Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Some Thoughts On Blade Runner

There are seven known versions of Blade Runner. This weekend, I watched the three BIG versions of Blade Runner back to back to back. Yes, yes I did. Why? Because one of the HBO channels was showing them. It was fascinating watching all three and seeing the differences and this got me wondering about a couple things I’d like to discuss. Feel free to share your own views and add any other issues you’d like to discuss.

Issue One: To Narrate Or Not To Narrate. Not. When the film hit theaters in America, the suits decided the film needed a narration in the beginning where Harrison Ford explains who his character and some of the others are, what the world is like, what his mission is, and basically what you’re watching. This narration lasts sporadically for the first 5-10 minutes. This sucks. When you see the later versions, especially the final cut, there is no narration and it is much easier to get into the ambiance of the film. The world feels more real and your mind is more awake understanding what is happening. Moreover, all the actors are excellent, as is the direction, and you absolutely don’t need the information provided by the narration to understand everything going on, so it adds nothing at the cost of much. Leaving the narration off improves this film by an order of magnitude.

Issue Two: And They Lived Happily Ever After (Until They Were Killed Outside The Apartment). The studio also demanded that Scott add a happy ending to the original release. The final cut removes this and it works much better. Indeed, the happy ending makes much in the film nonsense. The atmosphere of the film works because you have a sense that the earth has been run down to the point we see on screen. If, at the end, Deckard can just hop in his car and drive off to beautiful countryside, then why is everyone living in Craptopolis? Doesn’t that undercut the whole dystopia?

Moreover, this blows a hole in the question of whether or not Deckard is human. Gaff would not have let Deckard go rogue if he was a Replicant. So when Deckard tells us that Gaff lets him and Rachel go because he thinks Rachel will die any minute, that tells us Gaff doesn’t think Deckard is a Replicant. Case pretty much closed. Except, Gaff still leaves an origami unicorn for Deckard to find. Doesn't this mean Gaff thinks Deckard is a Replicant? Indeed, in the final cut, Deckard has a unicorn dream, suggesting that Gaff knows his memories, just as Deckard knows Rachel’s, i.e. he’s not real.

Issue Three: Animal, Vegetable or Mineral? So what exactly is a Replicant? The view most everyone seems to have held for years, me included, was that Replicants are machines. We’re told they’re manufactures and they’re called machines and skinjobs (i.e. metal covered by fake skin) throughout. They even appear to have superhuman skills. But upon further review, there are so many hints that Replicants are actually cloned humans. They speak at times of the Replicants being grown, and they use the term “bio” to describe them, suggesting living tissue. Moreover, none of the manufacturing comments at all preclude the Replicants being grown.

Issue Four: Who dat? Finally, I got to wondering, how would the film have turned out if they had used a different actor? Apparently, Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and even Arnold Schwarzenegger were considered. I think replacing Harrison Ford with any of these actors would have completely changed the tenor of the movie and it would not have been as effective. The one actor I could possibly see replacing Ford would be Kurt Russell, but that’s about it.



shawn said...

I've only seen the theatrical and Director's Cut. So I can't comment on the Final Cut with any authority.

Of the two that I've seen, I've always perfered the original theatrical cut. Of course, opinions vary. To me, the voice over gives it that film noir/Sam Spade feel that I liked.

Why do people live in filthy, nasty cities? A good question for New Yorkers and Los Angelinos.

Gaff leaving the unicorn- I always took it as Gaff saying "I could have killed her, but I didn't. You (Decker) better keep her on a short leash or I will put her down".

I assume you meant Replicants instead of Republicans. And if you didn't then I'll have you know that Rebplicans like Soylent Green, are people!

Kurt Russell would have been a good fit and possibly Eastwood.

shawn said...

And when I said Rebplicans, I meant Republicans. (sigh)

Tennessee Jed said...

Wow - I have to commend your ability to go through all three in a single day. Your questions raised are good ones. As to the first, I would tend to agree with your conclusion, and yet I really do appreciate what the suits are up against. It is the age old story in the arts. Creative vision vs. anticipated commercial viability. I think they thought if the story was too confusing for the masses, word of mouth would have limited the appeal.

Happy endings. Same issue, they were concerned this film would be too dark and melancholy for the masses.

Harrison Ford was riding high at the time. I think changing the lead in a film like this would have a major impact no matter which actors were considered. Because how the protagonist acts and reacts is at the heart of the story. It's too bad we could order up multiple versions with different actors. If you were rebooting, who would you use today?

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I think you have a couple of typos that need fixing. I took care of one already but it's not my article. :-)

Re: actors, the one actor whose name always comes up when people talk about casting is Dustin Hoffman. I forget whose initial choice he was (the producers or Ridley Scott) but it obviously didn't happen. Talk about changing a movie!

All things being equal, I'm just fine with the final cut. It seems to be the best of all possible worlds, plus they fixed some annoying mistakes (replacing the obvious Zhora stunt woman's head with Joanna Cassidy's head, etc.).

Re: narration, I'm not against the idea per se, but the rumor is that Harrison Ford didn't like the idea so he read his lines badly on purpose. On the DVD/BR documentary "Dangerous Days" (which I recommend!), you can hear the raw audio in between takes and Ford clearly thinks it's all bullshit.

As for Deckard being a replicant, personally, I think the jury's still out. Ridley says yes, Ford and at least one screenwriter say no. On one of the DVD/BR extras, filmmaker Frank Darabont says that it ruins the arc of the film if he's a Replicant. I don't have my disc handy so I can't really elaborate at the moment.

tryanmax said...

LOL! I haven't read the article yet, but I had to share that the headline made me laugh out loud. I can't even explain it. More to come...

shawn said...

ScottDS- "As for Deckard being a replicant, personally, I think the jury's still out. Ridley says yes, Ford and at least one screenwriter say no. On one of the DVD/BR extras, filmmaker Frank Darabont says that it ruins the arc of the film if he's a Replicant."

I would agree with Darabont on this. Part of the impact of the movie is that Roy Batty, a replicant, saves Deckard and shows more humanity than Deckard, who is fairly monotone/robotic throughout the film. A subtle commentary on what it is to be human.

Dustin Hoffman- whoa, dodged that bullet.

Hoffman Deckard- "Rachel, are you trying to seduce me?"

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm agnostic on the narration. I thought it gave it a noir-ish feel so I didn't mind it (see Steve Martin's noir-parody Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid -- it's a common element in noir -- which you all know of course. :-) ).

The newer ending is a lot better though.

K said...

Personally, I'm not a fan of films that leave so much to the imagination that people end up debating the film's meaning 30 years later or you have to release 4 different versions. If this is the case, then you've not done your job of communicating your theme or paying off the "hooks" to the audience. Which to me is breaking the contract between the author and the audience. It's like buying a box of a dozen cookies and finding out only 10 were inside.

That being said, I personally prefer the voice over. Sure, the film makes sense without it - now that you've already seen the voice over version six times and are familiar with what's going on. In addition, without the voice over the beginning set up tends to last too long instead of moving directly into the story. Also, Deckard is so emotionless in this film that his voice over tends to humanize him a bit more.

I was unaware of a "final" version with an ending where they get killed.Obviously the logical ending, but I'm glad I didn't see it in the theater. When the film was aired for the first time, it was considered by critics, and myself, as way too dark, dystopian and cynical without such an ending. I'm convinced the film would never have achieved the popular fame it has if the "final" ending had been used in the theatrical version.

As for the replicants, in the book it was based on, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" the replicants are mechanical. In a final scene, Deckard turns over a turtle in the desert and finds the battery compartment on it's underside. In the movie I think it's pretty clear that the replicants are biological - they're killed by viruses.

Finally, if Deckard is a replicant, then who cares? As the human protagonist, he's up against androids who are vastly more capable. If he's a replicant - he's an obsolete machine who's dead in six months anyway. Yuck.

Finally, I think there should be a name for creators who keep "fixing" their art - putting out new versions in order to make more money.
My question is should it be "Lucas-ism" or "Scott-ism"?

Anonymous said...

K -

The main difference between Lucas and Scott is that Scott has allowed all the previous versions to remain available whereas Lucas hasn't. Also, many of Lucas' changes are rather arbitrary and don't blend in at all but Scott and Co. have actually brought in people who worked on the film originally (like effects gurus Douglas Trumbull and David Dryer) and there are no arbitrary changes.

In short, Scott was forced by the studio to change certain things but Lucas managed to create a masterpiece in spite of the challenges he faced.

(And Lucas owns his movies so he has no excuse!)

And there is no ending where everyone is suddenly killed. I believe Andrew was being facetious. :-)

T-Rav said...

Hmmm--I don't know. Gene Hackman would have been interesting in the Deckard role, he might have done a good job with it.

So, do you have a final opinion on whether or not Deckard is a Replicant?

T-Rav said...

Personally, I agree with shawn; the philosophical side of the movie works much better if Deckard is a human, given his showdown with Batty and all.

Commander Max said...

I preferred the theatrical release. For me it made more sense than the other versions. I found BR to be a pretty bad film, it fails on a whole lot of levels(all versions). Acting and story leave a whole lot to be desired, there is no chemistry between Ford and Young.
That said, it was beautiful on the production design front. It gave a very good snapshot into what looked like a complete world. Which I think has everything to do with it's popularity.
I think Scott is one of those directors who should not have advanced to the director's chair. The crews that have worked for him would say the same thing. I really do not like his characters, I find them to negative, to be enjoyable. So if I'm looking at one of his films, I fast forward a lot.
He excelled as a production designer/art director. But as a director he leaves much to be desired(overrated), just like Kubrick.

At least he let out all of the versions of BR, so at least he is willing to listen to his audience. Unlike Lucas, who should have not sought a career in film.

CrispyRice said...

I love this movie. And I have always favored the no narration, no happy ending version. Everything else destroys the feeling of the movie, and this is largely a movie about creating a certain feeling for me.

ScyFyterry said...

I don't like the narration, but I don't mind the happy ending. I can't see anyone else in the role now because Ford has become iconic. But I think we might be saying the same thing about some other actor if they had been chosen. I just don't know who. I can't imagine Nicholson at all.

AndrewPrice said...

Folks, I'm sorry for ignoring you and for the typos. It's been a hectic few hours. I'll be with you in a moment.

T-Rav said...

I don't think I've actually seen this other version of the movie. I've seen the one that ends with them driving off into The Great Outdoors, which I didn't really get but seemed nice. Someone's going to have to clue me in about the alternate, un-happy ending.

EricP said...

I'm admittedly hanging on to the amazing memory of having initially seen this at the drive-in in 1982, plus having the comic book adaptation which had to rely on the narration element. On that note, I think Ford's purposely screwing up backfired on him, making the Deckard character appear even more world-weary and cranky.

Still, I like your takes, Andrew, and one day will get around to watching all the cuts in a weekend, especially now that I finally have a blu-ray player I've heard makes the Final Cut even better.

Kurt Russell would have been the coolest alternative casting, Eastwood a close second, but as mentioned by ScyFyterry, it's too much Ford's. That said, I wish Russell would have gotten Han Solo ... which might have made the Blade Runner possibility more of a reality.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, The unicorn makes more sense when they include the dream sequence where Deckard see it in his dreams. That suggests that Gaff knows something about Deckard.

It's also interesting to note that Deckard keeps the same sort of knick-knacks that Rachel and the other Replicants keep.

Yeah, I did mean Replicants and not Republicans. Lots of typos. Sorry about that!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, It was a slow weekend! ;)

You are right that this is one of those issues where people struggle. The suits know that happy endings are preferred, so why do something which hurts the marketability? On the other hand, there is the question of artistic vision.

It would be fascinating to have another version to compare it to, but obviously that won't happen.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for fixing the typos.

I agree that the jury is still out on whether or not he's a Replicant. Most of the evidence says yes, but there are key points which say no. It's a fascinating question. And I do recall that Ford and Scott disagreed.

I personally dislike the narration. I see where I makes the film more noir-like, but to me that's at too high of a price. I still enjoy the movie either way though.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm glad you found the headline funny! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...


I would agree with Darabont on this. Part of the impact of the movie is that Roy Batty, a replicant, saves Deckard and shows more humanity than Deckard, who is fairly monotone/robotic throughout the film. A subtle commentary on what it is to be human.

That's an excellent point! The main thrust of the story is that Deckard is less human than the non-human he's chasing and in finding his humanity, Roy save Deckard and wakes up his humanity toward Rachel.

That would all be ruined if Deckard is a Replicant.

But there is evidence both ways. I think we're not meant to know the answer, frankly.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I don't care for the narration, but I like the film with or without it. I agree about the non-happy ending. I like the ambiguity of it.

AndrewPrice said...

K, I was extrapolating the ending. There is no ending where Deckard gets killed. The non-happy ending just has Deckard and Rachel fleeing the apartment. As they do, they find the origami unicorn and then the credits start rolling. It's up to the audience to decide what happens next.

I don't think the filmmakers failed here just because people debate the ending. To the contrary, I think it's quite an achievement that people are still so passionate about it that they debate the film after thirty years. Few film generate that kind of level of interest in people.

You're right that in the book they are machines. There is nothing biological about them. In the film though, they seem to be built from human genetic tissue, i.e. clones.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Yes, facetious is a good word for it! LOL!

I think you're right about the fundamental difference between Scott and Lucas. The changes Lucas has made are about ego and he's forcing everyone else to go on that ego trip. The changes Scott has made are about restoring the original version and nothing more. I think that's a meaningful distinction and that's why I appreciate what Scott did, but despise what Lucas is doing.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think ultimately that Deckard is a Replicant. I think there is too much evidence that can't be explained away. And what really makes me think that, actually is the way he enters the film. It's like they took him out of a box. He doesn't seem like a guy with a real life.

But I don't we have any way to know for sure either way. And as Shawn says above, that would ruin the story arc. I just think that's probably the most likely answer.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I like what Scott does a lot. I agree that his characters are negative, but they are strong characters who are interesting to watch. They are very memorable.

You're right about the production values though. You really don't see much in this film, maybe 4-5 locations, yet you get the sense you've seen the entire world. That's very well done!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I agree. It's about the feel of the film to me and I think the narration and the happy ending kill that.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's not an unhappy ending so much as an ambiguous ending. Deckard and Rachel leave the apartment and she nearly steps on the origami unicorn. Deckard picks it up, they go out into the hallway. He looks around. They start to leave. The credits roll. It's up to you to decide what all of that means, i.e. if this means Gaff is coming for him and/or her or if they get away, etc.

By comparison, the happy ending involves them disappearing into the forest as Ford tells the audience Rachel won't expire and Gaff doesn't know that so he won't bother chasing them. That's not in the other version so for all we know, she will die any day and Gaff is chasing them or waiting for them outside.

(fyi, The forest shots they used actually came from The Shining.)

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, It was surprisingly interesting to watch all three. I didn't think I'd make it, but it kept me interested because each one is just a little different throughout.

I agree that Ford just can't be replaced at this point, but Russell would have been a cool alternative. I just can't see most of the others, but Russell would have done very well. He would have been neat as Han Solo too!

I don't know if Ford intentionally screwed it up or not, but it does work. I prefer the version without it a lot more, BUT his narration is rather perfect for setting the tone of the character. You totally get the sense that he's worn down and doesn't care about anything, which then fits with his desire to quit and with the city itself.

tryanmax said...

I've only ever seen the director's cut, so I know nothing of this narration you speak of. Personally, I can't imagine it with narration. What is there to narrate? Is it just some shoehorned exposition? I've also never seen the theatrical ending, so again, no comment.

I guess all I am able to share is that the director's cut stands up very well on its own as a film, though I can see how it may have been ahead of it's time in the early 80s.

What's the difference between the director's cut and the final cut?

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The intro narration is basically Ford explaining the first couple scenes -- who he is, who Gaff is, what a Replicant is, that his boss is kind of a racist and is threatening to kill him if he doesn't take the job. It is very much shoehorned in there and Ford reads it in a kind of "who cares" style. It actually works, but it shouldn't.

Here's a wikipedia page with a breakdown of the differences in each version: LINK

ellenB said...

I will chart the middle course and say that I like both versions, with the narration and without and with the happy ending and without. I like to think of the ending as happy either way, either you see them escape or you know Ford will escape in the next film.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I'd rather not think of him as a Replicant, but the question itself is a large part of what makes the movie so interesting.

As for the alternate endings, that shorter sans-forest one sounds like it would have worked better. I didn't dislike the narration/forest one, but it wasn't really necessary.

And yeah, I knew about those scenes coming from The Shining. That's not the only connection, either: Dr. Tyrell is played by Joe Turkel, who was also Lloyd the bartender in the Overlook's Gold Room.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, True! He was Lloyd. He does a good job in both, but I've seen him in other films and he wasn't very good.

I think the question is what makes the film so interesting. As for not thinking of him as a Replicant, that's easy because there's plenty of evidence for that too. There really is no right answer, but interestingly enough there's enough pro-evidence for both sides without anything truly disqualifying that both sides can think they are right.

I think that's the thing about the happy ending and the narration -- they aren't needed. I don't object to them in the sense that I utterly hate them and they ruin the film, I just don't think they're necessary and they do detract from the film. But opinions vary.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, Very diplomatic. And I agree, I think Ford would ultimately escape.

tryanmax said...

Okay, so I popped it in and watched it. If Harrison Ford is a replicant, then he is a piss poor one. I'm gonna write off Olmos' unicorn is a lucky coincidence.

AndrewPrice said...

One of the problems I have with Ford as a Replicant is that he's so much weaker than the other Replicants. Wouldn't you make the guy who hunts the others down stronger, faster and with better sensory perception? Ford really does seem like a man going up against killing machines.

But like I said, there's evidence both ways and there's nothing definitive to tell either side no.

Koshcat said...

I prefer the directors cut (no voice over). I think the original story talked about those left on earth were so damaged they couldn't have children. I haven't watched the movie in awhile but I don't remember any children and it got me wondering: maybe they are all replicants. Maybe that was what Gaff was trying to tell him with the origami unicorn.

Ford seems perfect for the role as he seems "human". Liam Neeson might work in a reboot especially since Decker was retired. How about a replacement for Rutger Hauer? I always thought he was a great choice.

Commander Max said...

Andrew, I would be able to take more of Scott's work, if it wasn't for everybody copying him. I can't tell you how many films I've seen that copied him directly. It's been going on for 33 years(alien 79). For me the strong negative character stereotype lost it's appeal, it got boring. Just like the whole dark film style. I've seen too much of it, I really want to see something new(but I'm not hopeful. Let's hope "Space Command" is something new).

(I'll date myself when I say the first laserdisk I got was BR). When I got the DVD edition, I watched all of the versions. I don't know what changed, but I realized it wasn't that good a film. Like so many other films I thought were good in my youth, as an adult they didn't measure up. But only certain films, not all of them.
Makes me wonder if peer pressure plays a factor in what films we like? The reason I postulate this? I don't hang around a group of sci-fi fans these days. Without any other influences I can really focus on the movie, and I'm not trying to be a part of a group.

I will say this, if you have only seen BR on a a tv(even blue ray). You haven't seen it. I first saw it in 70mm(1982), those images are still with me. That's the only way to really see BR. Then it doesn't matter what version it is, your jaw is on the floor watching the visuals(I haven't seen any CG work match it).

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, I had heard that too about them being sterile, but I think it came from the book rather than the film and it never actually made it into the film.

But you are right there are no children, and that is a fascinating question -- are they all Replicants -- just different generations, perhaps?

Liam Neeson would be a great choice. He could absolutely play this role. Nice!

I thought Hauer was excellent as well. Who could replace him? Good question. How about James Caviezel?

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I had a laserdisc player too at one point. Though I didn't get very many of those before DVDs came out, so I switched.

I know exactly what you mean about being copied. I have the same problem with the Who. To me, they are intensely generic because so many bands copied them for decades. Fans of the group will get really upset when I say that and they will retort, "but they're the original." Well, that is true, but it doesn't change the fact that to me, they are just like everybody else.

So I understand your point. And you are right that Scott's films are copied everywhere.

I have often noticed that bands and films seem better when you see them live/in the theater. I don't know if it's the whole experience or peer pressure, but there is often a let down when you revisit them later.

shawn said...

A topic for the next Great Film debates inspired by this topic, how about "To Director's Cut or Not to Director's Cut?" Lots of movies out there that have been helped and/or harmed thanks to the director's vision. Which are which?

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, That's a good idea! I'll add that to the list!

Commander Max said...

Andrew, I still have my laserdisk player. It's the only way to see the original SW. Although the quality isn't that great(remember when it was). Plus DVD's cost far less than laserdiscs, with all of the same material. For you guys who complain how much DVDs can cost, the Aliens disk ran over $120.00. At the time it was worth it.

Creativity is an interesting thing. I'm convinced very few people are creative(in an original sense). But the world is filled with imitators. Back in architectural school I watched a group of kids do something original(this was in one class with a lot of sections), they were then promptly copied by just about everybody else. It was really sad. BL was a big deal in that school back then(I'll bet it still is).

My point of peer pressure, all of your friends/peers are into something. So you will act like you like(or learn about it) it for acceptance(Wasn't that how Obumbo was elected?).
Since you brought up music. I had an ex girlfriend that loved U2 because they were, and I quote, "a political band". She never elaborated beyond that, so I had no idea just what so appealing about a musical group being political(can't you just like their music). She was just repeating what someone else said.

The theater can be an experience in itself, that's I meant. To see the film in the format it was designed for.

Anonymous said...

Max -

I'm too young to have been able to afford laserdiscs on my own when they were originally available... but when I lived in LA, I went through a brief laserdisc phase, thanks to the used selection at Amoeba Records. I bought a player and a dozen or so discs, discs that had extras not found on their DVD/Blu-Ray counterparts. I found many Criterion titles with different extras (like Se7en which has a different commentary and a section on the make-up effects).

As far as imitation, I think Blade Runner is rather unique. When you think about sci-fi films, very few films are as influential as this one and I guess it appealed to a certain group of people.

On one of the DVD/BR commentaries, both the production designer and the art director recall being hired on subsequent films where the producer would ask, "Where's that Blade Runner look I wanted?! That's why I hired you!"

As far as peer pressure, I can't disagree though if I liked everything my friends liked, I wouldn't be posting on this website! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Max, That's true! I remember thinking the quality on a laserdisc was incredible! I have the original SW as well and it was SO MUCH better than the VHS version I had. I thought is quality couldn't be topped. Yet, compared to these days, it looks really poor.

On copying, yeah, that's sadly the way humans do it. There are very few people with original ideas.

Your U2 comment is another thing I've noticed. The vast majority of the public seems to mindless accept what they are told, and even more importantly, they seem to internalize what they are told and convert it into their own beliefs and desires -- and then they have the nerve to think they thought of these things independently!

AndrewPrice said...

Arg. Blogger ate my really cool comment.

Scott, I never bought a lot of laserdiscs because they were too expensive -- up to $60 a pop for the better ones. When DVD's came along shortly thereafter (at $7 a pop), I jumped ship immediately.

I agree about Blade Runner. It's been copied many times (especially it's style), but it's never been equaled. Ditto on Alien. I think that's a sign of quality.

Reidur said...

Tommy Lee Jones. I would pay good money to see him instead of Ford in that role (and I like Ford).

Regarding BR influencing other films...

Star Wars Episode 2. Plinkett at Red Letter Media showed some scenes side by side. It was almost a frame by frame re-shoot on the opening scene.

AndrewPrice said...

Reidur, Tommy Lee Jones would have been an interesting choice. I think he might have done well.

I saw that from Red Letter Media and it's a brilliant observation! Lucas is such a thief!

Commander Max said...

The ILM guys were dying to pay some homage to BR. There are spinners cruising around in the cityscape(so is the Enterprise) but they will not be all that clear. All because the BR guys used the Millenium Falcon for a building.

All they needed to do was put in the spinners, copying shots is a cop out. But then since when is Lucas about originality. I do like Plinket's take on Lucas(and I loosely paraphrase), like a retard having people do stuff just so he can see it.

The real good laserdics like Aliens and Alien. Were expensive $120, the Alien disc took some friends and I about six hours to go through, that was without watching the movie. A Tower Records I used to frequent was selling the SW package(all films, with just a little altering at that point) was about $250, they sold out of them quickly every time they got them in.

Scott, my first laserdisc was the Criterion BR. I got that back in the eighties. I've still got all of my old disks.

Andrew, I think most people are cattle. Well, act like cattle. I have a sister that I found out I had late in life. She was a poster child no original thought(but she did have them, just put on an act for others). You should have seen the look on her face when I said I don't go to the movies anymore. She couldn't believe it.

Hey Andrew, I have a topic for your blog. "What other movies do think were stylish(besides BR)". Unless you did it already.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I used to get my laserdiscs at Tower Record as well! And you're right, the best ones with all the specials in them were super expensive. The cheapest I remember were around $29 and they were usually movies nobody wanted with poor transfers. I would bet the average for what I paid was around $60. And my first was actually Roger Rabbit. When DVDs appeared a few years later, they were $6 a pop at first!

I agree with you about most people being cattle. They look to see where the herd is headed and they follow the leader. And they don't like people who don't follow the herd!

That is a great topic. That actually sounds like a good article rather than just a debate question. Let me think about that one! Thanks! :)

djskit said...

I've posted this elsewhere, but I've refined my thoughts:

People focus on the word “machines” and “robot” when talking Blade Runner – I recently watched the 1982 version and clearly we are talking about CLONES, not mechanical devices. They have blood and guts. Consider all the talk with Sebastian and Tryell are about genetic codes and such. “'Cause I do genetic design work for the Tyrell Corporation. There's some of me in you”.

My view is that don’t use the term “clones” in this society because they need to be de-humanized as much as possible to avoid the moral implications of cloning and language is a big part of that. Calling them “replicants” or “machines” makes it a little easier for everyone to treat them like “machines” and for the police to send someone out to “retire” them. And wouldn’t it be even easier to “retire” them by sending another replicant out to do the job. No human has to get his hands or his mind "dirty” by dealing with the problem directly.

This is the whole point of the film - Batty is effectively saying – “BULLS**T – we are not machines, but humans with emotional needs” He’s not mature enough to realize this explicitly, he is just emoting, like any 4 year old would. He is throwing an existential temper tantrum.

He has also not realized the he is a slave. But again, he does not have the emotional maturity and knowledge to put his existence into the context of human history. Perhaps another reason they are kept “off world”.

And there are 2 other giveaway abut Deckard being a replicant:
1) in narration about Rachel he states “she wasn’t supposed to have emotions, neither was I”
2) The first blade runner who ran the test on Leon in the opening scene looks and sounds just like Deckard. At one point Deckard is listening to the recording of the test and I thought it was his voice initially.

Add the unicorn dream/origami an the case is compelling.

AndrewPrice said...

djskit, I agree with you and I think that's excellent analysis, with one caveat. I think they are more than just clones because they demonstrate abilities humans don't have. For example, they can reach into boiling water with no problems. So I think they are some form of clone hybrid -- possibly part machine -- rather than just a simple cloned human.

Beyond that, however, I agree entirely with your analysis. I think their society is premised on euphemisms and the whole film is about Batty coming to realize that he is in fact alive -- which is why I think he doesn't kill Deckard in the end, because he comes to realize that life is precious.

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