I hope to get through a few more requested and backlogged reviews today. This is a film we’ve had a few requests for. It’s a great film to discuss, too. I’ve tried to keep spoilers out of the review, but feel free to riddle the comments with them.
Cast, Crew, and Other Info
Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty
Sean Young as Rachael
Edward James Olmos as Gaff
M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant
Daryl Hannah as Pris
William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian
Brion James as Leon
Screenplay written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, inspired by (but not really based on) the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Directed by Ridley Scott
Complete information is available from the IMDB.
Several potentially dangerous robots are on the loose. As a Blade Runner, it is Deckard’s job to track them down and remove them from the population.
The ambiguity about Deckard. This is probably the most discussed aspect of the film. I won’t spoil it any more in the body of the review, but you can expect the comments to be littered with it, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you might not want to read past the total score of this review.
Leon’s introduction. It was unnecessarily redundant, and it just chewed up extra time before introducing the hero. The fact that they used a different take for the briefing is a bit jarring. They should have cut to Deckard more quickly, and shown more footage in the briefing. It would do the same job, and get us to the characters weren’t meant to care about more quickly, while eliminating redundancy.
Normally, adaptations suffer in the originality category. In this case, I’ll make an exception, just because they found a way to stay true to the spirit of the novel, while completely changing the details. Both the novel and the movie are excellent, but exposure to one won’t spoil anything about the other. Throw in the look and feel that is essentially a cyberpunk setting that predates Neuromancer, and you’ll see why even Gibson says he was just ripping off Philip K. Dick. I’m unaware of any film older than this with such complete immersion into this type of environment. I give it 6 out of 6.
The effects were extravagant, and the day’s computers just weren’t up to the task of making it CGI. The model shots are extensive, and they have the same problem that I’ve seen in all on-planet model shots; the skies aren’t close to convincing. The skies always look like a screen with lights shining on it, and never like an actual sky. There are no clouds, just gradations in color that look like what you get from multiple circular area lights and a single long bulb. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story was very well constructed, with enough planned ambiguity to keep the discussion going for decades after the release. Even if you miss that (as many do on the first viewing) there’s a pretty good cat-and-mouse story here anyway, with philosophical questions to back it all up. I give it 5 out of 6.
The acting gets the job done, but nobody is really impressive. It’s like Scott was so focused on everything else, he just let his actors go without guidance. They’re talented people, so they still produced good product, but nothing really out of the ordinary. I give it 4 out of 6.
The emotional response this produces gets stronger every time. It’s engaging the first time, but there are so many little details to watch for, that I find myself getting pulled more deeply into things each time I see it, rather than becoming more complacent as I usually do with movies. (This is another good way to make the “movie vs. film” distinction I mentioned here.) I give it 6 out
The production is probably the most meticulously and carefully designed aspect of the entire movie. Every aspect of every host gives the impression of having been selected for a very specific purpose. The set, model and costume designers created an entire world to play this film through. The excellent Vangelis score works perfectly, too. I give it 6 out of 6.
Overall, I’d say this film should be viewed by anyone who wants to think about what they’re watching. Because of that caveat, I can only give it an overall score of 5 out of 6. (I try to pick the overall score by the portion of the populace I’d suggest it to, and how vehemently I’d suggest it.)
In total, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut receives 37 out of 42.