The first thing I should start off by saying is I am no Roger Ebert*. For a start, I don’t have a prosthetic chin and I didn’t die in 2013 (unless I did in fact die in 2013, but mad scientists at an evil corporation have taken the memories the former-me enjoyed and placed them into the replicant-me I am now, withholding the former-me’s memory of me dying, so that the now-me doesn’t have to feel bad about my being all dead and that).
Makes you think doesn’t it?
Because, in case you are one of the lucky people on the planet who still has a full 117 minutes of your life not taken up by watching Blade Runner, this is kind of the whole point of the movie: to make us question what it is to be human.
The answer: too bloody short-lived to be watching overrated Sci-Fi movies.
But should any of you be considering spending any more time with the original so you can sit in a half-empty theatre watching Ryan Gosling looking bemused – again – and pretend to know what’s going on, allow me to save you the agony of shaking your fist at the screen and shouting ‘give me back my life, f*cker father’^’
^A little ‘in’ reference there for the purists amongst you. And before you ask, yes, I have watched both the main cuts.
Anyway, here are five reasons it is the worst…
1. Even the director couldn’t stop polishing that turd
So far there are SEVEN available versions of the film. Ridley Scott has given up years of his life trying to make the film better. Those are valuable years he could have spent convincing himself Prometheus was a dogshit idea.
Okay, we all know the original voice-over version is terrible. If you’re not sure if you’ve seen it, it’s the one in which Harrison Ford tells us EXACTLY what’s happening in front of our eyes with all the enthusiasm of a man on ketamine describing his own bowel movements.
And yes, Scott was right to ditch the movie morphine happy ending in favour of the ambiguity over Deckard’s human status. But the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Final Cut? Such burning issues as ‘should Dekard open his eyes before or after he places his finger on the piano keys?’ or ‘should the unicorn scene be five or second seconds long?’
Oi! Scott! No!….. Literally no-one gives a t*ss!
Although despite being a horse with a horn glued to its face, the unicorn is at least one of the more convincing characters in the film, so perhaps it should have been given more screen time.
2. Harrison Ford’s acting
I like Harrison Ford. I might even have objectified him sexually once upon a time. But he can no more carry off the role of Deckard than he could that ear piercing he got in 1997.
He spends most of the film looking like he’s being bum fingered by a mouse he really likes and doesn’t want to upset. Like he’s trying desperately to feel something, but never quite managing it.
Just look at the evidence of your own eyes.
I wonder whether Scott decided to add the replicant thing in by way of explanation of the wooden acting?
3. The is he / isn’t he a replicant thang
Okay, I don’t mind this as an idea – there needed to be something for the nerds to agonise over for the last 35 years – and the idea of the hunter really being that which he hunts adds to the paranoiac backdrop that makes the original just about watchable.
But if he is a replicant, shouldn’t he by rights be every bit as fast, strong and generally physically impressive as the four he’s trying to ‘retire’. Surely no self-respecting company would create a Blade Runner that’s shit at Blade Running. It would be corporate suicide.
Only he really is rubbish. A total shambles. Even when he’s up against a half-naked prostitute who is actually running away from him. That final scene with Batty is less mano e mano and more T:1000 vs Wall:E.
If the rumours are true, 2049 doesn’t exactly lay the replicant debate to rest, so presumably Harrison Ford is going to be put into cryogenic suspension ready to be defrosted for the 2079 version in which we discover he’s actually a handsome teasmade gone rogue.
4. The science is waaay off
There’s plenty of sci fi that has proven blindingly accurate in fortelling the not-so-distant future of technology – see driverless cars in Logan’s Run, the touchscreen computing of the Personal Access Display Devices (PADDs) from Star Trek, the continuous liquid interface 3d printing inspired by Terminator 2.
The central idea at the heart of Blade Runner is that if you can plug enough information into a computerised system it will start to feel emotion. Well sorry chaps, my laptop has the whole internet at its fingertips, all the human knowledge that has ever existed, and it didn’t so much as get teary-eyed when I put Windows Vista onto it.
5. The ‘romance’ between Deckard and Rachel
Let’s face it, Harrison does a better job of acting like he cares for the imaginary bum-fingering mouse I invented in point *two* than he does of looking like he develops any meaningful feelings for Rachel.
And as for what in the bloody hell she sees in him.
So what was it that first attracted you to the selfish, self-involved, heavy-drinking, one-dimensional murderous cop Deckard?
Was it when he told you that you were a robot and everything you ever believed was a lie?
Was it when he said he wouldn’t come after you if you tried to leave, but then you tried to leave and he forced you to do stuff to him against your will?
It’s not Love AI:ctually is it?
Or maybe it was that one note he played on the piano?
In fairness to Rachel, I once knobbed a guy at university because he could play three chords on the guitar, but…. and here’s the important bit….. I didn’t run away to the countryside with him.
Surely at some point Ridley Scott must have been tempted to CGI some flowers and a foot massage in to ramp up the believability factor?
But no, despite being famed for his strong female role models (just check out Ripley, a character for whom he had so much respect he practically named her after himself), here he opts for the good-old-fashioned-rough-her-up-a-bit-and-spirit-her-away-to-a-bolthole-where-no-one-will-ever-find-her treatment.
If he hadn’t died in 1982, Philip K Dick should write a follow-up entitled ‘Do Androids Get Stockholm Syndrome’.
So there you have it. The ‘greatest Sci-Fi movie of all time’ dismantled in five easy steps.
Now leave me be, I’ve got to go and scowl through the sequel.
*Yes I know I could have used Mark Kermode, but being alive and only having a prosthetic quiff doesn’t work for this particular opener to which I’ve committed myself.
Do you like drivel being dribbled into your spam folder once a decade (most time is currently being spent writing a book no-one will ever publish, probably not even myself on Amazon). If so, stick your name into any one of the pop-ups I created on this site back when I thought I might do this blogging thing properly….