Blade Runner

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Blade Runner

Blade Runner poster.jpg

IMDB Page (external link)
Writer: Philip K. Dick (novel)
Hampton Fancher
David Peoples
Starring: Harrison Ford
Rutger Hauer
Sean Young
Edward James Olmos
Daryl Hannah
Director: Ridley Scott
Music by: Vangelis
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Release Date: June 27, 1982 (USA) (USA)
Runtime: 117 min. (international cut)
115 min. (director's cut)
Language: [[English language|English]]
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Blade Runner is a 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, depicting a dystopic Los Angeles in November 2019.

The screenplay, which was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film itself features: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel and Joanna Cassidy; lead designer: Syd Mead, soundtrack composer Vangelis.

The film describes a future in which genetically manufactured beings called replicants are used for dangerous and degrading work in Earth's "off-world colonies." Built by the Tyrell Corporation to be 'more human than human', the Nexus-6 generation appear to be physically identical to humans — although they have superior strength and agility — while lacking comparable emotional responses and empathy. Replicants became illegal on Earth after a bloody mutiny. Specialist police units — blade runners — hunt down and "retire" (i.e., kill) escaped replicants on Earth. With a particularly brutal and cunning group of replicants on the loose in Los Angeles, a reluctant Deckard is recalled from semiretirement for some of "the old blade runner magic."

Blade Runner initially received polarized reviews from film critics, some who were confused and disappointed it didn't have the pacing expected from an action film, while others appreciated its thematic complexity. The film perfomed poorly in North American theaters while achieving success overseas. Despite poor early ticket sales, it was adored by fans and academia and quickly attained cult classic status. It gained such great popularity as a video rental, partly due to the film's ability to reward repeated viewing, that it was chosen to be one of the first DVDs to be released. Blade Runner has been widely hailed as a modern classic for its immersive special effects and prefiguring important themes and concerns of the 21st century. It has been praised as being one of the most influential films of all time because of its detailed and original setting, serving as a postmodern visual benchmark with its realistic depiction of a decayed future. Blade Runner brought author Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood, and numerous films have since been based on his literature.

Contents

Production

Image:BladeRunner Spinner Billboard.jpg Philip K. Dick died before its release, yet did see a forty-minute test reel. The screenplay, by Hampton Fancher, attracted producer Michael Deeley (who secured several financing sources, later problematic when one delayed the release of the film's Special Edition) who convinced director Ridley Scott to create his first American film; Scott was unhappy with the script and had David Peoples rewrite it.

The title derives from Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner (1974), whose protagonist smuggles black-market surgical instruments; William S. Burroughs' wrote Bladerunner, A Movie a cinema treatment; aside from the title, neither Nourse's novel nor Burroughs's treatment are relevant to the film. Screenwriter Fancher happened upon a copy of Bladerunner, A Movie whilst Scott searched for a commercial title for his film; Scott liked the title, obtained rights to it, but not to the novel; (Note: some editions of Burroughs' treatment-novel use the two-word spacing: Blade Runner.)

Blade Runner owes much to Fritz Lang's Metropolis.[1] Scott credits Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and the proto-cyberpunk short story comic "The Long Tomorrow" (by Dan O'Bannon, art by Moebius) as stylistic mood sources. Scott hired Syd Mead as conceptual artist, both were influenced by the French science fiction comic magazine Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), to which Moebius contributed.[2]; Moebius was offered pre-production of Blade Runner, he declined, to work on René Laloux's animated film Les Maîtres du temps — a decision Moebius later regretted.[3] Lawrence G. Paull (production designer) and David Snyder (art director) realised Scott's and Mead's sketches. Jim Burns briefly worked designing the Spinner hovercars; Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich supervised the special effects for the film.

Prior to principal photography, Paul M. Sammon was commissioned by Cinefantastique magazine to do a special article on the making of Blade Runner. His detailed observations and research later became the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, which is also called the Blade Runner Bible by the cult following of the film. The book outlines not only the evolution of Blade Runner but the politics and difficulties on-set; particularly on Scott's expectations (coming from Britain) of his first American crew. Also, his directing style with actors created friction with the cast and likely contributed to Ford's subsequent reluctance to discuss the film.

Synopsis

In Los Angeles, November 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement when an overconfident Blade Runner — Holden (Morgan Paull) — is shot during a Voight-Kampff test by Leon (Brion James), an escaped replicant.

Image:BladeRunner Sun.jpg A reluctant Deckard is brought to his old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), who informs him that the recent escape of Nexus-6 replicants is the worst yet. Bryant briefs Deckard on the replicants: Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is a commando, Leon a soldier and manual laborer, Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) a sex worker retrained as an assassin, and Pris (Daryl Hannah) a 'basic pleasure model'. Bryant also explains that the Nexus-6 model has a four-year lifespan as a failsafe against their developing unstable emotions. Deckard is teamed up with Gaff (Edward James Olmos) and sent to the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the Voight-Kampff test works on Nexus-6 models. While there Deckard discovers that Tyrell's (Joe Turkel) young secretary Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant with implanted memories which provide a cushion for her emotions.

Deckard and Gaff then search Leon's apartment as Roy and Leon force Chew (James Hong), an eye designer, to direct them to J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) who can lead them to Tyrell. Later, Rachael visits Deckard at his apartment to prove her humanity to him, but leaves in tears upon hearing that her memories are artificial. Pris meets up with Sebastian and takes advantage of his kind nature to gain access to his apartment.

Clues from Leon's apartment lead Deckard to Taffy Lewis' (Hy Pyke) bar where the tattooed Zhora is performing with a snake. Zhora makes a desperate attempt to get away from Deckard into the crowded streets, yet Deckard tracks her down and "retires" her. After the shooting, Gaff and Bryant show up and inform Deckard that Rachael will also need to be "retired". Deckard conveniently spots Rachael in the distance, though as he follows her he is suddenly disarmed by Leon who then proceeds to beat him. Rachael kills Leon, saving Deckard's life, and they go back to Deckard's apartment where they discuss her options, and in a quiet moment of musical intimacy they begin to fall in love.

Meanwhile, Roy arrives at Sebastian's apartment and with Pris' charms they convince Sebastian to help Roy meet Tyrell. Once in Tyrell's bedroom Roy demands an extension to his lifespan and requests absolution for his sins; upon receiving neither he kills Tyrell and Sebastian.

Image:BladeRunner Bradbury Interior.jpg Deckard is sent to Sebastian's apartment after the murders and is ambushed by Pris, though he manages to shoot her after a struggle. Roy returns moments later, trapping Deckard in the apartment and playfully hunting him throughout the dilapidated Bradbury Building, eventually forcing him to the roof. Deckard attempts a jump to another building and ends up desperately hanging from a beam. Roy easily makes the jump and stares down at Deckard — just as Deckard loses his grip Roy grabs his wrist and saves his life. Roy is deteriorating quickly (his 4-year lifespan is up) as he sits down in the rain and eloquently marvels at the highlights of his life and concludes, "All those moments... will be lost... in time... like... tears in rain. Time... to die." Roy quietly dies as Deckard looks on in silence. Gaff arrives in a spinner shortly afterward and, as he's leaving, cryptically shouts, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again, who does?"

Deckard returns to his apartment and cautiously enters when he sees the door is ajar. He finds Rachael alive and as they leave Deckard comes across an origami calling card left by Gaff; he has allowed them to escape, and they depart toward an uncertain future together.

Themes

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Despite the initial appearance of an action film, Blade Runner operates on an unusually rich number of dramatic levels. As with much of the cyberpunk genre, it owes a large debt to film noir, containing and exploring such conventions as the femme fatale, a Chandleresque first-person narration (removed in later versions), and the questionable moral outlook of the Hero — extended here to include even the humanity of the hero, as well as the usual dark and shadowy cinematography.

It is one of the most literate science fiction films, both thematically — enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of the increasing human mastery of genetic engineering, within the context of classical Greek drama and its notions of hubris[4] — and linguistically, drawing on the poetry of William Blake and the Bible. Blade Runner also features a chess game based on the famous Immortal Game of 1851. (The king and queen are interposed on Tyrell's side, a position which a grandmaster would never attempt.)

Image:BladeRunner Bradbury.jpg

The world of Blade Runner depicts a future whose fictional distance from present reality has grown sharply smaller as 2019 approaches. The film delves into the future implications of technology on the environment and society by reaching into the past using literature, religious symbolism, classical dramatic themes and film noir. This tension between past, present and future is apparent in the retrofitted future of Blade Runner, which is high-tech and gleaming in places but elsewhere decayed and old.

A high level of paranoia is present throughout the film with the visual manifestation of corporate power, omnipresent police, probing lights; and in the power over the individual represented particularly by genetic programming of the replicants. Control over the environment is seen on a large scale but also with how animals are created as mere commodities. This oppressive backdrop clarifies why many people are going to the off-world colonies, which clearly parallels the migration to the Americas. The popular 1980s prediction of America being economically surpassed by Japan is reflected in the domination of Japanese culture and advertising in LA 2019. The film also makes extensive use of eyes and manipulated images to call into question reality and our ability to perceive it.

Image:BladeRunner Deckard and Rachael.jpg This provides an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner's central theme of examining humanity. In order to discover replicants an empathy test is used with a number of questions focused on the treatment of animals; making it the essential indicator of someone's "humanity". The replicants are juxtaposed with human characters who are unempathetic, and while the replicants show passion and concern for one another the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt the nature of Deckard and forces the audience to reevaluate what it means to be human.[5]

Cast

Blade Runner had a significant number of then-unknown actors in its cast:

  • Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. Coming off some success with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but still a year before Raiders of the Lost Ark was released, Ford was looking for a role with dramatic depth. After Steven Spielberg praised Ford and showed some Raiders rushes to Deeley and Scott they got Ford onboard. Due to the initially poor reception of Blade Runner and friction with Scott, Ford has usually avoided discussing the film.
  • Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty. Hauer gave a brief performance as the violent yet complex leader of replicants with nothing to lose.
  • Sean Young as Rachael. The picture of female "perfection" at 22 years old, Young still counts Blade Runner among her favorite films, despite friction with Ford and Scott as a result of her inexperience and young age.
  • Edward James Olmos as Gaff. Olmos used his diverse ethnic background to help create the Cityspeak his character uses in the film. This helps, along with his cane, to create mystery around a character whose exact role isn't clarified while he observes and comments (through his origami) on Deckard.
  • Daryl Hannah as Pris. Hannah managed to bring out the dangerous innocence of a replicant in love with Roy Batty.
Image:BladeRunner Gaff.jpg Image:BladeRunner Roy Tyrell.jpg

Supporting roles:

  • Morgan Paull as Holden. Holden didn't have much of a chance when going up against a Nexus-6 for the first time, but he did manage to draw his gun while being shot and warn Deckard about the replicants in a deleted hospital scene.
  • Brion James as Leon. Although at first glance a dumb replicant used for muscle, Leon did have an undertone of intuitive intelligence that helped him nearly kill Holden, torture Chew and beat Deckard.
  • M. Emmet Walsh as Captain Bryant. Walsh lived up to his reputation as a great character actor with the role of a hard drinking police veteran.
  • Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell. With a confident penetrating voice and a panache for self-aggrandizement, this corporate mogul directed scientific progress to create a successful enterprise built on a gradual recreation of slavery with few sympathetic characteristics.
  • James Hong as Hannibal Chew. An elder geneticist who loves his work, especially with synthesizing eyes.
  • William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian, a quiet and lonely genius who provides a compassionate yet compliant portrait of humanity. This led to more varied work for Sanderson.
  • Unknown as Abdul Hassan. It remains a mystery as to who played the snake dealer Deckard interrogates.
  • Hy Pyke as Taffey Lewis. Despite only having one scene, Pyke conveys Lewis' sleasiness with ease and apparently with one take; something unheard of with Scott's drive for perfection resulting at times in double digit takes.
  • Joanna Cassidy as Zhora. In a limited time Cassidy conveys a strong woman who has seen the worst humanity has to offer, and her death has a profound impact on Deckard.

Reception

Rating‹s› UK:15 (video rating) (1986) / Australia:M / Canada:14A (director's cut) / Ireland:15 / UK:AA (original rating) / USA:R / Iceland:16
for violence

Blade Runner was released in 1,290 theaters on June 25 1982. That date was chosen by producer Alan Ladd, Jr. because his previous highest-grossing films (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Alien) had a similar opening date (May 25) in 1977 and 1979, making the date his "lucky day."[6] However, the gross for the opening weekend was a disappointing $6.15 million. A significant factor in the film's rather poor box office performance was that its release coincided with another science fiction film, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," which was released in the U.S. on June 11, 1982, and dominated box office revenues at the time.

Film critics were polarized as some felt the story had taken a back seat to special effects and that it was not the action/adventure the studio had advertised. Others acclaimed its complexity and predicted it would stand the test of time.[7]

A general criticism was its slow pacing takes away from other elements;[8] one film critic went so far as to call it "Blade Crawler."[9] Roger Ebert praised Blade Runner's visuals, but found the human story a little thin. Ebert thought Tyrell's unconvincing character and the apparent lack of security measures allowing Roy to murder Tyrell are problems. Also he believed the relationship between Deckard and Rachael seems "to exist more for the plot than for them."[10]

Other critics have countered that the strong visuals serve to create a dehumanized world where human elements stand out. Furthermore the relationship between Deckard and Rachael could be essential in reaffirming their respective humanity.[11] In a later episode of their show, Ebert and Gene Siskel admit they were wrong about their early negative reviews and that they consider the film to be a modern classic.

Awards and nominations

Blade Runner has both won, and been nominated for, many awards.

It has won the following accolades:

Year Award Category - Recipient(s)
1982 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Cinematography - Jordan Cronenweth
1983 BAFTA Film Award Best Cinematography - Jordan Cronenweth
Best Costume Design - Charles Knode, Michael Kaplan
Best Production Design/Art Direction - Lawrence G. Paull
1983 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation
1983 London Critics Circle Film Awards - Special Achievement Award Lawrence G. Paull, Douglas Trumbull, Syd Mead - For their visual concept (technical prize).

It was nominated for the following awards:

  • British Society of Cinematographers: Best Cinematography Award (1982) – Jordan Cronenweth
  • Fantasporto
    • International Fantasy Film Award (1983) - Best Film – Ridley Scott
    • International Fantasy Film Award (1993) - Best Film – Ridley Scott (Director's cut)
  • Golden Globe: Best Original Score (1983) - Motion Picture – Vangelis
  • Oscar (1983)
    • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration – Lawrence G. Paull, David L. Snyder, Linda DeScenna
    • Best Effects, Visual Effects – Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David Dryer
  • Saturn Award (1983)
    • Best Science Fiction Film
    • Best Director – Ridley Scott
    • Best Special Effects – Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich
    • Best Supporting Actor – Rutger Hauer
    • Best Genre Video Release (1994) – Director's cut

Influence

Initially avoided by North American audiences, Blade Runner was popular internationally and has become a cult classic. The film's popularity and cult status has made it popular to reference in other media. The television show Futurama has made multiple references to Blade Runner, and the shows Cutting It and Stargate SG-1 have used quotes from the film. Actor William Sanderson, who played Sebastian, voiced a similar character in the cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series. In the action film The 6th Day, a virtual psychologist says, "You seem to be avoiding talking about your parents. Imagine, two turtles are walking through the desert..."

It is also notable that Blade Runner's opening frames feature a tight close-up on a human eye; both Strange Days and Minority Report start with similar shots.

The film's dark cyberpunk style and futuristic design have served as a benchmark and inspired many subsequent science fiction films and television programs, including Batman, RoboCop, The Fifth Element, Ghost in the Shell, Dark Angel and The Matrix. It has also influenced animes, including Akira, Armitage III, Cowboy Bebop and Bubblegum Crisis. Before shooting began on Batman Begins, director Christopher Nolan reportedly screened Blade Runner to the film's crew and told them, "This is how we're going to make Batman." Even the Star Wars prequels have paid homage to Blade Runner in their special effects sequences.[12]

"Blade Runner is a unique film, incredible on every level. It is a prophetic and emotional tale that stands as one of the most original and intelligent science fiction films ever made."Alex Ioshpe

The film is often thought to have inspired William Gibson's Neuromancer.[13] Gibson has said in interviews that he was already writing Neuromancer when Blade Runner was released, and was actually inspired by the implied background of the film Alien. The film arguably marks the introduction of the cyberpunk genre into popular culture. Blade Runner continues to reflect modern trends and concerns, and an increasing number consider it one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.[14][15] The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently used in university courses. Its memorable quotations and soundtrack have made it the most musically sampled film of the 20th century.[16]

"Ridley Scott's film remains the defining vision of futuristic science fiction."Steve Biodrowski

Blade Runner also served to influence the cyberpunk role-playing game, Shadowrun, the seminal computer game System Shock and the Syndicate games.

Versions

Six versions of the film exist but only two are widely known and seen:

  • The original 1982 international cut, which included more graphic violence than the U.S. theatrical release, and which was released on VHS and on Criterion Collection Laserdisc.
  • The U.S. theatrical version, also called the domestic cut.
  • Two workprint versions, shown only as audience test previews and occasionally at film festivals; one of these was distributed in 1991, as a Director's Cut without Scott's approval.
  • The Ridley Scott-approved 1992 Director's Cut, prompted by the unauthorized 1991 release, is to date the only version released on DVD.
  • The broadcast version, edited for profanity.

Image:BladeRunner Unicorn1.jpg The 1982 American and European theatrical versions released by the studio included a "happy ending" (using stock footage from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining) and a voice-over added at the request of studio executives during post-production after test audience members indicated difficulty understanding the film. Although several different versions of the script had included a voice-over of some sort, both Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford disliked the studio V.O. and resisted having it added to the film. It's been rumored Ford intentionally did the voice-over poorly in the hope it wouldn't be used,[17] but recent interviews indicate otherwise.[18]

In 1990, Warner Brothers briefly allowed theatrical screenings of a 70mm copy of the workprint version of the film, advertising it as a Director's Cut. However, Ridley Scott publicly disowned the workprint version of the film as his definitive Director's Cut, citing that it was roughly edited and lacked the score composed for the film by Vangelis. In response to Scott's dis-satisfaction (and in part because of the film's resurgent cult popularity in the early 90s) Warner Brothers decided to assemble a definitive Director's Cut of the film with direction from Scott to be released in 1992.

Image:Brdvd.jpeg They hired film-resorationist Michael Arick, who had been the one that re-discovered the workprint of BR and who was already doing consultation work for them, to head up the project with Scott. He started by spending several months in London with Les Healey, who had been the assistant editor on BR, attempting to compile a list of the changes that Scott wanted made to the film. He also got a number of suggestions/directions directly from the director himself. Arick made several changes to the film, most of them fairly minor editing changes, including the re-insertion of Deckard finding one of Gaff's origami unicorn's in the hallway near his apartment at the film's closing. However, three major changes were made to the film which most would agree significantly changed the feel of the film: the removal of Deckard's explanatory voice-over, the re-insertion of a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest, and the removal of the studio imposed "happy-ending", including some associated visuals which had originally run under the film's end-credits.

Scott has since complained that time and money constraints and his obligation to Thelma and Louise kept him from retooling the film in a completely satisfactory manner, and that while he's happier than before with the 1992 release of the film, he's never felt entirely comfortable with it as his definitive Director's Cut.

Partly as the result of those complaints, Scott was invited back in mid-2000 to help put together a final and definitive version of the film, which was completed in mid 2001. During the process, a new digital print of the film was created from the original negatives, special effects were updated and cleaned, and the sound was remastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. Unlike the rushed 1992 Director's Cut, Scott personally oversaw the new cut as it was being made. The Special Edition DVD was slated for a Christmas time 2001 release, and is rumored to be a three-disc set including the full international theatrical cut, the 1992 director's cut and the newly enhanced version in addition to deleted scenes, extensive cast and crew interviews, and the documentary "On the Edge of Blade Runner".

However, Warner Brothers indefinitely delayed the "Special Edition" release after legal disputes began with the film's original bond guarantors (specifically Jerry Perenchio), who were ceded ownership of the film when the shooting ran over budget from $21.5 to $28 million. As of 2005, the legal issues remain unresolved. Rumor and speculation suggests that the studio is hoping to settle the dispute so that the set can be re-assembled for release on a next generation High Definition home video format (either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray). For the time being, Warner Bros. remains the film's distributor and is authorized to release the 1992 Director's Cut on video. Warner Bros. also acts as distributor for the original 1982 theatrical version, which remains in circulation on television (albeit edited for the medium).

Music

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Vangelis, fresh off of his Academy Award winning score from Chariots of Fire, composed and performed the music on his synthesizers. The musicscape of the 2019 was created in Vangelis' "space" mode of new age music, as heard on such albums of his as Heaven and Hell. He also made use of various chimes and the vocals of collaborator Demis Roussos. Ridley Scott also used "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' album See You Later (an orchestral version of which Scott would later use in his film Someone To Watch Over Me).

"Both emotional and unsettling, the Blade Runner score plays off conflict (discord versus harmony, light against dark) for a rich, textured tapestry of sound."musicoutfitter.com

Despite the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the end titles of the film, the release of the original soundtrack recording was delayed for over a decade. There are two official releases of the music from Blade Runner. In light of the lack of a release of an album, The New American Orchestra recorded an orchestral adaptation in 1982 which bore little resemblance to the original. Some of the film tracks would in 1989 surface on the compilation Themes, but it wasn't until the 1992 release of the Director's Cut version would a substantial amount of the film's score see the light of day. However, while most of the tracks on the album are from the film, there were a few that Vangelis composed but were ultimately not used and some new pieces. Many do not consider this to be a satisfying representation of the score.

These delays and poor reproductions led to the production of many bootleg recordings over the years. A bootleg tape surfaced in 1982 at science fiction conventions and became popular given the delay of an official release of the original recordings, and in 1993 "Off World Music, Ltd." created a bootleg CD that would prove more comprehensive than Vangelis' official CD in 1994. A disc from "Gongo Records" features most of the same material, but with slightly better sound quality. In 2003, two other bootlegs surfaced, the "Esper Edition," closely preceded by "Los Angeles - November 2019." The double disc "Esper Edition" combined tracks from the official release, the Gongo boot and the film itself. Finally "2019" provided a single disc compilation almost wholly consisting of ambient sound from the film, padded out with some sounds from the Westwood game "Blade Runner." The Gongo release is considered the best presentation of the music, while Los Angeles - November 2019 and the Esper Edition are excellent mementos of the film.

"Dreamy, evocative, beautiful and essential."moviegrooves.com

Documentaries

Image:BladeRunner Fancher and Peoples.jpg On the Edge of Blade Runner (55 minutes), produced in 2000 by Nobles Gate Ltd. (for Channel 4), was directed by Andrew Abbott and hosted/written by Mark Kermode, and will be included in the Special Edition. Interviews with production staff, including Ridley give details into the creative process and turmoil during preproduction. Stories from Paul M. Sammon and Fancher provide insight into Philip K. Dick and the origins of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Interweaved are cast interviews with the notable exceptions of Harrison Ford and Sean Young. Through these interviews we get a sense of how difficult and frustrating the film was to make as a result of an exacting director without allies and hot, wet, smoggy conditions; which added to the high pressure atmosphere everyone increasingly felt as the film went over budget. There is also a tour of some locations, most notably the Bradbury Building and the Warner Brothers backlot that was the LA 2019 streets, which look very different from Ridley's dark version.

The documentary then details the test screenings postproduction editing/changes (voice over and happy ending, deleted Holden hospital scene), special effects, soundtrack by Vangelis, and the unhappy relationship between the filmmakers and the investors; which culminated in Deeley and Ridley being fired but still working on the film. The question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant surfaces. After being a "disaster" in the box office (a financial loss initially) Blade Runner was reborn in the video rental market, and a great reception of a chance screening of Ridley's workprint at the Fairfax Theater, Los Angeles, in May 1990 led to Warner Bros. having the "Director's Cut" done by film archivist Michael Arick.

Future Shocks (27 minutes), a more recent documentary from 2003 by TVOntario (as part of their Film 101 series), has interviews with executive producer Bud Yorkin, Syd Mead, and the cast along with Sean Young, but again without Harrison Ford. There is extensive commentary by science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer and film critics as the documentary focuses on the themes, visual impact and influence of the film. Olmos goes into Ford's participation and personal experiences during filming are related by Young, Walsh, Cassidy and Sanderson. They also relate a story where crew members created t-shirts which took pot shots at Ridley. The versions of the film are critiqued and how closely Blade Runner predicted the future is discussed.

Novel

See also: Differences Between the Novel and Film

The original screenplay by Hampton Fancher was based loosely on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which he optioned in 1980 after an unsuccesful previous attempt. However, Fancher's script focused more on environmental issues and less on issues of humanity and faith, which weighed heavily in the novel. When Ridley Scott became involved with the film, he wanted changes to the script made, and eventually hired David Peoples to perform the re-writes after Fancher refused. The film's title also changed several times during the writing process, it was to be called Dangerous Days in Fancher's last draft before eventually taking the name Blade Runner, actually borrowed (with permission) from a William S. Burroughs science fiction novel titled Blade Runner: A Movie.

As a result of Fancher's divergence from the novel, numerous re-writes before and throughout shooting the film and Ridley Scott never having entirely read the novel it was based on, the film diverged significantly from its original inspiration. The changes have led many critics and fans to consider them as independent works of fiction; despite the fact Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was reprinted for a time with the title Blade Runner to help promote sales. Some of the themes in the novel that were minimized or entirely removed include fertility/sterility of the population, religion, mass media, Deckard's uncertainty that he is human, real versus synthetic pets, and emotions.

Sequels

Three official and authorized Blade Runner novels have been written by Philip K. Dick's friend K. W. Jeter that continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to resolve many of the differences between Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The novel Blade Runner 2 contains numerous inconsistencies with the film, however, including the resurrection of a dead character and a complete reworking of the nature of another. The final result is more of an alternate universe than a direct sequel.

David Peoples, who co-wrote Blade Runner and wrote the 1998 film Soldier, has said that Soldier is intended to be a "sidequel" to Blade Runner. Soldier takes place in the same universe, and the spinners used in Blade Runner are also used in Soldier. However, Soldier is an unofficial sidequel, as it was never formally approved by the Blade Runner partnership, who own the rights to the elements of Blade Runner that appear in Soldier, and to that overall universe.

Though not an official sequel to Blade Runner, many fans have noted the similarity of the 1999 TV series Total Recall 2070 to the Blade Runner universe. Many consider the series a sequel to, or at least set in, the same universe as Blade Runner. Some truth actually lies in this assumption. Total Recall 2070 was based on two works by Phillip K. Dick: the short story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (on which the film Total Recall is based), and the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which Blade Runner is based.

Games and comics

Image:BladeRunner PC Game (Front Cover).jpg There are two computer games based on the film, one for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum by CRL Group PLC (1985) based on the music by Vangelis (due to licensing issues), and another action adventure PC game by Westwood Studios (1997). The latter game featured new characters and branching storylines based on the Blade Runner world, coupled with voice work from some of the original cast from the film. A prototype board game was also created in California (1982) that had game play similar to Scotland Yard.

The cult computer game Snatcher was heavily influenced by Blade Runner, so much so that websites exist detailing the numerous similarities between the two.[19]

Archie Goodwin scripted the comic book interpretation, A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner, published September, 1982. The Jim Steranko cover leads into a 45-page adaptation illustrated by the team of Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Dan Green and Ralph Reese. (This adaptation includes one possible explanation of the title's significance in story context: the narrative line, "Blade runner. You're always movin' on the edge.") Also there was a parody comic of Blade Runner called "Blade Bummer" by Crazy comics.[20]

Curse

Among the folklore that has grown up around the film over the years has been the belief that the film was a curse[21] to the companies whose logos were displayed prominently in some scenes. While they were market leaders at the time, many of them experienced disastrous setbacks over the next decade and hardly exist today:

Coca-Cola could almost have joined this list in the wake of its failed introduction of New Coke three years later, but has since experienced a thirty fold increase in share price.

See also

Image:BladeRunner Voigt-Kampff machine.jpg

References

  1. ^  Bukatman, Scott. (1997) Blade Runner: BFI Modern Classics. ISBN 0851706231
  2. ^  Sammon, Paul. (1996) Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner. ISBN 0061053147
  3. ^  Giraud, Jean. (1988) The Long Tomorrow & Other SF Stories. ISBN 0871352818
  4. ^  Jenkins, Mary. (1997) The Dystopian World of Blade Runner: An Ecofeminist Perspective
  5. ^  Kerman, Judith. (1991) Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?" ISBN 0879725109
  6. ^  Sammon, Paul. (1996)
  7. ^  Sammon, Paul. (1996)
  8. ^  Hicks, Chris. (1992) DeseretNews.com – Review of Blade Runner
  9. ^  Flynn, John. (2003) Towson.edu – Blade Runner Retrospective
  10. ^  Ebert, Roger. (1992) RogerEbert.com – Review of Blade Runner
  11. ^  Rutledge, Sean M. (2000) CandidCritic.com – Review of Blade Runner
  12. ^  Brinkley, Aaron. Gunn, R. (2002) The Blade Runner / Star Wars References
  13. ^  Mariman, Lukas. (2000) BR FAQ: Influence
  14. ^  Jha, Alok. Rogers, S. Rutherford, A. (2004) Guardian.co.uk – Our expert panel votes for the top 10 sci-fi films
  15. ^  Netrunner. (2005) BRmovie.com – Top 100s and Reviews
  16. ^  Cigéhn, Peter. (2004) Sloth.org – The Top 1118 Sample Sources
  17. ^  Sammon, Paul. (1996) Page 298
  18. ^  IMDB. (2005) Trivia for Blade Runner
  19. ^  KoKee. (2001) Blade Runner & Snatcher
  20. ^  Kupperberg, Paul & Camp, Bob. (1982) BladeZone.com – Crazy: Blade Runner Parody
  21. ^  Curse at the Blade Runner FAQ.

External links


The Blade Runner series
Films Blade Runner | Soldier
Characters Rick Deckard | Eldon Tyrell | Gaff | Rachael | Roy Batty | Leon Kowalski | Pris | Zhora | J.F. Sebatian
Locations Tyrell Corporation | Bradbury Building | Tannhauser Gate
Cast Harrison Ford | Rutger Hauer | Sean Young | Edward James Olmos | Daryl Hannah
Crew Ridley Scott | Hampton Fancher | Michael Deeley | David Peoples
Novels Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | The Edge of Human | Replicant Night | Eye and Talon
Games and comics The Blade Runner Videogame | A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner | Blade Bummer
Making ofs Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner | On the Edge of Blade Runner | Future Shocks
Other topics Philip K. Dick | Themes | Soundtrack | Vangelis | Voight-Kampff machine | Spinner | Replicants
Related articles Postmodernism | Cyberpunk

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