I have issues watching with older films. I hate the old grainy look these films tend to have. The audio is muffled and scratchy. Betamax just isn't as good as a digital disc, sorry to say. We sometimes get remastered, edited, and cleaned-up versions of films being released. This can be a treat or a horrible mistake. The former happens when the movie itself was outstanding and should be preserved in an updated format for future generations to enjoy. The latter is when the movie is simply terrible and doesn't deserve the disc it's transferred to. Maybe going wholly against the grain on this one, I feel that Blade Runner falls into the latter category. I'm pretty pleased with myself for suffering through the entire nearly intolerable two hours that this film was on-screen for because I've tried multiple times in the past to watch it and just never could. I believe we're talking upwards of double digits when it comes to my failed attempts.
There is certainly some strong fanfare when it comes to this movie. The internet is rife with discussion over the cinematography, the soundtrack, the acting, the plot, and it generally seems positive. People voicing concern or dismay over the film are repeatedly told that their reasons for frustration are why the film is good. It's a bit absurd, but people are willing to go to some incredible lengths to defend Blade Runner.
What's the deal with this film? Basically, there's a guy. He hunts robots. The robots have been outlawed since some learned emotions and there was uprising of very small proportions. Apparently there was one rebellion on a work colony and a few people died so the entirety of the robots (herein Replicants) were made illegal by punishment of death I think. Imagine if all electronics devices were treated the same way. We wouldn't even get to the rebellion stage because we'd be back in the stone age. Ridiculous. Anyways, there were six replicants that made their way to Los Angeles (which is apparently New Hong Kong by the looks of things) and the guy who used to be a Blade Runner (guy that hunts replicants) is brought out of retirement to get them. Of course he's the best. Two of the replicants die in the escape to Los Angeles, so there are four left wandering the streets. That's basically the gist of the movie. The guy is played by Harrison Ford and this is considered one of the three biggest characters ever to be played by him (Indiana Jones and Han Solo being the other two, obviously). Two of the replicants are portrayed by Darryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer. The other two, I don't know.
I'm basically watering this film down to its bare essence. I'll leave it up to the actors on-screen to really get across the struggles and strifes that come along with such a complex and interesting plot. Except that never happens. Instead we are left with some two hours of the most wooden, stale, and depressing line deliveries I've ever seen. I am the first to see the gold in a bad movie. I can enjoy some pretty terrible cinematic adventures with zero guilt. Blade Runner, however, saw me make mention out loud several times how much I wanted the movie to end and how much I disliked it.
I feel like I should talk about what I feel are the two main things to take away from this movie. Regardless of whether or not I liked it, Blade Runner attempts to deal with the burning question of what happens as the line between man and machine is blurred. With those replicants starting to think, feel, and act of their own accord, are they not worthy of the same treatment as other sentient beings? This question is tackled two ways in the movie, I feel. Firstly, we get to obviously see several replicants existing within society. Secondly, there is some doubt placed in the audience early on as to whether or not Harrison Ford's Deckard character is in fact human. There's a sweet irony to the idea of a replicant not only hunting other replicants but being the best at it. The doubt never comes to a head, but we do see a replicant exhibit far better behaviour than we do in some of the humans on-screen when at the end of the movie, Rutger Hauer's Roy saves Deckard from falling to his death. So, that's a thing.
I've put a lot of thought into this movie. I've clearly put a lot of effort into watching it as I've encountered several failures in getting through the whole thing. Does Blade Runner leave the audience with that burning question of man, machine, and the blurred line? Sure, it does. However, I feel it does a really poor job of it. I've seen better movies that deal with the same issue and for such an iconic film, you'd think it would be better. I can't honestly see the just released sequel improving on the process since the original seems to be such a hit, so it would take a really bored Tuesday when movies are at their cheapest for me to make it out to see the follow-up. I'll leave myself instead wondering of not man and machine, but how something so bad can be considered so good.