Monday, February 18, 2008

Blade Runner- The Final Cut

The upcoming movie with Harrison Ford as the main actor brings to mind, another Harrison Ford movie which I regard as one of the greatest science fiction movie ever made- Blade Runner (1982), directed by Ridley Scott, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel,
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

[contain spoilers]

The story is set in Los Angeles of 2019, a Los Angeles that only those in the early 1980s will dream of. At that time, the Japanese were buying up large chunks of the US of A. This future Los Angeles is like a crowded Tokyo, implying that Japan actually owns the USA by then. The concept of the film actually predicts globalisation, global warming and climatic change and genetic engineering (the word cloning was not in common use then). Genetically engineered humans called replicants were created to work in dangerous places in off world colonies. To keep them in check, these replicants were implanted with false memories of their past and they do not know that they are genetically engineered. They have only a lifespan of 5 years. Following a small replicant uprising, replicants become illegal on Earth; and specialist police called "blade runners" are trained to hunt down and "retire" (kill) escaped replicants on Earth. Retired blade runner Rick Deckard (Ford) reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt 6 replicants in this movie.

The movie received mixed reviews on its opening. Many people could not understand the story. Despite the box office failure of the film, it has since become a cult classic.
Seven versions of the film have been created, for various markets, and as a result of controversial changes made by film executives. A rushed Director's Cut was released in 1992 on DVD. As one of the first films chosen for the new DVD format unfortunately it has mediocre video and audio quality. In late 2007 Warner Bros. released in theater and DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray the 25th anniversary long-awaited digitally remastered definitive Final Cut by Scott.

The movie asks two basic questions (1) Does a replicant or a genetically created human being or a human clone has basic human rights? and (2) Does a replicant or a genetically created human being or a human clone has the right to ask of his or her creator, ‘why am I created’? In the case of the replicants in the movie, they were created to be used and exploited for 5 years after which they cease to function (die). The two questions have haunted me since I first saw the movie in 1982. Does the created have a right to ask the creator, ‘Why am I created to suffer?’ The movie asks the existential questions of the book of Ecclesiastes while playing out the Greek tragedy of Job. The final question that will ring in our minds as the credit roll will be that, ‘Is Rick Deckard a replicant too?’


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Blogger GFS3 said...

I think you need to re-think "Blade Runner." While the movie poses some deep philosophical questions about what it means to be human -- Ridley Scott fails to execute on delivering the answers. "Blade Runner" is filled with stereotypes and plot holes the size of chasms.

For more details, read this analysis:

And to make matters worse -- Harrison Ford sleep walks through his role.

10:28 AM  
Blogger anthony said...

nay, still one of the best sci-fi flicks. many other sci-fi movies pick up from this one. it was a trend setter. i remembered watching this movie in the theatres and came out very moved. here is a human who doesn't love life and would have just drifted along life while the replicant leader, played by rutger, does not want to die and does all he can even to the extent of meeting his maker to prolong his life.

harrison ford is best for the role - the lazy or layback type police with burning sense of justice. but note what he said about himself in quoting his wife -he is a sushi! cold fish. no wonder his wife left him and he had to re-discover love with a replicant!

i don't think deckard is a replicant. in the movie version, the last part of the movie shows him driving away with sean young the replicant but of an improved version. you get the idea that it is narrated that she is still young while he has grown older and how long the two can stay together in this way.

i have seen the theatre's version and the earlier director's cut. pretty ok. now i hope i can see the 2007 directors' cut.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi gfs3,

welcome. You are right that Ridley Scott failed to deliver. Watching Disc 2 of Final cut (2007) gave me a glimpse of how obsessive he was and why there were a change in screenwriters and hence no continuity. It also highlighted why Harrison had difficulty in working with Scott. I guess that is why Harrison was so intense and the plot line was so shotty. Yes, it could have been a much better movie.

Cool, I love your blog.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi anthony,

It is interesting to wonder if Deckard is a replicant because if he is, that will meant his memories about a 'sushi' marriage was an artificial memory!

It is difficult to decide because there were seven versions of the movie with different endings. I do remember the ending you described in the movie version. However in the Director's cut, the ending is slightly different and in the Final Cut even more.

For whatever it is worth, I watched a Youtube presentation of an interview with Scott who admitted Deckard is a replicant.

Enjoy watching the Final Cut and look for clues.

11:49 PM  

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