Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blade Runner

Seeing Blade Runner for the first time in 1982 was another sneak preview experience. It was a Thursday, so it was just the night before the film opened, and I'm not sure if it was a public screening, or one in which you needed a pass to get in. (I'm going to try and confirm it was one or the other during a trip to the library.)

The preview was at my beloved Coronet, and I remember since it was so crowded, we had to sit a lot further back in the "loge" than we usually preferred to sit. I'd have better seats the second time I went to go see it, about two weeks later.

I loved the movie, but apparently not enough to give it a five on my rating scale; it garnered a mere four-and-a-half. I think even then I could see there were two big problems with the movie: Harrison Ford's awful narration, and the silly happy ending. I remember thinking, "If there's a place so beautiful and green and free out there, why doesn't everyone take advantage of it?"

I've got the deluxe five disc DVD set that comes in a "Voight-Kampff" briefcase, and rewatched the 1982 version, and indeed, after being exposed to versions that don't have Ford's deadpan narration throughout, it's kind of painful to sit through. Still, I was able to look past that enough when I first saw it to realize it was a pretty amazing movie.

Of course, at the time, it got its fair share of bad reviews, (as you can see below), and it was a flop. Its box office failure probably had a lot to do with E.T.'s dominance at the ticket booth, but also with Harrison Ford's presence in the movie. Raiders of the Lost Ark had been released the year before, and was, of course, a huge hit, so at that point, Ford was both Han Solo AND Indiana Jones in the public eye. But in Blade Runner, he's an asshole who shoots women, (OK, fine, a replicant woman) in the back, and gets his ass kicked (more than once!) by androids. (A friend at the time, who had a HUGE crush on Harrison Ford, was totally grossed out that he makes-out with, as she called Rachel, "that fake robot." I appreciate the contradiction in that statement.)

Most of the reviews praised its visuals, but felt the story was flimsy; it was all show and no soul (kind of like a replicant!), but obviously, it's stood the test of time. I think even if the various "director's cuts" hadn't been released, Blade Runner would still have ended up being considered one of the best science fiction films of all time.

Also, it takes place in 2019, so does that mean we're only seven years from off world colonies and flying cars? I can't wait!!

I'll have some more to say about it in another post, so for now, here's a less-than stellar review from the Examiner, plus some capsule reviews from the Chronicle:

And a review from the East Bay Express, continued on a second scan, where you can also see a review from Trashola.

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