1 Year, 100 Movies: #97 Blade Runner (1982)

by Trey Hock on June 24, 2010

in 1 Year, 100 Movies,Columns

For 1 Year, 100 Movies, contributor/filmmaker Trey Hock will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year. His reactions to each film will be recorded here twice a week until the year (and list) is up!

poster

To anyone out there who considers themselves a casual fan of “Blade Runner,” this next paragraph is not for you. You may leave the room:

I am now addressing the obsessed. I am not going to debate which version is the correct version. My personal preference is for any version that does not have Deckard’s voiceover at the end. That said, any version of “Blade Runner” is still going to be better than most other movies you could watch.

Now that that’s addressed, everyone else can come back.

The future has never looked so dirty, grimy or familiar as it does in this movie. Before “Blade Runner,” the future was all shiny appliances and houses that cook for you. Even “Star Wars” gives us the stark black-and-white efficiency of the Empire. The Rebellion may have blaster-charred ships, but their medical vessel looks nice and clean. Director Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” serves up only squalor and filth. It lets us see a world created and destroyed by humans.

cityscape

But though this 2019 version of Los Angeles is filled with rotting buildings and dirty noodle shops, it is simply the backdrop for a story that explores what it means to be human. We follow Deckard, a world-weary blade runner, who is tasked with finding and “retiring” four replicants (synthetic people). Harrison Ford’s normal stiffness works really well in his portrayal of Deckard. Ford’s performance makes Deckard hardened and withdrawn. This is a man who has seen too much and is changing his view of replicants as machines.

Though “Alien” is undeniably an incredible film, “Blade Runner” is straight up art. Every single shot in this film is constructed and controlled. Scott makes sure that there is never a stray frame. And with so many terrible science-fiction films and television shows out there, it is awesome to revisit a really great science-fiction film. What makes it great?

Well, there’s no rerouting the power, converting the crystals to gas, or flipping the one switch that solves all the problems. Nope. This sci-fi tale has very little to do with the stuff and everything to do with the characters. The only way we can get out of this mess is for Deckard to chase people through the street and shoot them, or get his ass kicked. Often he gets his ass kicked.

I have seen “Blade Runner” so many times at this point it is difficult to know what else to talk about. It is one of the movies on the list I own on DVD. The final scene between Deckard and renegade replicant leader Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is a truly iconic film moment, and one of my personal favorites. As Roy crouches and dies in the rain, one can’t help but question what is lost with his passing. Though he has wreaked havoc on those around him, his final moments are touching and beautiful.

If you haven’t seen it, you really should sit down and watch this incredible film.

Up next #96 “Do the Right Thing” (1989)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #99 Toy Story (1995)

1 Year, 100 Movies: #100 Ben-Hur (1959)

1 Year, 100 Movies: An Introduction

In addition to contributing to Scene-Stealers, Trey makes short films and teaches at the Kansas City Art Institute. Follow him here:

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xavier June 24, 2010 at 5:21 am

one of my favorites of all time and easily the best sci-fi film ever made in my opinion

Reply

2 Xavier June 24, 2010 at 5:21 am

one of my favorites of all time and easily the best sci-fi film ever made in my opinion

Reply

3 Xavier June 24, 2010 at 5:21 am

one of my favorites of all time and easily the best sci-fi film ever made in my opinion

Reply

4 Jake June 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

i’m gonna get so much shit for this…i’ve never seen Blade Runner! just never got around to it. but hey, it’s going right at the top of my Blockbuster queue right after i post this comment. i apologize.

Reply

5 Jake June 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

i’m gonna get so much shit for this…i’ve never seen Blade Runner! just never got around to it. but hey, it’s going right at the top of my Blockbuster queue right after i post this comment. i apologize.

Reply

6 Jake June 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

i’m gonna get so much shit for this…i’ve never seen Blade Runner! just never got around to it. but hey, it’s going right at the top of my Blockbuster queue right after i post this comment. i apologize.

Reply

7 Trey June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

Jake, no worries. This is exactly why I’m going through this list, to give others (and myself) a reason to rewatch or catch up on some overdue viewing.

Xavier, it is without a doubt one of the best, and holds up so well to multiple viewings.

Reply

8 Trey June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

Jake, no worries. This is exactly why I’m going through this list, to give others (and myself) a reason to rewatch or catch up on some overdue viewing.

Xavier, it is without a doubt one of the best, and holds up so well to multiple viewings.

Reply

9 Trey June 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

Jake, no worries. This is exactly why I’m going through this list, to give others (and myself) a reason to rewatch or catch up on some overdue viewing.

Xavier, it is without a doubt one of the best, and holds up so well to multiple viewings.

Reply

10 Eric Melin June 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

My perfect version of this film is a memory mindmeld of all versions. It doesn’t actually exist. I think much of the voiceover was ham-fisted and was there to only further explain the plot. Some of it (and Ford’s dead deadpan delivery–since he didn’t want to do it in the first place), however, gave it a noir quality that I really like. That said, the ending to the theatrical/cable version is completely antithetical to the entire movie. Some of the new VFX aren’t obtrusive and others are, so I’m torn there as well…

One of these days, I’ll edit my perfect version together and watch it over and over again!

Reply

11 Eric Melin June 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

My perfect version of this film is a memory mindmeld of all versions. It doesn’t actually exist. I think much of the voiceover was ham-fisted and was there to only further explain the plot. Some of it (and Ford’s dead deadpan delivery–since he didn’t want to do it in the first place), however, gave it a noir quality that I really like. That said, the ending to the theatrical/cable version is completely antithetical to the entire movie. Some of the new VFX aren’t obtrusive and others are, so I’m torn there as well…

One of these days, I’ll edit my perfect version together and watch it over and over again!

Reply

12 Eric Melin June 24, 2010 at 12:50 pm

My perfect version of this film is a memory mindmeld of all versions. It doesn’t actually exist. I think much of the voiceover was ham-fisted and was there to only further explain the plot. Some of it (and Ford’s dead deadpan delivery–since he didn’t want to do it in the first place), however, gave it a noir quality that I really like. That said, the ending to the theatrical/cable version is completely antithetical to the entire movie. Some of the new VFX aren’t obtrusive and others are, so I’m torn there as well…

One of these days, I’ll edit my perfect version together and watch it over and over again!

Reply

13 Jim June 24, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Funny, I just popped in the other day in a long while. Love it. Gets better with each viewing. Very innovative, entertaining, and really moving.

Reply

14 Jim June 24, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Funny, I just popped in the other day in a long while. Love it. Gets better with each viewing. Very innovative, entertaining, and really moving.

Reply

15 Jim June 24, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Funny, I just popped in the other day in a long while. Love it. Gets better with each viewing. Very innovative, entertaining, and really moving.

Reply

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