Friday, June 15, 2012

A Reel 30

“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

1982 was a banner year for movies, with many significant films in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. This month marks the 30th anniversary of Sir Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER
BLADE RUNNER was a loose adaptation of the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, by Philip K. Dick. It is a sci-fi tale set in the future, where genetically engineered humans (robots) called replicants are featured prominently. The replicants are banned from Earth and relegated to off-world duties. Those who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and “retired” by special police operatives known as “Blade Runners”. In Sir Scott’s film, the Blade Runner is Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who is called out of retirement to hunt down a few rouge robots.

The film was a visual landmark at the time. Perhaps inspired by METROPOLIS (1927), BLADE RUNNER depicted a breathtaking vision of 2019 Los Angeles; where the wealthy lived in a built-up environment, miles above the workers while soaring around in flying cars. Outside of the visuals, Sir Scott injected a noir-like atmosphere; it was basically a 1920’s detective/gumshoe tale set in a fantastic world. The film also carried heavy themes of man vs. machine, and the consequences of man’s creations reaching a bit too far.
Harrison Ford, who was coming off of great success in STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, was not the first choice for the lead role. A long list, including Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Pacino, and Burt Reynolds was at first considered. Although BLADE RUNNER had a much different atmosphere and pacing from STAR WARS, Ford’s presence brought in sci-fi fans who may have been looking for another take at Han Solo.

This Blogger as never been the biggest fan of BLADE RUNNER. While nice to look at and full of strong ideas and concepts, the film has a trudging pace to it which tends to suck the energy off the screen. But outside of personal taste, BLADE RUNNER’s place in history is solid. Not only has it become a massive cult-favorite amongst sci-fi fans, but it has also been an inspiration to many films over the past 30 years which were looking to do something never seen before.

“Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life; my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got?”

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