Blade Runner (2007 Director’s Cut)


BLADE RUNNER is an amazing work of sight and sound, a groundbreaking depiction of future worlds, a gloomy cinematic nightmare, a unique approach to science fiction, and a complete fucking bore. Watching it on the big screen for the limited theatrical engagement of this “definitive cut” I was struck by how beautiful it looked and sounded, and also I wanted to take a nap. It’s like watching the greatest ant farm ever constructed.

Well, shit. I can’t believe I’m writing this. I know I’m only one paragraph in but I would like to extend my sincerest apologies. This is what you call a guilty un-pleasure. It’s easier for me to picture myself reading this review, written by somebody else, and pulling my hair out, than me sitting here writing it. But here I am. I always dug this movie. Never got why anybody would consider it Ridley Scott’s best (Motherfucker directed ALIEN. ALIEN! That’s his masterpiece, people. Let’s get this straight) and thought it was a little slow. But I always dug it and I was excited to see it on the big screen here. But facts are facts. I am a journalist, or whatever. I have to admit: this one time anyway, BLADE RUNNER bored the shit out of me.

Blade Runner: The Final CutDon’t get me wrong – everything everybody always loved about it is still there. The world of the movie is undeniably great, all the detail in that city, the sounds, the lighting. I’m not sure what they did with the effects for this new edition but it worked, nothing looked too dated but also didn’t look CGI-ified. I haven’t seen the movie for years and I have no idea what was changed in it (although obviously it’s like the director’s cut, no narration and the fuckin unicorn is in there).

But the thing that never bothered me before, but that I couldn’t get past this time, was the who gives a shit factor. The yeah but what about having a good story and characters dilemma. Of course the idea is cool, the replicants, the flying cars, the origami. But after all these years I was looking for something beyond that and I just kept wondering why I was supposed to give a shit about this blade runner dweeb, a guy too sissy to turn down an immoral job, not even that good at the job when he does it, not passionate about anything he does except in one part having forceful sex with a robot, a guy who dreams about a fuckin unicorn.

I repeat: he dreams about a unicorn, a magic fairyland horse with a horn that runs in glimmery slow motion. That is what inhabits this dipshit’s deepest inner thoughts. That is the character that is supposed to anchor us in this world. Harrison Ford, so cool and funny as Hans Solo and Indiana etc., has had every last drop of humor and charisma sapped out of his body for this role. They squeezed it into a mason jar and sealed it under 25 feet of solid concrete so none of it could seep out during filming. Fifteen years later Ridley Scott himself took part in a secret moonlight ceremony where they unearthed the jar. The charisma inside had dried up and shriveled into a tiny stone which Ford then began to wear as an earring.

Obviously this is supposed to be kind of like a film noir or a hardboiled detective story, but Deckard is no Sam Spade. Those stories have anti-heroes who are witty fast talking guys, or tough talking hardnosed bastards. Not this guy. This guy barely smiles, barely frowns. He’s not cool. He’s not exciting. The one part where he seems to have a sense of humor is when he puts on a cartoony “nerd” voice while talking to Zhora, at which point you wish maybe he didn’t have a sense of humor at all because that whole thing is pretty awkward.

The other bad news: his girlfriend is less interesting than he is.

Okay, I get it, they’re (maybe) robots. That doesn’t make them not boring. And besides, Roy and Pris are robots too, but they’re cool and funny, they have personalities and passion, anger and amusement. This time around, I honestly was not interested in what was going on in the movie until 2/3 of the way through when it was about Pris at J.F. Sebastian’s place and she says “Hi Roy.” That was when I realized the problem was Deckard. This is the longest stretch of the movie to not have Deckard in it and all the sudden it becomes a way better movie. If only the two lead characters were removed from the movie I could agree with everybody else that it’s a masterpiece. All the supporting characters are really good actually, it’s just that pesky central character who is the focus of almost the entire movie.

It’s hard not to root for the bad guys here. What they’re doing is no less immoral than what Deckard is doing. They’re escaped slaves. They’re trying to defend themselves. They’re programmed to die and they want to reverse that. They do kill a couple people, and that is wrong. But they are doing it for a cause. Deckard is killing them and not for a cause, he’s doing it for the money. Maybe not even for the money, maybe just because he’s too apathetic and wimpy to turn down the job. And it’s not even his job anymore. It’s his former job. So don’t give me that just doing his job shit. He knows it’s wrong. So if they’re both wrong, and the good guy is so boring he might as well be replaced by a paper plate with a smiley face on it taped to the back of a chair wearing a coat, of course you’re gonna root for the weird cute clown lady who does flips and the crazy passionate bastard who mutilates himself and recites poetry while crying in the rain but does not as far as we know ever think about a fucking unicorn.

Of course, that is a strength of the movie, that those characters are so strong. I just wish they appeared earlier in the movie to liven things up. Or at least let Brion James live a while longer. Or have Edward James Olmos be the main blade runner instead of Harrison Ford. Or have Billy Dee Williams play Deckard. Or go with the paper plate taped to a chair idea I mentioned, that was a pretty good idea.

I must admit, I have not gotten enough sleep lately. So it’s partly my fault. I implore you, be very awake when you watch BLADE RUNNER. This is especially important because of Vangelis, who apparently scored the movie with tunes he had leftover from a hypnotism tape he worked on. Or an illusionist’s act. When the end credits came up and he started doing some low down John Carpenter/THE WARRIORS type shit I thought where the fuck was he keeping that during the movie? Try to put everybody to sleep with your magic show soundtrack and then wake them up at the end credits so the ushers can clean the theater.

I guess people love this whole idea that Deckard is (maybe) a replicant too, maybe even one of the escaped replicants reprogrammed for some reason to think he has a past with the police department. I admit that it never occurred to me back in the day when I watched this, and I thought it was pretty cool when I heard about it. But watching it now (in a version that leaves you with the origami unicorn as the last thought, so either you’re supposed to think his stupid dreams are implanted or it’s just a reminder that this guy is a sissy) I’m not sure this whole idea holds water. It’s kind of stupid, actually. To kill these robots all he does is shoot them. One of them, the only one that was hurting anybody, he doesn’t even kill, the guy’s time just ran out. So really, he has not done anything to make anyone’s life better, he’s only killed two harmless robots shortly before their time. Any human could’ve done the same crappy job he did, and many could’ve done a funnier voice when interviewing Zhora.

(Actually, to be fair, by killing Zhora he may have created a job opening for a human snake dancer. So it may have had a positive effect on the economy, you could make that argument.)

If they wanted to do a good job, why wouldn’t they have gotten a robot that has super-strength and agility like the blades it’s hunting? And why would they have to trick it into thinking it’s human? Why not make it competent and aware of its abilities? Maybe there’s some kind of obscure union rules they need to follow or something but otherwise I can only assume these police are both incompetent and completely crazy. That is a horrible god damn plan. You’re never gonna stop runaway androids with this moronic approach to law enforcement. Shit, send Olmos out there on his crutches, give him a sock full of quarters, he would do a better job than ol’ Grumpy McUnicorndreams. I guess maybe dismantling replicants is too expensive so they just send a shitty one like this out on a useless mission to get him out of their hair.

For years I always heard how this movie was misunderstood at the time, and I always believed that. Well, undeniably it has been a huge influence on other movies and has stood the test of time. Its strengths are more than enough to justify its legend and I was happy to see it again even lacking the ability to fast forward it to the good part at the end. But I can’t help but think you know what, maybe they weren’t wrong at the time. Maybe the people who were ahead of their time were actually the people who said from the beginning that it was a brilliant failure, not an actual masterpiece. I don’t know.

I do know this: THE THING came out on the same day. Both movies got some real bad reviews and suffered from comparisons to lovable E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, which came out a couple weeks earlier. Of the two anti-E.T.s though, I gotta go with THE THING as the more powerful viewing experience. BLADE RUNNER is more innovative, THE THING is more watchable.

Oh well. Nice try though Ridley Scott, maybe your next cut will be the one that brings it home.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 5th, 2007 at 9:27 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

80 Responses to “Blade Runner (2007 Director’s Cut)”

  1. Great review, Vern. This one is spot-on. I guess the movie just came out at the right time for everyone to like it but never really think about how empty it is.

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  3. I must say this is a pretty shocking review

    Blade Runner is in fact one of my favorite movies, I can watch it over and over and not get bored

    while I can kind of understand Vern’s criticisms, I think what makes the movie great for me is the atmosphere and mood are some of the best ever done, it just draws you in and you find yourself fascinated

    of course I will agree that the showdown between Roy and Deckard is one of the best parts and that the replicants are not really bad guys

  4. the City of Lost Children is a movie that has a similar effect on me

    I like all kinds of movies, but I love movies that have really strong atmosphere that draws you in (Kubrick’s 2001 and Full Metal Jacket are the same way)

    I wish Vern would revisit Blade Runner so more people could have a debate

  5. Griff – I gotta agree with Vern wholeheartedly here. Rutger Hauer just owns this movie, and when he’s not in it, it drops. It was still a fantastic technical achievement, but the Deckard / Rachel scenes lacked the “soul” or emotional connection that Batty inspired, to me.

  6. Katrine Brøndsted

    August 8th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Well reviewed, Vern. I just watched BLADE RUNNER after having read the novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, and I too must say that it is definitely not all it’s hyped up to be.

    Now, I know what some of you might say: “You shouldn’t compare the novel and the movie”, and to some extent that is true; the movie is a work of its own. But on the other hand, when you read a story so interesting as DO ANDROIDS … and look forward to watching one of the most amazing movies of all time, and the movie doesn’t even come close to resembling the novel, it’s difficult not to be disappointed.

    There are so many plot lines, interesting themes and characters in the novel, and the film has nothing. I don’t even know what the film is about. Yes, Deckard hunts androids, but come on now, that hardly does justice to Philip K. Dick’s ingenious plots. And what’s with the random changes of setting and names? Does it make for a better film that it takes place in L.A. as opposed to San Francisco? Especially if you insist that the setting should be set in China Town, then why not keep the story set in SF? Why change J.R. Isidore’s name to J.F. Sebastian? Is that cooler? Perhaps it is a reference, I do not get.

    But worst of all: one of the greatest “scenes” in the novel is where Deckard tries the Voight-Kampff test on Rachell. He almost doesn’t figure out that she is an android, so perhaps the test doesn’t even work. Which could prove fatal to humans, and perhaps to Deckard himself if he some day takes the test and is accused of being an android. And the way Rachell discovers that she is in fact an android is a thrilling sequence that in the film lasts 5 seconds and is nothing special. Furthermore, the whole “is Deckard himself and android?” keeps rearing its ugly (read: exciting) head throughout the novel, and as you Vern, I failed to see how that is expressed in the film. Moreover, what’s with the rape?! Not very sympathetic. In the book, Rachell is the one who persuades Deckard into having sex with her to then later use it to her advantage. And why is the film called BLADE RUNNER? Oh well, I guess there are many things I do not understand.

    Sorry all, it guess this comment became rather long. But not as long as the time it will take me to get over the disappointment of not having seen one of the greatest movies ever.

  7. Katrine – If I remember right, in the book there was like a religious TV channel or something where somebody gets literally stoned by the viewers or something that fascinatingly conceived.

    As for why the title, well it wasn’t like the book title was ever an option for the producers, and I think they started out with crappy stand-in titles like DANGEROUS DAYS (urgh) and ANROID (yeech) before somebody came upon a William S. Burroughs book (NAKED LUNCH?) and found “Blade Runner” which for some reason or another they thought it was a great title.

    On the flipside, you had the infamous 20th Century Fox head huncho who decided to name that recent Tom Cruise flop KNIGHT AND DAY.

  8. I have to say, I think you’re looking at it all wrong. In my opinion, Roy Batty is the good guy, and Rick Deckard is supposed to kind of seem shitty. The movie is really all about Batty, and his struggle to be recognized as alive, much more alive in fact than Deckard.

  9. Also, Ridley Scott has apparently stated in interviews that Deckard is a replicant, but I think it’s better to think of him as a human who might as well be a robot, because that contrasts better with Batty’s robot wishing to be human.

  10. And, it has to be said that this Director’s Cut (which I also saw in the theater and now own on blu-ray) looks about a million times better than I ever thought this film would look. It might be the most impressive restoration I’ve ever seen, and the changes that were made were all relevant and interesting. It’s actually a better movie now. Suck on that, George Lucas.

  11. I was a Blade Runner-hater for years – I thought the same as Vern – it’s too slow, too bland of a main character, shitty and unconvincing love story, but I saw it again this weekend and HOLY SHIT – everything clicked. I agree with Levon – if you look at it from the perspective that the Replicants are the good guys, it really is incredibly powerful and sad. There’s so many layers I never really picked up on, like how the stripper Replicant was special ops (revealed when they go over her file, Steven Seagal-style). How incredibly depressing to spend your life in slavery/forced battle (like Gladiator!) and then forced to make ends meet by fucking stripping and then getting shot twice in the back while running away.

    Deckard is easily the least interesting, least charismatic main character in a great movie, but it really works to contrast with the Replicants, just like Vern said. (That’s why I call bullshit on the whole “Deckard is a replicant” shit, which reeks of George Lucas-y tinkering – the whole theme goes out the window!)

    I could seriously clog up Vern’s page with about 50 posts on this movie, but I’ll just point out one thing – anyone else think The Island was Michael Bay’s attempt to remake Blade Runner from the perspective of the replicants?

  12. neal2zod, which cut did you watch? I think Scott’s recent remastered final cut is the best one, and it looks amazing on Blu-ray or (HD-DVD). However, I do think Deckard is a replicant.

  13. Charles – HDNET didn’t mention what edition, so I assumed it was the theatrical cut when I started watching it. Then I noticed there was no narration and of course I saw the unicorn, so I’m assuming it was the Director’s Cut. (I looked at the wikipedia for The Final Cut and didn’t see the changes they mentioned).

    Then later HDNET played “The Final Cut” and I was like, “awesome, they’re playing two different versions! But it turned out to be the same cut that I saw earlier! Do you have the 5 disc blu ray? Believe it or not, I actually DO want to see 5 discs about this movie now.

    So re: Deckard being a replicant – I see the evidence, but just don’t want to believe it. In your opinion what value does that add to the story? I mean, I admit it would be a neat twist, but it really does take away the entire theme of “Are cold, emotionless humans any better than emotional robots?” I think someone summed up the ending best by saying Roy saved Deckard at the end because he WAS “More Human Than Human” as the motto went, and showed the compassion that Deckard sure as hell wouldn’t show him.

  14. neal2zod, I do have the 5 disc set on HD-DVD, and it is great. There are 4 versions of the film (the theatrical, work print, director’s cut, and final cut of the film), lots of extras, and the extensive DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER documentary (Harrison Ford cusses like a sailor). I don’t remember there being a huge difference between the director’s cut, and the final cut from a narrative stand point, but the Final cut is not only digitally remastered but they also digitally touched up many of the practical effects and the film looks amazing! I am assuming the Blu-Ray looks and sounds as good as the HD-DVD, and the HD-DVD of the final cut is maybe the best looking and sounding HD disc I own, and I own a number of HD-DVD’s and Blu-Rays. The combination of Scott’s haunting vision of the future and top notch visual and audio remastering will really blow you away, the effects look better then most modern films.

    It has been a couple years since I watched the film, but I do agree that whether Deckard is a replicant or not is not really central to the story. I think at the heart of the film is the question of what really makes someone human. In the end Roy is a Christ like figure dieing for humanities sins.

  15. Is BLADE RUNNER the only movie in history where the director actually doesn’t understand the script?

    It was spelt out to Scott at a script meeting that Deckard isn’t a replicant and he apparently was looking out of a window, puffing on a cigar, when he suddenly hit the table he was sat at and exclaimed, brilliant! He’s a replicant, too! I love it!

    The “he’s a replicant” ending is too “Twilight Zone” for me. It goes “dun-dun-DUN!” but doesn’t have the staying power of him being human.

    I’m sure plenty of people dig that and that’s cool but I’m with the screenwriters on this one.

    He’s basically dead at the start of the film and slowly comes back to life.

    That shit is deep.

    BTW, you can actually hear the anger in Hampton Fancher’s voice rise on the Final Cut commentary when the “replicant glow” appears in Deckard’s eyes. I think he actually growls “Ridley….” At one point, too.

    It’s kind of awesome.

    I like to imagine he’s also shaking his fist at the screen in a “why I oughta…!” fashion.

  16. There really is no good and evil in this as far as I’m concerned. It’s all shades of grey, maybe apart from the two figures of authority (Bryant and Tyrell) who aren’t exactly twirling their mustaches the whole time. Watching the film (which for me means the ’92 directors cut and the more Final Cut, still have yet to see the other three versions) from this perspective is a rewarding experience, I feel.

  17. http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/prisoners-enemy-director-denis-villeneuve-to-helm-blade-runner-sequel-harrison-ford-confirmed-to-return-20150226

    Paint me interested. Between possibly this happening and Blomkamp doing the next ALIEN, these franchises might have a fighting chance of returning with a truly fresh approach with each guy at the helm.

  18. I think a lot of franchises have managed to “come back” with the right director at the helm. Fresh eyes seems to help. I would have dreaded this a lot more if Scott were doing it.

  19. Holy shit. My local cinema screens BLADE RUNNER in april!

  20. Are you finally getting BLADE RUNNER in Sweden? This must be a glorious day for you…

  21. Blade Runner 2049 is a real thing:

    [visual-parse url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_JAMRKzEHs

  22. BLADE RUNNER 2049 - Official Trailer

    There are still pages left in this story. Watch the NEW trailer for #BladeRunner2049, in theaters October 6. -- Thirty years after the events of the first fi...

  23. Is it wrong that I want to punch all those online film types orgasmically proclaiming how amazing this looks (“DEAKINS!!!!”)? Those same arseholes destroyed GHOST IN THE SHELL(2017) which, on the whole, looks pretty damn similar to this new take on BR, minus the FURY ROAD-y Vegas wasteland bits. That film even featured its own versions of those giant 3D hologram ads.

    2049 doesn’t look bad, but I miss that ’80s Ridley Scott texture. And it seems like they upped the action, which is understandable but also somehow regrettable.

  24. The Internet knows the name of one cinematographer and he could shoot an entire movie of his brunch plate with a sepia Instagram filter on it and it would be declared a magnificent and transcendent work of art. (Source: SKYFALL)

  25. But it does look quite good. I could defintitely see myself want to watch this in cinema. It doesn´t look like a squid farted ink on it during postproduction like ARRIVAL did.

  26. Of course it looks good. EVERYTHING LOOKS GOOD. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars, they hire skilled professionals, they use the finest equipment, it fucking better look good. Looking good is no reason to see a movie anymore. It’s a given. It’s like choosing a restaurant because it has tables.

  27. Remind me never to comment again

  28. I’m sorry. There’s just no reason for this to exist. BLADE RUNNER isn’t my favorite thing (pretty far from it) but it is its own thing. I respect it. This thing, this is just more fanfic. I don’t care how much artistry went into it. It’s not real. It’s another recycled dream designed to train audiences to stop dreaming for themselves.

  29. I agree on what you are saying Majestyk . At least on some level. I was just annoyed with the snark response. Of course the trailer oozes with the type of retro-dreaming that people crave more than actual story telling or clever creative filmmaking ideas that evolves what came before rather than re-hasching ideas. It is all for the narcissitic pleasure of an audience that may be sheeps that dreams of more androids.

    I still look forward to seeing a BLADERUNNER on the big screen. I have yet to experience that so I want tpo create my own memories of seeing it.

  30. I wasn’t being snarky to you, Shoot, and I apologize if that’s how I came off. I legitimately feel that beautiful cinematography is just a given nowadays, so if that’s all a movie has going for it, it can fuck off. Which is generally how I feel about the non-ALIEN work of Ridley Scott, so maybe that approach is appropriate in this case.

    Either way, I wouldn’t see it for money, but I hope you enjoy it. There’s no wrong reason to want to see a movie.

  31. Don´t worry. I may be easily triggered these days , I don´t know. I don´t either fully understand the need for a further examination of what it means to be human in the BLADERUNNER world, but maybe there is more to be said.

  32. CEPE beat me to my point:

    Nerds with the GHOST IN THE SHELL trailer: “Ug another damned BLADE RUNNER knockoff…”


    I seriously have no clue why nerds keep getting baited by this. Even if they like it at first, they’ll end up hating it. All the guys online and off who called me an asshole for only thinking THE FORCE AWAKENS is ‘only okay’ now bitch about how it’s ‘not very good.’ Same thing with the STAR TREK reboots (I don’t even think anyone even remembers they made a third one last year).

  33. So we are now hating one of the best cinematographers of our time because he became too popular by doing a great job every time he showed up at work?

    I need to stay offline for a day or two.

  34. I never said that I hate Deakins. I just hate the hypocritical overreactions.

  35. BLADERUNNER has been on my top 10 list for so long – since 1984 in fact, when my brother and I saw it three times in a row (we knew how to get the most out of our video rentals back then) – that I just can wrap my head around the fact that there are people out there who don’t view it as a masterpiece…

  36. I want to be excited for this. If you told me Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford were starring in a sci-fi Denis Villaneuve movie shot by Roger Deakins, it would rocket to the top of my excitement list. But unfortunately I’m with Mr. M here, there’s just no good reason to tell this story. What, is Deckard such a great, timeless character that we’re all dying to know what he was up to when he was 70? While he solves a conspiracy to save the world? The world of BLADE RUNNER looks great, but if the original had anything genuinely special about it, it was its philosophical, low-key meditative vibe. I don’t see how turning it into a generic wiz-bang Hollywood action epic can result in anything except a particularly nice-looking TOTAL RECALL REMAKE or GHOST IN THE SHELL. Which to me translates as “something to see on an airplane or with some people you don’t know very well and be pleasantly surprised by but almost immediately forget.”

  37. I can see why people don´t like it. It has a pretty abstract and loose narrative in which the main protagonist is the least relatable, which has to do with him being as many others in the futiristic society, wrapped up in their own technology and not even once reflect on their own living comditions or their morals. He has become robotic. Then comes along a bunch of inhuman murderers that asks to have their lives extended. Now that does not make for an exciting narrative.

    Unless you think of the inhuman murders as more or less babies born as adults not knowing any moral codes and just ask pf their makers to give them more life, or more meaning in life for them to make their own decisions.

    In the end, Hauers character gives the most human and poetic and moving speech of any in the entire film or in most films as a matter of fact, since he has appreciated his short life more than we have. “I have seen things you people wouldn´t believe”.

    It is a hard movie to accept as it never gives you a distinct point of view to identify with and you have to find it of your own. But that is what makes BLADERUNNER so special.

  38. That’s why it’s called “the thinking man’s sci-fi”. And that’s a reason on it’s own to love it, don’t you think? It’s like reading a book over and over and discovering something new each time. It’s about the meaning of life, the hunt for a deeper meaning, the killing of god…

  39. pegsman: I have tried SO hard to love BLADE RUNNER over the years. I’ve seen it many times in many different cuts and each time it leaves me cold. I used to be very negative on it but I see now that, that was wrong. So I moved to the phase of respecting it. I pretty much agree with Vern and what Shoot wrote just now. That said, I can see why it is loved so much. If you need to discredit my opinion even more, I like the ‘original’ bored voice-over narration. I can definitely concede it wasn’t a good narration but I thought it added to the vibe of the movie.

    As for the talk of movies looking pretty: I see where Mr. M is coming from and do agree to a point. That said I end up seeing a bunch of unremarkable-looking movies that cost millions to make that I do get happy (excited even sometimes) when I see filmmakers put elbow grease in on that front. Not saying everything has to look like FURY ROAD or THE INNOCENTS of coarse. Should a movie be seen just because it ‘looks’ good (ie pretty)? Probably not.

    I know it’s a cliche now but at least this one has a good crew (and cast) behind it. So *maybe* it will produce something worth our while. I guess I should have more faith in it than next week’s ALIEN COVENANT which I have reduced my expectations and hopes down to ‘well if it’s a decent retread of ALIEN I will be (kinda) pleased’ like how last year I dug BLAIR WITCH even though it is exactly the type of movie that pisses me off and Mr. M was complaining about, one that exists solely to extend an IP and nostalgia-bait people while adding nothing to the mythology or cinema as a whole (I still feel bad and hypocritical for liking it by-the-way).

  40. pegs: I agree with that and that is why I finally decided to respect it. Honestly BLADE RUNNER (and Vern’s writing) probably taught me a lot about finding the good in a movie I don’t enjoy.

    Also I didn’t mention this but if Deckard wasn’t the main character, or at least not such an unlikable assholish bore I would probably love it because the last two times I watched it (both times it was the THE FINAL CUT btw) I learned that I think I legit love every single thing in the movie except both the Deckard character and Harrison Ford’s performance.

  41. I´d like to add that what I wrote was what I PERSONALLY got out of BLADERUNNER. Not a definitive word on how it was supposed to be read. It is a mystic and enigmatic piece of work and as such you are left to like it however you want.

    It was also a very troubled shoot so a lot of the stuff in it could have been less of intellectuel results and more of actual production shenanigans.

  42. geoffreyjar, aren’t that just what we humans are like, unlikable assholish bores? We create robots, or replicants to be presise, to be better versions of ourselves, more intelligent, better looking, and then we treat them like shit?

  43. And in BLADERUNNER we end up creating versions of ourselves that see the world in ways that we even have forget existed. Technology makes the creator blind.

  44. And if technology makes the creator blind, what does that say about God?

  45. I still have never fully gotten BLADE RUNNER and I’m ok with that because I still am very intrigued by it. Deckard sucks but I do agree that the rest of it pretty much makes up for him. Roy Batty is fucking awesome. Up there with Wulfgar and The Hitcher in the 80s Rutger Hauer antagonist hierarchy.

    This movie looks like it will be lacking a Roy Batty. I’ll still see it because like Shoot it will be my one big screen trek into that universe since I never watched SOLDIER on the big screen. However I’m very ambivalent to it. You got the dullest “phones it in but can be great when he wants to be” big name actor since Harrison Ford replacing Harrison Ford.

    You got that nostalgia porn visual factor that has worn thin by now. Nothing in the trailer lets me know why making this movie even makes any sense. Except that on a superficial level it won’t be as boring as the first, I gueasm

    Only real hope is the SICARIO director and the production design. I’m prepared to not even care about the rest. I just hope the material makes me care about the rest in the end.

  46. I’m glad there are a couple other people who saw the (problematic but pretty interesting) Ghost in the Shell remake, and recognize that the major sticking point of this trailer–the holographic monoliths–were used to pretty stunning effect there, though the movie was roundly dismissed. I’m a fan of Villeneuve’s work and think he’s the perfect director for this, if it needed to be made at all. I’m just not sure why you would cast the most boring dude alive opposite the second most boring.

  47. I would argue that, unlike the DIE HARDS and the JAMES BONDS, this sequel actually has some questions to answer.

  48. But is answering questions REALLY what people like about BLADE RUNNER? I thought you’d just told us that the glory of the movie was that it lets you draw your own conclusions about what it means. Now you want a sequel to explain it all for you? I don’t get it.

  49. Majestyk has a point.

  50. I’m just trying to understand. I’m not trying to talk anybody out of anything. The heart wants what it wants.

    Just a few weeks ago, I was on my way to see F8 for the second time. I was walking through the lobby and seeing all these posters and displays for all these dumb movies that I would never see in a million years. BOSS BABY. Some “Old Guys Behaving Badly” comedy. The fuckin’ BEAUTY & THE BEAST remake. Just total garbage. Then I realized that plenty of people would say the same thing about the big dumb car crash epic I was about to see. And it hit me how cool it was that there’s a special kind of dumb movie out there for every kind of audience member who really ought to know better but doesn’t want to. Maybe some people just get a kick out of hearing a cartoon baby talk with the voice of a beloved character actor. Maybe others like to imagine that their golden years are as full of adventure and humor as the ones depicted onscreen. And maybe others need an intermediary to 50 SHADES OF GREY as a guidebook toward internalizing the normalization of abusive relationships. It’s a rich tapestry.

    Point being, reality is a motherfucker and we all need our cinematic comfort food, even (perhaps especially) when we know it provides no real nutrition. There’s something out there for everybody, and that’s a good thing. I try and remember that when I start getting up on my high horse about what movies do or don’t “need” to exist. That’s not my call to make. One person’s complete disavowal of all principles of artistic integrity is another’s reason to go on for just one more day. Even the Disney STAR WARS upgradeable content (I hesitate to call them “films”), which I consider to be a huge step toward the total lobotomization of our collective unconscious, probably prevented at least one person from committing suicide.

    I wish we’d all learn how to dream better, myself included. But sometimes the dreams we’re offered are the only dreams we have. I don’t have the right to judge.

  51. Shoot, Mr Majestyk would certainly have a good point if it were the philosophical questions I wanted answers to. But this time I was thinking more of the basic, some would say banale, questions like what happened to Rick and Rachael and how long did their sad romance last? Did Gaff quit the force and become a full time origami artist? Did Bryant get promoted to head asshole? And did Taffey choke on one of his own drinks? Stuff like that.

  52. Majestyk, it seems we always start in different ends, but after a few post we tend to see eye to eye.

  53. It’s probably my fault. My arguments always start off with bold and defiant broad strokes, then I think about the contrary point of view and whittle them down to something a little more subtle and sympathetic. It’s probably why I’ll never be a politician.

  54. Oh, I think you have just what it takes to be a politician.

  55. I know we’ve had our disagreements, pegsy, but what have I ever done to you to merit such a savage insult?

  56. Don’t see it as an insult. There are actually a few good ones out there…

  57. I know. I was just making a Morning Zoo Crew kind of low-hanging fruit joke.

  58. It’s ny own fault, but these little exchanges of ours always make me seem completely humorless. I knew you were joking, but somehow I just had to explain myself.

  59. Don´t worry . It´s not like Norwegians can´t be funny. I mean we point and laugh at them all the time over here.

  60. And we let you have that, since we mostly feel sorry for you.

  61. After weeks of stressing out about which cut of Blade Runner to show my fiancee so we can both watch Blade Runner 2 this weekend, the final verdict is….it doesn’t matter because she fell asleep about an hour into the thing and hated every minute she saw until then. Her complaints are the same as Vern’s and everyone else’s – it’s classic style over substance, the lead performance is bored, there’s no chemistry between the leads, the plot is confusing and inelegantly told, the music seems like something they play when you’re getting a massage. And you know what, these are all valid complaints! I would never in a million years tell someone they’re “wrong” about Blade Runner, the same way I really don’t want someone to tell me I’m “wrong” about 2001 for still finding it boring as fuck. Also, even though I do think multiple viewings of Blade Runner are necessary to “get it”, I also admit no human being should be expected to continually subject themselves to art they don’t like just so they can “get it”. Life’s too short.

    I think I said somewhere on this site that Blade Runner seems to be the blueprint for most of Quentin Tarantino’s latter movies (most notably Inglorious Basterds), and after this newest viewing I stand by that. There’s the pulpy, badass premise that sounds like a vehicle for tons of badass action sequences (Han Solo/Brad Pitt vs. Nazis/Superhuman Robots?! Sign me up!)….and then the finished product ends up being a glacially paced talkathon with rare, sporadic bursts of gory violence. There’s the shades-of-grey moral dilemmas and character work, where film-watching and common sense tells us which characters we’re supposed to be rooting for, but the filmmakers subvert that at every turn (having the character played by the matinee idol disappear for giant chucks of the film; having said character be the least interesting character in the movie; having the camera linger sympathetically on the painful deaths of the villains). There’s the weird, episodic structure where the ENTIRE movie is an endless series of interrogations (beginning with Leon’s literal interrogation!), mostly between two characters, often with one character pretending to be someone they’re not (or in the case of the Zhora scene with Ford’s awful “nerd voice”- BOTH parties are not who they appear to be). This theme reaches its inevitable climax when Pris, a “pleasure model” created solely to be a glorified lifesize (sex) doll, hides from Deckard by pretending to be…a lifesize doll. The fact that we’re watching a character whose only crime is not being human, suppress the traits that actually MAKE her “human”, in an effort to hide for her life in plain sight amongst robotic toys (the thing society dismissively views her as)- it’s a twisted, haunting, nightmarish scenario. The fact that this character isn’t even a main character, but a supporting villainess with barely any screentime, is what makes this movie so frustrating for people who hate it, and so ingenious for people who love it. It’s not an easy movie to love or even like, but it’s one that’s endlessly fascinating once you finally get on its difficult wavelength.

  62. Oh and FYI, I decided to watch the Theatrical Cut, which turned out to be a mistake – the narration, which i was a longtime defender of (“It’s not that bad!”) is uh, really that bad. It’s redundant and obvious, with multiple instances of Ford literally recapping shit we just saw happen onscreen, and not only is it poorly written and badly performed, the way it’s hamfistedly inserted into random gaps in dialogue, (and the way the volume level is out of whack with the rest of the film) makes it feel less like a character narrating and more like a MST3K commentary track. Let’s not even get into the hilariously bad “happy ending” narration too – nothing like solving a major plot point and dilemma (Rachel’s 4 year expiration date) by pulling an unseen conversation out of your ass (“Well, her creator told me she didn’t have an expiration date. THE END”).

    On another note – I chose Theatrical over Final Cut because I really, really hated the whole “Deckard is a Replicant” thing, but honestly this time I actually think it weirdly doesn’t matter if he is or not. I know, I know – he’s supposed to be a boring stick in the mud to contrast him to Roy Batty, and maybe it’s just my sourness or the way humanity is going, but it’s not like we REALLY need an exact mirror image character to tell us that humans can sometimes be selfish, rapey assholes who are also really uninteresting and boring. And besides, he’s such an uninvolving presence, I can’t really get worked up about whether or not his supposed character arc is betrayed. Was anyone really THAT invested in the “Deckard was dead inside, but he learned to LIVE AGAIN (by shooting unarmed women in the back and raping a robot)” storyline? In fact, having Deckard be a robot surprisingly adds an extra layer of brilliance to Hauer’s final monologue – when he talks of all the crazy sights he’s seen and memories he’s gone out and made, it contrasts even more with Deckard’s drab existence since we now know he didn’t even get to actually experience said drab existence! It makes Deckard even more pathetic and Roy even more remarkable when they’re both cut from the same cloth.

  63. Cool write up except where you got confused and mentioned Inglorious Basterds as a boring movie.

    I was with you on the narration. “It’s not that bad geez! In fact it ADDS to the noir-like atmosphere!” To find out I like the IDEA of the narration.

    Watches the theatrical version again for the first time since VHS in another attempt to like the damned movie. While watching my mind stated the following: “It was in that moment geoffreyjar realized that in fact this narration sucks. He now thinks that maybe he was fool to question everyone including the filmmakers about the narration. Now geoffreyjar is falling asleep again as it is impossible to stay awake watching this movie.”

  64. This new Blade Runner movie looks like it’s going to make more sense.

  65. Saw BLADE RUNNER for the first time in 15 years yesterday. It was the Theatrical version,

    I love the Vangelis score. Rutger Hauer and the world building was phenomenal. I didn’t even mind Sean Young (Racheal isn’t that integral to the plot anyway).

    Deckard on the other hand is a dick. The way he stalks and flat out murder a terrified Zhora was just hard to watch. Not to mention taking advantage of Rachael in his apartment.

  66. Geoffrey – ha, yeah i actually looked at my old comments on the Basterds thread and could actually see the progression of me thinking it was boring, to me loving it (not quite as much as I love Blade Runner, but close). It’s just such a weird, arty, subversive, non-commercial movie, and its existence is even more boggling knowing that it was conceived as an Expendables-style Arnold/Sly/Bruce actioner. How the team went from an all-star dream cast to…one famous person, one polarizing horror movie director, and a bunch of other dudes – I’ll never know. And the fact that it was generally liked by the public, won Oscars, and grossed over $100 million just makes the whole thing even that more remarkable.

    Speaking of remarkable, how awesome would it be if the new Blade Runner had Ryan Gosling narrating it?? I mean this is a franchise that apparently doesn’t care about giving people what they expect or want, they might as well double-down on that.

  67. I do wonder with all this current BLADE RUNNER hype if people will bother to actually revisit SOLDIER.

  68. Broddie – yeah as much as I like Kurt, how awesome would it have been if Soldier starred Rutger Hauer and was a Roy Batty Prequel? I think even if you kept everything else the exact same, there would have been an extra layer of pathos and power to it. As is, it’s still a pretty serviceable actioner with a few Blade Runner easter eggs, but it could have been groundbreaking, the Undisputed II of its time.

  69. Right now I can’t join in the chorus of people saying it’s better than the first or indeed that it’s some kind of masterpiece, but I mostly liked BLADE RUNNER: ALMOST TEN TO NINE.

    Need to see it again, I guess.

    To no-one’s surprise, I recommend seeing this on the biggest screen they got.

  70. Okay, but can people, who haven’t seen parts 2 – 2048 understand the plot?

  71. “I recommend seeing this on the biggest screen they got.”

    Why do you do this when you should know by now that I have sworn off going to the theaters unless a friend or family member wants to go?

    On a serious note: As stated many times BR is a movie I respect more than like so I’m kinda on the whole not too interested at the moment. Without spoiling, is there anything in there that would have recommend it to people like me who respect the original but kinda sorta don’t like it?

    Do they at least continue the tradition of having a forced-noir-like narration?

  72. Crushinator Jones

    October 9th, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Blade Runner 2049 is a great movie and I can’t wait to read Vern’s take on it. Even if he hates it, the movie lays down so many ideas and plays its cards so close that different interpretations can be radically different.

  73. I can go on peacefully with my life knowingly that I never ever will watch SOLDIER a second time. Life is to precious.

  74. When it came out, I thought SOLDIER was a mediocre movie with a great Kurt Russell performance in it. I’d watch it again to see if time has been kind to it.

  75. Crushinator Jones

    October 9th, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    All movies that show the future as a dystopian hell have aged really well IMO.

  76. The thing about BLADE RUNNER’s dystopia though and this applies both to the original and 2049, is it’s oddly comfy, it’s a grim world but also cool as hell and you can honestly see how people would be able to live their lives in it.

    This contrasts with other dystopias like 1984 that are so bleak and miserable you wonder why everyone doesn’t just commit suicide en masse or ya know, instantly overthrow this government that makes everyone’s lives miserable, the world of BLADE RUNNER is grim, but it’s still a world you wish you could visit, if not live in.

    I mean hell, I’d be pretty pleased if I could have a girlfriend that looks like Ana de Armas, even if she was just a hologram, that’s BLADE RUNNER in a nutshell, on one hand the idea of a virtual Ana de Armas girlfriend is depressing because she’s not “real”, on the other hand it’s completely fucking awesome and I want one.

  77. Well-played, CJ. That gave me a chuckle.

  78. It’s like when I saw 10 straight after SE7EN. A LOT have to have happened in EIGHT and NINE, but I can’t find them anywhere.

  79. Good point pegsman. I’m still trying to figure out how Morgan Freeman’s character became Dudley Moore.

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