Friday, February 10, 2012

Bladerunner's 30th anniversary

So I just finished watching rep #1 of Bladerunner on AMC HD (Direct TV 254).  They are doing a marathon in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Bladerunner's release.  This anniversary celebration blew my frickin' brains out when I saw it, and recognized it for what it really was.

It is astounding, and almost impossible to believe, that Bladerunner was released nearly 30 years ago.  We won't have the real 30 year date until June 25th, as the original was released to theaters on 6/25/1982, but we are close enough.  What's another 4 months and 15 days?

I was a 15 year old kid (going on 16) sitting in the Festival Cinemas (Blackstone Avenue Fresno Ca) on Saturday 6/26/1982.  The movie pretty much blew me away.  The visual universe had a lot to do with it.  The score by Vangelis also had it's profound effect.  Great acting and directing did the rest.  It blew us all away.  I still think it is the greatest dystopian piece of science fiction I have ever seen.

It scared the hell out of me.  I wondered if the world of 2019 might look something like that.  That time and that world seemed a vast distance away from me in those days.  I think I did the computation which indicated that I would be 52-53 years old in that time.  I wondered if I would live to see that time.  Now it is just 7 years away.  It doesn't seem that long anymore.

I am glad to see that AMC is showing the movie in it's original theatrical release.  There have been several minor revisions of the film passing as "the director's cut" and "the final cut".  They never did anything for me.  I do not believe these changes made any improvements to the film.  Many have poured their scorn on Harrison Ford's narration in the original theatrical cut.  Not me.  I always liked it just fine.  I doubt I would have understood the movie without it.  Even today, when I see one of the other cuts, I still reference all the critical information the narrative provided.

For a long time, I believed this was the greatest movie ever made.  It was my favorite film for years.  It remains one of my favorite films.  Furthermore, Ridley Scott is on my short-short list of whose the greatest director of all time.

It's hard for me to describe the reasons why this film moved me so much when I was a kid.  Perhaps it was the fact that 1982 was one of my worst years.  I lost weight rapidly in 1981 only to turn around and lose my starting position on the defensive line as a Sophomore in 1981/82.  I damaged my Achilles tendon in a freak accident with a fish tank.  None of the girls I liked in High School liked me back.  Nothing was going my way.

The dark and depressing tone of a misery, isolation and depression fit my mood well at the time.  Harrison Ford played a very isolated lone wolf character, not temperamentally suited to the role of a Bladerunner, but highly proficient at the task.  He finds love in a hopeless place, at the risk of quoting Rihanna, with a lovely replicant he has been ordered to kill.

She was a knock-out too.  Sean Young is one of just a few Scorpio women who knocked me out as a young guy.  It was just a few moments ago that I re-discovered what I really knew already:  I have very high synastry with Sean Young.  The numbers here don't lie.

Down through the years this movie has stuck with me.  I've seen it a hundred or more times, and have enjoyed it on different levels every time.  In this most recent run through the flick, I looked at it as a Cancer/Scorpio romance story.  They have great depth of emotion and feeling without a lot of words, as we would expect in this pairing.  She even pulls a classic Scorpio woman maneuver, blowing Brion James' brains out to protect her man.  Those Scorpio women will pull the trigger when their loved ones are threatened.

Here are few of the classic reasons why Bladerunner resonates with me:

  1. If the population of SoCal expanded to 1 billion people, I do wonder if the resulting Malthusian nightmare would look like Bladerunner.
  2. If we were able to genetically design clone slaves (called replicants) I wonder if we would treat them so inhumanely as the humans of this piece do.  I would hope not, but I think we probably would.
  3. If you could genetically design the perfect replicant companion, I don't doubt a simple biological human would fall in love with him/her, human biology being what it is.
  4. At the same time, I don't doubt we would oppress these very same ones we love.  We only hurt the ones we love.
  5. There is a great deal of Søren Kierkegaard's existentialism in this movie.  There are a number of homeless and uncomfortably isolated characters in this movie who struggle to overcome emotional isolation and find some meaning in the face of the great certainty of death.  This is strong meat.  J.R.R. Tolkien once said that all great literature is about the same thing:  Death.
In short, this movie deals with the crooked timber of humanity, and the inhumanity of mankind, in the face of the great certainty of death.  It does so in brilliant fashion.

If you happened to see Bladerunner for the very first time sometime in the past several years, you might wonder what all the hub-bub is about.  You might even think of this is an average or cliche SciFi film.  Believe me, nothing could have been further from the truth back in 1982.

This is the original, often emulated to the point of cliche.  This movie invented this style.  Thousands have tried to emulate it.  Just remember: this is the original.  Everything else that followed is a dupe.