An exceptional Philip K. Dick story could only go one direction, that direction being, an exceptional sci-fi film.
OVERALL SCORE –
Blade Runner is a 1982 sci-fi neo-noir film directed by Sir Ridley Scott, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, M. Emmet Walsh and William Sanderson. The film chronicles a specific assignment in the life of Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner, who has been commissioned to take out a few rogue Replicants.
Blade Runner is quite the interesting film for more reasons than its primary story. The film has an indelible influence on Hollywood and the sci-fi genre in particular. The film deals with complex themes, has a distinct visual style, a definitive score, an unmistakeable mood and a superbly quotable monologue as a cherry on the cake. The film has sparked multiple debates, has created a huge host of movie fans and stands in the upper echelon of Sir Scott and Harrison Ford’s works. Writing anything about the film while keeping its impact as an afterthought is a clear non-starter, but I’ll give it a try.
I took up rewatching Blade Runner after I rewatched the teaser for Blade Runner 2049 for the 10 millionth time. The reworked score took my mind back to the original and I found myself popping in the 1982 original. I was a pretty dumb kid when I watched this film the first time. As I watched it now, I could clearly appreciate the artistic value and sheer workmanship scattered throughout the film. The hand-built sets, the practical effects, the noir lighting, the fusion of eastern and western influences with the set design were all a joy to watch. What escaped my mind was also the significantly slow pace of the film. There are films which are deliberately slow and there are films which are poorly paced. I’m just not sure about the category this film falls into. It’s not that the story doesn’t progress but more of how it progresses. There is a lethargy present around the film, there are no great snippets of dialogue around the exquisite symbolism.
The film does what every good sci-fi film should, i.e. present prescient questions using a futuristic sci-fi backdrop. The questions are prescient enough, the answers are vague enough and the story is ambiguous enough to support it all. With all this awesomeness in the bag, my gripe is with the character of Rick Deckard. For some unexplainable reason, I would not be drawn to him or his problems. He just seemed to have too many things under control/his arc never delivered much tension. Sean Young’ Rachel and Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty were more appealing to me with the addition of Tyrell and Sebastian. Rick Deckard is the man who gives the audience the film’s most enduring question, props to that, but almost nothing before that appeals to me in any way whatsoever.
Blade Runner is mandatory viewing for film buffs for a reason. It is primo Philip K. Dick and there is too much artistry to ignore. It will endure much better than most other faster paced, actiony sci-fi films of the present of past. There is a reason for that. But taking the film on its own merits as a person watching the film on a random day, I’m hard pressed to give it an overblown glowing review at the risk of sounding like a contrarian dick. Hence, I look at the film and say, I recognize your greatness but you have your flaws as well.
OVERALL SCORE –
Please LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT AND FOLLOW and let me your experiences with Philip K. Dick stories.