100 films I haven’t seen: ‘Blade Runner’

This one feels like a bit of a cheat. Of course I’ve seen “Blade Runner.” Everyone has. But I had never seen the theatrical cut. It had sort of disappeared from home video following the release Ridley Scott’s director’s cut.

Film 4: “Blade Runner”

My excuse for not seeing it: I first saw “Blade Runner” in 1992, when the director’s cut came out. Back then I didn’t see any reason to go backward. I spent money I had earned shoveling snow at church to buy it on VHS. I don’t remember seeing the theatrical cut in video stores anymore, so I just went with what I had.

I got the DVD set with The Final Cut several years ago, which also came with the theatrical cut. I figured I would watch it someday, but clearly I was in no hurry. Ten years later, (we’re now just two years before the film’s setting, 2019) I’ve finally rectified that.

Thoughts after watching it: Mostly that the director’s cut is a much better film. I’d heard tales of Harrison Ford’s bored narration (more like Harrison BORED, am I right? No? I’ll show myself out), but it really is terrible. Plus, it doesn’t really work from a storytelling standpoint, since the story isn’t told from Deckard’s perspective. Its removal for the director’s cut was a smart move.

Also, the happy ending is terrible. Not quite as bad as the “Love Conquers All” version of “Brazil,” but close. It’s like a happy version of how Poochie was written out of “Itchy & Scratchy” on “The Simpsons.”

Poochie

There were a few tidbits from the narration I enjoyed, like some info on Cityspeak, a mix of several languages spoken by Edward James Olmos’ character, Gaff. I had always been a bit perplexed by his character, now I feel like I have a better grasp on him.

A problem with both the theatrical and director’s cuts is that M Emmet Walsh’s character might as well be named Lt. Exposition. He gives out a lot of info that a legendary Blade Runner like Deckard should already know.

I feel a little bad for the replicant Leon, played by Brion James. Roy Batty, Zhora and Pris are all more or less physically perfect, while Leon is a doughy guy with the same kind of male pattern baldness as me.

Leon

If genetic designers can make them “more human than human,” why not strive for perfection? Did one of them just want to mess with a replicant that is already going to have a short and crappy life?

Random observation: There’s a shot of Deckard’s hand while he’s setting up the Voight-Kampff test that has an oddly long thumbnail. I assume it was probably a stand-in and not Ford, but what was up with that?

Movies it has inspired me to check out: I should probably catch “Alien: Covenant” at some point, but I’m not in a big hurry. Probably when it hits HBO. I’m more likely to see “Blade Runner 2049” in the theater, but it does make me a little apprehensive. The Director’s/Final cuts of “Blade Runner” are close to perfection, a bad sequel could tarnish that.

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