Monday, January 9, 2012

Blade Runner (1982) (The Final Cut 2007), Ridley Scott

 This submission will be critically analysing Ridley Scott's movie "Blade Runner". It is a good example of mixing sci-fi, film noir and cyber-punk styles with a final result of something incredible. This review will be dealing with the world which was shown in this movie, symbolism behind the characters and rich heritage left for the future sci-fi movies and it is based on Roger Ebert's, Rita Kempley's and Peter Hartlaub's reviews.


"Blade Runner" is a loose movie with a lot of unanswered questions. It is based on Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and there is also a sequel (another novel) of both (Ridley Scott's movie and Philip K. Dick's novel) by K. W. Jeter "Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human". Analysing this movie it is impossible not to find any context tightly connected with these novels. Even though "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" might answer a lot of questions, it still manages to create new ones and leaves a lot of space for reader's imagination what can not really be said about the sequel. For anyone who was hooked up by the ideas shown or written in one of these creations should definitely take a look at the original book and completely hardcore fans might also enjoy "Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human". We can see a lot of influences of style and story in movies like Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in The Shell” or even beginning of James Cameron’s “Avatar”. This movie brilliantly showed future directors how sci-fi, future noir and cyber-punk should look like.


There is no wonder why this movie is so good - It was released five times with different variations to improve it. Amazing visual atmosphere takes us into futuristic panorama of Los Angeles with a great influence of Tokyo. Movie critic Rogert Ebert approves the way how it was changed and he said: "Scott has resisted the temptation to go back and replace analog special effects with new CGI work (which disturbed many fans of George Lucas' "Star Wars") and has kept Douglas Turnbull's virtuoso original special effects, while enhancing, restoring, cleaning and scrubbing both visuals and sound so the film reflects a higher technical standard than ever before." (Chicago Sun Times, November 3, 2007). In his review  from “Chicago Sun Times” without technical perfection Roger Ebert pointed out many other good things about this movie too. He also talked about secrets that could lie behind the things that were mentioned in the plot. For example: main character Rick Deckard (Blade runner) was told that he needs to track down six “replicants” (artificial people), but all the time he was dealing only with five and once he was asked if he was actually sure of what was his own origin. That provokes a question of possibilities who might be that sixth “replicant”, because mysterious ending could lead us to many different conclusions.

Some characters give a really good depth to this movie. “Washington Post” writer Rita Kempley gives a first example of Pris (one of the "replicants"): "Every viewing of "Blade Runner" brings new discoveries - a half-midget, half-mechanical toy's decidedly sexual response to Pris's appearance in Sebastian's living-doll-filled apartment -- and revitalizes treasured visual memories" (Washington Post, September 11, 1992). Pris had a very extravagant look very much influenced by cyber-punk fashion style – replicants are very human-like creatures, they were created to be just like people only better and stronger and they weren’t even treated or called as androids, because technically that’s how they should be called, but imitated emotions and limited life span makes them something in between. In this case Pris, because of her style, shows that she doesn’t even want to be a human, she loves to show off her powers, wears standing out clothes and make up and in K. W. Jeter’s "Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human" for some hardly believable, but understandable reason she was suggested to be an insane woman who believed that she is a “replicant”. It is hardly believable that she was just a woman because we saw in the movie how she took out an egg from boiling water without even feeling it, but in the scene where she pretended to be a doll to ambush Deckard at one point she could just break his neck, but instead of that for some reason she just went to another room to jump around screaming and to get shot in the chest. Why did she do that? Well whether she was a human or not she really was insane… Pris was like a symbol of a mindless lust and love, no man could resist her in every scene where she was mentioned and she was definitely a very complicated character, again, just like love and lust.


 In Ridley Scott's world there is obviously dominating effect of globalization, because it was full of different cultures: we heard a lot of Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, German and even Hungarian language use. All action was happening in Los Angeles and it is likely believable that in the near future when countries are becoming more and more open, immigration could spread so much that people would even create a new mixed language as it was shown in the movie. Best example representing the City of Angels is this mysterious character Gaff, mainly because of his looks and behaviour. He always makes Japanese origami cranes, he had a mix of Asian and Latino person’s complexion, but his eyes were completely blue. In the end he was supposed to “retire” (kill) the fifth “replicant” Rachael which was in love with the protagonist Rick Deckard, but he just leaves his sign (origami crane) next to Rachael’s flat which means that he went there before Deckard and but allowed her to live. “San Francisco Chronicle” writer Peter Hartlaub also understands this ending as a very good improvement of the final cut: “(For the final scene, Warner Bros. borrowed an aerial shot from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," which had come out two years earlier.) And while the so-called director's cut from 1992 left the question of Deckard's humanity a matter of debate, "The Final Cut" makes it much more clear, injecting a short dream sequence that suddenly makes Edward James Olmos' origami hobby much more significant.” (San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2007). This is the mysterious ending which ust like his las phrase: “It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again… Who does?” shows Gaff’s sympathy for Rachel and gives a clue that not only Rick has a possibility to be the sixth “replicant”.


The most misjudged character in this movie was Roy Batty. At the beginning he was represented as one of those ruthless antagonists, but only in the end we were familiarized with the other side of this character. Even the place “Los Angeles” was chosen not without a reason. Religious symbolism here was hard not to notice. Roy with his white hair in this dark world he was like a fallen angel who wanted something prohibited for him (in this case longer lifespan). When he found out that there was no way to get what he wanted, he just completely lost himself and understood that all the deaths of his friends and evil things that he done were completely pointless. He had a hard life which traumatized him and all what he wanted was just freedom and happiness and because of that in the end he made a stigmata for himself with a nail. In this way Batty wanted to show that he felt just like tormented Jesus and in order to redeem his sins, he decided to save Blade Runner Deckard. Poetic and touching death of this character was one of the strongest bits in this movie. There is nothing more beautiful then a released Dove into the rainy sky symbolising this person soul’s liberation from terrible suffering which was just as he said: “all those moments will be lost in time, just like tears in the rain”.


All in all, entire movie has a very deep story and stunning visuals. No wonder why we can so easily find various references coming from here to the latest movies. There is no question that many Ridley Scott's years didn't went for nothing by perfecting this movie to the scratch.


1) Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times, November 3, 2007:

2) Rita Kempley, Washington Post, September 11, 1992:

3) Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2007:


Figure1: Environment:

Figure2: Blade Runner Rick Deckard by Harison Ford:

Figure3: Pris and Roy Batty:

Figure4: Mysterious Gaff:

Figure5: Last Roy's scene:

Figure6: Environment2:

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