It’s the year 2019, and Rick Deckard has been forced to take on one more assignment before he retires. The assignment: to hunt down and “retire” some renegade replicants who are hiding out on planet Earth.
Yes, folks, I’m talking about Blade Runner, or for those who have read the book it’s based on – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? I try not to compile films or books into lists, but if I had to, Blade Runner would definitely be a Top 10. That’s quite a feat, considering the first couple of times I tried to watch the film, I could not get through it. But you have to watch it in the right context. It has to be night, you have to be committed and you need no distractions. If you do all these things, you will be in for a treat.
I re-watched it last night, and once again, was amazed by the sexiness of a retro-futuristic Los Angeles. I love futuristic films that take more from film noir than Star Trek. 1940s outfits and Art Deco buildings amongst flying cars and Voight-Kampff machines create an enticingly beautiful, yet cold, landscape. Brazil is another film which uses the same mix of retro and future, and more recently Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Rutger Hauer as the replicant, Roy Batty, is one of the most compelling characters in a science fiction film. Not only is he compelling to look at, but he also delivers the best lines in the film. That’s not to diminish Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard at all. He spent most of the 1980s as Indiana Jones and Han Solo, so this role was a good break from all that over the top blockbuster bombast. Sean Young as the “human” replicant, Rachael, and William Sanderson as designer J.F. Sebastian are also stand-out roles. And finally, let’s not forget the fantastic score by Vangelis.
The most incredible thing about Blade Runner, though, is that this dystopian future takes place in 2019. That’s only seven years from now. Blade Runner came out in 1982, but the book came out in 1967. However, I still find it hard to believe that people thought the world would be so different in less than a century. But aren’t those bleak pictures of the future usually the result of some cataclysmic event which happens out of the blue? So, who knows? We might not be out of the woods just yet.