Rewind: A New Marvel Movie Came Out, but I’m Rewatching Blade Runner
Thor: Ragnarok came out on November 3, making it the 17th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You read that correctly. Marvel has made 17 movies in almost 10 years. It is understandable that after such a long time, one would suffer from the fatigue of a cookie-cutter formula full of endless quips and flashing colors with a different superhero in the background. To combat this weariness, I turned the clock back to classic movies, the ones I prefer over the explosion-filled tent pole Blockbusters of 2017.
Don’t get me wrong for a moment; I’m not some guy sitting on his rocking chair facing the street yelling at kids with their newfangled iPhones and rock n’ roll music, just a movie buff craving the quality of the movies of the old. Being a sci-fi fan I turned back to the granddaddy of sci-fi, Blade Runner, a movie that turns most new viewers away because of its “three different versions” that must be watched (see last month’s Commentator’s Twin Peaks article) and the 2 hour 44 minute runtime of the sequel (Good Lord! That’s practically three hours with no social media. How will any millennial survive?) But think about it for one moment, without Blade Runner’s steam punk dystopian future, there would be no Matrix. (Oh no! How will any Philosophy major attempt to prove our lives exist only in a mainframe of some computer?) There would be no Terminator (that one may be a blessing in disguise seeing how the most recent two in the franchise fared at the box office.) The point is that Blade Runner has inspired many science fiction movies and TV shows that have been on the screen in the last 35 years.
Some of you may be thinking, “Seriously, this little true-freshman is reviewing a movie that came out 19 years before he was born?” Well, I have an answer to that. Firstly, you wouldn’t be lying about the little part; I am 5 feet and 3 inches. But you would be wrong on another account. The responses that I have gotten about a movie from 1982 is that the special effects are dated or that there aren’t any explosions. While both of these criticisms are valid, the movie is a simple detective movie, and it does move pretty slowly. As a matter of fact it was dubbed Blade Crawler upon first release, which just added fuel to the fire for the haters who wonder why they should watch a 1 hour 45 minute movie that doesn’t move as quickly as their Facebook feed updates or that they will need to pop a few Adderall to focus on. To be honest ladies and gentlemen, this may not seem like the kind of movie anyone would want to watch, but trust me it is like a family event, it’s more fun than it is on paper (quite literally).
Now for the million dollar question: What the heck is the movie about? Without further delays, I present to you a spoiler-free review of Blade Runner: The movie takes place in dystopian Los Angeles in the year 2019 where robots, referred to as “replicants” (maybe because the term robot was overused, but I wouldn’t read too much into it) are illegal, but try to survive by integrating into human society. The replicants are identical matches to humans, though they lack emotions (kind of like that person that sits next to you in class). The LAPD has an elite force called Blade Runners, special police trained to hunt down these replicants. The movie centers on a Blade Runner named Deckard, played by a grumpy Harrison Ford, who is called out of retirement to find four replicants and kill them. What ensues is a pretty basic cop hunting criminals plot that has been used before and copied more times than I can count (I’m a Political Science major, I obviously can’t do math.)
While it is as thin as dental floss on plot, the philosophy behind the movie makes up for it. This is the kind of movie that opens up debate about the nature of a character as well as what it means to be human. In terms of the infamous “three versions” that exist, skip over the theatrical release and director’s cut and head straight for the 2007 final cut, which was the definitive edition that the director wanted to release in the first place, but of course the studio heads did not want it. The final cut adds a few previously deleted scenes, has a better ending than the theatrical cut, and leave Blade Runner a much more ambiguous yet compelling film. The special effects and coloring of the movie are also digitally restored to be clearer, and it definitely helps the movie age better.
Despite its flaws, Blade Runner continues to inspire the sci-fi genre, and overall I would give it a 3 and ½ out of 4. So all that’s left is to watch it, and, as always, don’t forget to rewind.