Soooo, did I ever talk about Blade Runner on this blog?
I’ve always had a lot of opinions about the film, but it seems like every film buff has wrote a dissertation on it. So what’s the point of clogging up the internet with one more, ya know?
But after ripping off it’s ending in my latest short story, I can’t stop thinking about it.
For the record, and I’ve been very open about this, Blade Runner 2049 is the superior film. By a fucking mile too. Ridley Scott is an interesting visual filmmaker, but all of his movies lack heart. This is true for not only Blade Runner, but Alien, Gladiator, The Martian, etc, as well.
Additionally, I find the script to be underwhelming. Even the film’s most memorable moment (the Tears in Rain monologue) was largely the result of actor Rutger Hauer’s ingenuity and not so much the writer’s. I don’t blame Hampton Fancher and David Peoples for this (the latter would later write Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven). The final script was probably the result of compromise during a troubled production.
Nevertheless, Blade Runner works because everyone else behind the scenes CRUSHED their role, from F/X artist Douglas Trumbull, DP Jordan Cronenweth, composer Vangelis, concept artist Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, and everyone in between.
In Scott’s defense, I believe he sees himself as more of a “CEO”-type filmmaker, or one that brings together highly talented people to do their thing, as opposed to being an auteur himself. So in that respect, he did his job really well. Nevertheless, likely because of this approach, there is an “it” factor that’s lacking in Blade Runner which prevents it from becoming one of the great classics in cinema.
Strangely, I think MOST cinephiles agree with this: Blade Runner is visually and conceptually one of the most influential films of all time. But is it a great movie?
Personally, I think that question is more interesting than the film itself.
But where I disagree with most other fans of the Blade Runner universe are on the Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) scenes. Hauer feels like he’s acting on an island in this film. While that’s a deliberate choice, his scenes drag the movie down. And to be completely honest, the movie is not nearly as interesting without Harrison Ford on the screen.
Now Ford’s performance is somewhat controversial. It’s noted for being his first “mature” role, and a lot of people don’t like it. He often comes across as detached, grouchy, and needlessly aggressive in some parts. Ford’s performance is a bit dialed back, as opposed to Hauer, who isn’t afraid to be hammy and childish. Unfortunately, Ford acting choices were better suited to the Blade Runner universe and, despite being the leading man, he doesn’t feel like he’s in the film enough.
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got to say 🤷♂️