly collection and soon thereafter the killing jar. I loved the irony that the one way to determine somebody’s humanity is to assess their empathy for animals.
The other thing I love about this movie is the grunge. Sci-fi settings that aren’t clean and shiny always really excite me and Blade Runner’s 2019 Los Angeles pulls this off masterfully. To the decrepit building interiors to the grimy street eateries, this film nails the notion that the future isn’t necessarily going to be a spotless gray and white wonderland of technology.
Are You A Convert?: I’m a convert, but not a particularly devout one. There is a very specific condition under which I’d be more enthusiastic about my conversion and that is if I could watch a sequel, or even a whole trilogy. The concept of this movie is so dense and interesting that I found myself wishing I could see it explored further. Without subsequent installments its hard not to feel like I saw only a fraction of what I wanted to see. I want to see where the replicants work, I want to see a more diverse set of social structures between these semi-emotionally capable beings, and I don’t want to just hear about a hear about a mutiny – I want to see one. And yes, I know there are vague talks of a sequel in the works, but I think it’s too late to create a fluid transition. The newer installments would naturally be too modernized for me to feel like they had much to do with the original. Oh yeah, and Rick Deckard is 71 years old now.