Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blade Runners of Glory

I'm excited as only a true science fiction geek can be about the upcoming release of a new cut of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

I've always thought the original Blade Runner (1982) (BR)was one of the best science fiction movies ever made. There are a lot of movies that have some great element(s): story, script, acting, effects, production values - but BR had it all.

The story, using an old noir detective type device, explored what we mean when we use the word "human." How easily we draw the line between us humans and those less-than-human, and how blurry (or non-existent) that line is in reality. We humans seem to be built to dehumanize.

The script, even the one with the hokey voice overs, was intelligent. I should say that the script, combined with the set design visions of Ridely Scott, was intelligent - prophetic some might say. Taking a complicated Philip K. Dick novel (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and boiling down multiple story lines to the essential parts so they could be told visually.

The actual dialogue of the screenplay was bare, with the story told primarily by visuals. But it couldn't have been told well with just special effects (witness any of the past few Star Wars movies). Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah ... while each may have had a particular finer moment in some other film, each delivered a great performance in their roles for BR.

The movie was shot before digital effects had really taken off, and therefore the sets had to be "real" (or as real as sets and props get). Because of this, it all looked and felt real, like you were really looking at the streets of San Angeles some decades in the future. CGI is powerful, but it still doesn't come across the same as real 3-D set work. The production values were extremely high throughout. Were there mistakes? Sure, but only a supergeek would notice.

25 Years after it's initial release, Ridley Scott has put together the movie he originally wanted to make - no compromises, happy endings, voice overs - a hard movie that doesn't give anything away freely, and rewards that much more because of it.

I hope.

I'm looking forward to it. December 18th! (Can you say early xmas present?)

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