Before I saw the cult classic "Blade Runner"
, my friends told me about it nonstop. They kept telling me "dude, you've got to see that movie, it the greatest sci-fi movie of all time!" Since it quickly became apparent to me that I was the only science fiction lover on the planet that hadn't seen it, I picked it up. And I had high expectations. It definitely sounded cool, and it was certainly considered a classic. But when I saw it, it became the first major disappointment of my movie viewing life.
Yes, I realize I'm pretty much alone in that opinion. But just hear me out for a second. First of all I see its good points. Most people do enjoy philosophically deep science fiction, and "Blade Runner"
definitely qualifies. I actually thought the premise was genius: a world were humans can me manufactured as consumer products is the perfect canvas to discus what it means to be human. Plus, Harrison Ford as the star is usually enough to get me to see a movie. I also realize that the special effects, particularly the set design, were very impressive back in the 80s.
That being said, this was still one of the worst movies I'd ever seen, at least compared to what I was expecting for such a critically acclaimed movie. The biggest problem was the pacing. I nearly nodded off several times. It was literally the worse pacing I'd ever seen. I'm not saying I needed an explosion every three seconds but seriously, this was more boring than Ang Lee's Hulk.
Secondly, this was the first and only time Harrison Ford has let me down. Now no one can dispute that Harrison is an awesome actor. Anybody who starred in both Star Wars and Indiana Jones is either awesome or the luckiest SOB on the planet. But here, he seems to have lost all empathy. He completely failed to make any emotional connection with me, thus I cared nothing about his character and could care less when he was imperiled. And I'm sorry but the scene where he kills Zhora just disgusted me. I don't care if she was a replicant or not, shooting down an unarmed fleeing stripper in the streets is not heroic, it's low and pathetic.
Thirdly, the plot never really goes anywhere. If there was one rule for storytelling in any form, it would be that something should have happened between the beginning and end. And nothing happens in “Blade Runner”
, nothing changes. They give you the premise and then pretty much a typical day in the world they've set up, but nothing more. The only remotely interesting thing that happened was at the tail end when they hint that Deckard might be a replicant. If you ask me, that's how the movie should have begun: watch Deckard do his job for 10 to 20 minutes, have him find out he's a replicant, then watch him deal with that for the rest of the movie. Maybe that's not entirely original, but it would have been more interesting.
Fourthly, this movie suffered from the same problem that “The Matrix”
did years later: it was trying to be deep. Good philosophical movies are not made; they just are by nature of the story. As I already mentioned, the basic premise was already deep, just as “The Matrix”
set up was perfect for questioning the nature of reality. But like “The Matrix”
, “Blade Runner”
throws in a bunch of analogies and references to religion and philosophy that don't belong and don't lend anything to the main theme. This ultimately hurts the movie rather than helps it.
Any one of these things, by themselves, would have been forgivable. Together, they completely destroy anything good the movie had to offer, at least for me. My summery of the problem with “Blade Runner”
is this: good idea, poor execution. Once again, I know that I'm alone on this, so please don't give me the usual "are you on crack, man!? Blade Runner's awesome!", because I heard it all before. Believe me; I really wanted to like this movie. All I want is someone to give a good reason why "Blade Runner"
deserves to be remembered and treated as one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made.