Thursday, March 31, 2011

AFI Top 100 Countdown #97: Blade Runner


Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by David Peoples and Hampton Fancher
Starring:  Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos

AFI Top 100 Criteria:

Critical Recognition: Formal commendation in print, television, and digital media.

* score of 92%

*"Filmmakers willing to butcher Philip K. Dick stories have become as commonplace in Hollywood as collagen injections, but the maverick Scott was the first high-profile scavenger of the author's work." -Peter Harlbaut

*"This is a seminal film, building on older classics like Metropolis or Things to Come, but establishing a pervasive view of the future that has influenced science fiction films ever since."-Roger Ebert

Major Award Winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from peer groups, critics, guilds, and major film festivals.

*2 Oscar Nominations- 1983 Nomimated for the Best Art Direction-Sets Decoration, Best Effects-Visuals.

*1983 Saturn Award Nominations- Best Director, Best Science Fiction Film, Best Visual Effects, Best Supporting Actor

*1983 BAFTA Awards and Nominations- Won- Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design/Art Direction.  Nominated- Best Film Editing, Best Make Up Artist, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects

Popularity Over Time
: Includes success at the box office, television and cable airings, and DVD/VHS sales and rentals.

*Budget- $28,000,000

*$89,150 (USA) (Opening weekend 2007 for re-release)
  $6,150,002- (Opening weekend 1982)

Historical Significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation or other groundbreaking achievements

*At the time of its release, it was a critically lauded movie.  As the years went on, the visual style as well as the grim and dark story became almost like a Bible for many more science fiction stories.  Everything from the STAR WARS prequels to Battlestar Galactica have been influenced in some way, shape or form by this movie.

Cultural Impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

*“I have referred to replicants without ever establishing what a replicant is. It is a tribute to the influence and reach of "Blade Runner" that 25 years after its release virtually everyone reading this knows about replicants. Reviews of "The Wizard of Oz" never define Munchkins, do they? This is a seminal film, building on older classics like "Metropolis" or "Things to Come," but establishing a pervasive view of the future that has influenced science fiction films ever since.”-Roger Ebert

Javi: You always hear about them. The movies that influence a genre so much that they almost feel cliché or seem too-hyped up once you see them. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is neither. What you have here is a movie that was so ground breaking and original stylistically, that if you try to count and notice the number of sci-fi movies and shows it has influenced, your head might pop.

In what has to be some of Harrison Ford’s better performance, he plays the conflicted Deckard so well that I almost forgot how cheesy he could be as Indy or Han. The story, which is based loosely on Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electrical Sheep”, has a lot of interesting concepts, such as what makes humans “human“, if memories can be faked, and what is reality? The Replicants have advanced to a level of humanity unparalleled before, with the three antagonists, Roy, Pris and Leon, wanting to come back because they just want to live longer. Coupled this with the new technology that Tyrell invents where memories can be inserted into Replicants making them believe that they are humans, makes you question reality in general. The story itself is a not-so mysterious film noir storyline with the detective getting called back to do a job, due to his impressive skills, to solve the mystery of the three Replicants coming back to Earth for something.

The thing that impressed me the most was the visuals. The world design definitely takes from Star Wars with the “used universe” look, and coming full circle you see how this movie influenced the prequels; half of the movie looks like it was set in Coruscate from the Clone Wars and Revenge of The Sith. I especially loved the use of colors coupled with the constant haze of smoke; it really provided a very old feeling while having all of this advanced technology around.

My big complaint might be the fact that the movie moves at a pace where some parts of the plot might be a bit muddled. I know this time watching it I was able to clarify a few things that I had not understood the first time around. Overall this is my favorite movie of the countdown so far. I highly recommend for any fans of sci-fi and even the film noir genre.

Jonesy:  Okay, let me say that this was the first time ever that I’ve seen Blade Runner. Also, I have heard SO much about this movie and how influential, groundbreaking, visually stunning, futuristic, etc. it was, I went into it expecting to be blown away. And I wasn’t. I know, I know shame on me. Now, I will say that I enjoyed the movie, and I can see where all the praises came from, but it just didn’t strike me the way I thought it would.

Yes, visually the movie was ahead of its time and was impressive. I can see where modern science fiction movies got their roots from, and I had fun with Javi pointing out buildings/visuals that were reminiscent of other movies we had seen. I did love how drab, dreary and wet the atmosphere of the movie was. It had this old-timey feel juxtaposed with the futuristic world. Now in terms of plot, I liked the overall story of the Replicants coming back to Earth for a longer life, and Harrison Ford trying to stop them, but I realized watching this movie that I don’t particularly care for the film noir approach to movies in general. I’ve seen a couple now, and even though I always like the movies, I just don’t care for that "noir" aspect. I wanted to know more about the Replicants other world that they came from. I wanted to understand their psyche more.

I’ll probably visit this movie again at some point. Parts of the plot were a bit muddled and kind of difficult to follow, and it almost felt that, if they had planned it with all the main characters, this could have been a hell of a trilogy.

Again, I did enjoy the movie. I just felt very under whelmed when it was over. Maybe this is how future generations will feel when they visit the Matrix for the first time after hearing how groundbreaking and unique it was. And I promise I understand how influential it was (I get it), and I do respect what it did for the science fiction genre because it inspired many of the sci-fi movies I love today.


  1. While I agree that it's a bit slow moving & kind of weird just for weird sake...oh forget that. Ridley Scott can do no wrong. Except Thelma & Louise. Or Robin Hood. Or the Christopher Columbus movie. But that's it.

  2. I feel he can be forgiven for all of those movies just because of BLADE RUNNER.