BLADE RUNNER (1982 USA)

BLADE_RUNNER_ANIM_G_BURLEYHow much has the world changed since 1982? Life seemed to make more sense. But our minds were unconsciously drifting away from reality, whilst reality slowly made its way towards the visions of this powerful film. ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?’, written by Phillip K Dick, was adapted to the screen by English director Ridley Scott into ‘Blade Runner’.

This film confused audiences who misunderstood a world which would seem more like reality only ten years later in the technology boom of the 90s. The film gained ‘turkey’ status upon its release and was quickly abandoned to gain dust in video libraries. Ten years later the world further resembled Blade Runner’s scary vision. Upon its 1992 re-release, tickets sold out before they even hit the box-office. Here began the Legacy of the most acclaimed Cult Film. Critics everywhere named it the most important science-fiction movie of all time along with Kubrick’s 2001 – and the most visually mesmerizing.

The plot follows the enlightenment of a Blade Runner (a cop) Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Los Angeles 2019, a dystopia falling apart from permanent drizzling twilight, and where technology dictates existence. Following early retirement from his police unit, Deckard is forced into a desperate assignment by his ex-boss ‘Bryant’. Four Replicants (humanoids) have escaped from an ‘off-world colony’, taking a shuttle back to Earth for unknown reasons. His mission: To kill all Replicants declared illegal on Earth.

Deckard’s unconscious approach to his job in a world deteriorating from lack of nature, sociability and eternal darkness slowly changes when his eyes open to the most important questions in life. Investigating into the Pyramids of the Tyrell Corporation, responsible for manufacturing the Replicants, he meets Rachel, who is revealed to be a Replicant.

Following a cold, immoral revelation to her about her origins, he is inevitably drawn to her emotionally, soon leading to his first sign of awakening Love. From a cold beginning, without any sign of ’empathy’ towards those around him, what Deckard finds out about Rachel, Elden Tyrell, and the so called “Evil” Replicants he intercepts, enable him for the first time to feel and understand Love, Hate and the preciousness of Life respectively.

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Roy Batty, leader of the Replicant mutineers, played convincingly by Rutger Hauer, is the most important symbol in the film, and is the ultimate enlightenment in Deckard’s quest for humanity in learning that human or not, love, compassion and empathy are the most important characteristics in life. Some Replicants are “more human than human”.

Contrary to initial perception, Batty shows these characteristics and we sympathize with him, something we wouldn’t usually do with an ‘artificial’ human, with theoretically no emotions. Tyrell becomes the focal point of human degradation, in that in his vision of technological advance, he brings humanity, morality and nature closer to extinction as he sits atop his corporation like a ‘Pharoah’. Finally, there are many evidences to suggest Deckard is a Replicant, and this has been immortal debate since release.

Either way, the film is filled with overwhelming symbolism and meaning, that one viewing of this art-work will be exhausting. In Ridley Scott’s vision, the Sun that gives life has been blocked out by pollution due to the dominance of technology, and dreams of Unicorns suggests we long for the past, for rarity in Nature. What one must notice is that ‘Eyes’ play a key symbol throughout the film in explaining this, for it appears that most are ‘artificial’.

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Countless copycats including ‘The Fifth Element’, and ‘Akira’ have tried to imitate this legendary vision of a dark world gone wrong, which only seems more possible as the years fly by. None have succeeded. The music composed by ‘Vangelis’ is God-sent, sounding so mythical and dream-like. Set designs and cinematography have rarely been equaled – marvelously detailed. The whole cast were superb in bringing their characters to life.

However I believe Rutger Hauer should have received the Oscar for his performance as the human like Replicant. He has a commanding presence. Sean Young, playing Rachel, was a great choice. She’s stunning and projects innocence well in showing Deckard’s shortcomings. I recommend everybody who loves film or philosophy to watch and explore its riches. I’m not a fan of Harrison Ford though, and I can’t give it a perfect seal of approval for that reason.

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