Blade Runner

I haven’t seen Blade Runner in years, probably not since the days of renting it on Betamax tape in Manila. So it was a very pleasurable experience to watch it on a giant screen during its limited re-release at the Ziegfeld. It looked amazing — the hype over its restoration is fully warranted. I wasn’t familiar enough with the movie to pick out the other digital nips and tucks that Ridley Scott made.

Obviously there’s stuff in the movie that hasn’t aged well — the synth-heavy score is too obtrusive, and the 80’s-era shoulder pads stick out (literally). I was also struck by how slowly it moves in general. Some of that is due to very real pacing issues I have with the movie, but I also think a large part is due to the fact that recent sci-fi is very studiously kinetic.

There’s constant debate over whether Deckard is supposed to be a replicant. Ridley Scott asserts that Deckard is, although the only way I can see that working is if you speculate that they created him to clean up the replicant mess, knowing that he’d have a finite lifespan to begin with. I think it’s more interesting if he is human, because otherwise you lose the contrast between Deckard’s sleepwalking through life and Roy Batty’s desperation to live.

What can’t be debated is the sheer visual power of the movie. It was interesting watching it knowing that so many of the visual cues have become cliches — the constant rain, the gritty metropolis on ethnic overload — yet somehow being awed by it anyway. Hopefully the turnout for the LA and NY re-release means that other cities will get limited runs as well; people deserve a shot to see this on the big screen.