JUNE 24th, 2002-
20 Years ago, BLADE RUNNER opened on June 25th, 1982. It is one of the most influential movies
of our time which has influenced other movies and reflected what cities will look like in the near future or even now (except
for the blimps advertising colonies on new worlds and hover cars). It is my favorite movie that has divided critics
when it opened and now it still hangs in there as a very timely movie. It has influenced such movies as Cyborg 2 and
the recent Star Wars movie, and such TV series as Total Recall 2070. We might not have androids in 20 years like the
Nexus 6 in the movie, but we may be close to a Voight-Kampf test right now. Ridley Scott even did a tighter cut
of BLADE RUNNER recently (with the possible inclusion of the Holden/Decker hospital scene) and wants to include it on a possible
three disc DVD set that will hopefully contain four cuts of the movie (the theater version, the workprint, the Director's
Cut, and the new Special Edition) for a 20th anniversary release that looks to be delayed until next year due to
such issues as legal clearances needing to be done. Why does Blade Runner strike a chord in sci-fi movie fans
and other fans? Is it the blend of sci-fi and film noir? Is it the cool futuristic bleak look of Los Angeles in
2019? Is it the performance of Rutger Hauer as android Roy Batty (the show stealer) or Harrison Ford's understated performance
as Decker (Harrison hates the movie)? Is it all the above or some other reason not listed?
BLADE RUNNER is a movie that has inspired three novel sequels by K.W. Jeter (the third currently has
not been released in the US as yet), an exhaustive making of book called Future Noir by Paul M. Sammon, and a book of
essays on Blade Runner and the book it is loosely based on- "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Phillip K. Dick.
And it is an odd coincidence that another movie based on a story by Phillip K. Dick, MINORITY REPORT, has been released this
last week almost around the time when BLADE RUNNER was released 20 years ago. The BLADE RUNNER city look is seen in many Japanese
Anime from AKIRA to GHOST IN THE SHELL, comics like DARKMINDS, and cities like Tokyo. BLADE RUNNER is easily the
best movie that Ridley Scott has directed that it continues to be talked about. It has been injected in popular culture
and won't let go. It is a movie that was cyberpunk before William Gibson wrote the novel Neuromancer. THE
MATRIX even takes it's cue from BLADE RUNNER. The movie looks at philosophical issues such as what makes a person human,
is the hunter lesss human than the replicants he's been hired to kill, and what is exactly more than human. And
the unicorn dream sequence ties into the paper unicorn that Deckard knocks over at the end. Does that mean Deckard is
a replicant? Ridley Scott said so and the dream scene along with other clues point to Deckard being a replicant.
Does Deckard only have a 4 year life span like the other replicants? BLADE RUNNER also deals with false memories
like TOTAL RECALL would 8 years later. The replicants keep pictures to remind them of what's real and sometimes (in
Rachel's case and Deckard's) the photos are there to back up false memories. Identity is clearly another thing being
seen in the movie. Do memories make a person?
Many of Phillip K. Dick's novels and the movies based on his works have philosophical issues that
can be clearly seen. Watch any movie based on a Phillip K. Dick novel (or short story) from BLADE RUNNER to TOTAL
RECALL to SCREAMERS to IMPOSTOR (due on video and DVD on July 9th in the US) to MINORITY REPORT (review on this site later
in the week). Those issues in BLADE RUNNER and the novel it's loosely based on are discussed in well-written essays
in "Retrofitting Blade Runner".
But what else has BLADE RUNNER spawned? It has brought forth many web sites from http://www.brmovie.com to http://www.bladezone.com to http://freethereplicants.homestead.com and more. Actors who have starred in the movie like Rutger Hauer ( http://www.rutgerhauer.org ) and Sean Young have their own sites. There is even a character test that tells you which BR character
you are ( http://www.mge.com/brtest ). The movie has ascended to classic movie status and it shows no sign of slowing down. Now all that
remains is for a wave of BLADE RUNNER merchandise to flood the market like STAR WARS or STAR TREK. I mean where
are those BLADE RUNNER action figures of every BR character!
Yep, I love the movie. "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner" by Paul M. Sammon goes into
incredible detail how the movie got made and the difficulties in getting it made. The American crew hated Ridley
Scott. Harrison Ford hated Sean Young. A last minute happy ending added instead of the original ending (and
cut ten years later for the Director's Cut and the original ending was back). The movie goes over budget. It gets
rediscovered in a new way with the workprint being shown in 1990 which led to the Director's Cut being made and released on
September 11th, 1992 (my 18th birthday). What else can I say about BLADE RUNNER? There is
a New York City Sci-Fi convention going from June 28th to June 30th. One of the things happening is the 20th anniversary
celebration of BLADE RUNNER and a convention appearance by Rutger Hauer. Talk about wow! More soon...
End of PART ONE
this article was (c)2002 David Blackwell and can't be reprinted without the author's permission.