Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Favorite Films: Blade Runner

As promised, while I'm on vacation, I'm leaving behind my list of favorite films. Each day, a friend will publish one of the posts I've left for you.

There are three sci-fi movies on my list of favorite films. The first is Blade Runner, a 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott.

The film was not a commercial success in the US at the time of its release although, in the twenty-five years since, it has attained cult status. In the most recent AFI listing of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time, it was #97.

I own three different versions of Blade Runner; I understand there are seven altogether.

The film is often referred to as a prime example of "cyberpunk," meaning "high tech and low life." I've always preferred the label "neo-noir" instead.

The setting is Los Angeles in the year 2019. The city is a crowded polyglot metropolis with heavy Asian influences. There are almost no live animals any more, only synthetic copies. The atmosphere is one of hopelessness and paranoia.

Genetically engineered artificial humans have been created to work in the dangerous, unpleasant jobs on off-world colonies. These artificial humans, called replicants, have programmed lifespans because, after a time, emotions overwhelm them, and they go mad. Unfortunately, there were uprisings among the replicants off world, which led to them being declared illegal on earth.

When the film opens, four replicants (Model Nexus-6 with four-year lifespans) have gone rogue and are reportedly hiding in Los Angeles. The police have specially trained units of officers called blade runners who locate and "retire" the replicants. The replicants are played by Rutger Hauer (grrr), Daryl Hannah, Brion James and Joanna Cassidy.

When one of the replicants kills a blade runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is brought out of retirement to track the four down. Deckard goes to the Tyrell Corporation, which designed the replicants, to learn more about them. He meets Rachel (Sean Young), the newest model of replicant. She was designed to believe she is human and given "memories" of her childhood to help stabilize her emotions. She refuses to believe she is not human. The bitter and disillusioned Deckard falls in love with her. His feelings for her put him in a precarious position with his sometimes partner and rival Gaff (Edward James Olmos).

One of the film's themes is "what constitutes humanity?" Frequently, the replicants seem more humane than the real humans.

The excerpt I've chosen for you is where Deckard tracks down the first of the rogue replicants, a female named Zhora (Joanna Cassidy).

Something I noticed while putting these posts together was that many of the films I picked had a fabuous soundtrack. In the case of Blade Runner, the sound track was by Vangelis.


I'll be back on July 16th.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Ack! You gave away the spoiler. Of course, most people have seen Blade Runner by now, so no biggie. Anyhoo, did you know the movie was based on the book "Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick?

Maya Reynolds said...

I deliberately did not give away the spoiler. The spoiler was in the last line of the film.

Yes, I knew the film was based on a Dick story. The sad thing was that he never lived to see the release of the film although he saw it pre-release and was pleased with the result.

Maya (who is typing on her laptop to lull the cats (freaked out by her suitcase) into a false sense of security so she can stuff them into their traveling cases. They are going away to camp to learn to make ashtrays out of popsicle sticks while she is gone.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I thought the spoiler was when they reveal Rachel is a replicant. I didn't see it coming, but maybe I missed something. It's been a while since I watched the movie, and I haven't gotten a chance to read the book yet.

Sherry Davis said...

I thought the spoiler COVER YOUR EYES, B.E. SANDERSON! was when Rick discovers he's an android,too?

I have the Director's Cut.

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, Thanks. I didn't cover my eyes, and that explains a lot of things. Wow.

musikfr3ak_thirt33n_ said...

I think it depends on you're point of view of whether Deckard is a replicant or not. I personally don't think so.