The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

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The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Tim » 23 May 2010, 21:40

So I just watched Blade Runner for the first time.

I went into it with high expectations. It's always been represented to me as a very good movie, one of the great sci-fi classics.


I thought it sucked.

Convince me otherwise! Tell me all about what you think Blade Runner did well. Did you like the cinematography? Did you like the acting? Did you think it had a profound theme or message? Did you think its concepts were revolutionary? Do you think it built a strong atmosphere and sense of immersion? Did you like the naked breasts and the implied rape?


I'll hold off on sharing the details of my opinion for now.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby yankeebayonet » 23 May 2010, 21:58

Oh gosh. If this topic doesn't get at least as long as the Ask LRR thread, I'll be shocked.

It's strange, I've never actually considered not thinking it was a good movie. I always assumed the things I didn't like were just dumb 1970's things. You're making me question my belief system!

I'm going to have to watch it again to give a good reply, but if there's anything I can coherently say, it's that Blade Runner feels like a book. There is something about the style and the subtlety of certain scenes that makes it feel literary somehow. I get a similar vibe from 2001. It's something I think a lot of science-fiction movies today lack. There's always so much action and stuff going on when so many good stories have absolutely no action at all.

That's about all I got. I never thought the acting was bad, though.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Arius » 23 May 2010, 22:03

I think it's mostly that Tim is numb to all the effects and camera work, because so many movies have copied the style. At the time, dark and depressing images of the future were almost unheard of.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby RathWolf » 23 May 2010, 22:05

I'm not in the position to say whether or not Blade Runner sucks, but I figured I'd mention my strange relationship with it.

It puts me to sleep.

No, seriously. I don't know what it is. It's not that I find it particularly boring, or that I only watch it when I'm tired, but something about it just knocks me out. It's the weirdest thing.

Take it as you will, just thought I might as well mention it.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby yankeebayonet » 23 May 2010, 22:07

Arius wrote:I think it's mostly that Tim is numb to all the effects and camera work, because so many movies have copied the style. At the time, dark and depressing images of the future were almost unheard of.


There is some truth in that. It was an early dystopia, and it definitely did a good job of making the future depressing. It's also beautifully shot, if a bit static at times.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Ragepyro » 23 May 2010, 22:13

I read the book first and I couldn't even make it part way through Bladerunner, I just thought that Androids dream was so much better.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Tim » 23 May 2010, 22:16

Rath, I can see why. There's all kinds of dead time in the shots where nothing at all is happening, and the camera's just sitting there waiting for... something. Oh! Right! The character is supposed to enter the shot now! Maybe that'll happen soon! (I'm being facetious, but honestly, there was a ton of dead air.)



As for the dystopia thing, great. I had no real problem with the art direction, overall, even if it didn't really appeal to my sensibilities. I can understand that it's a view of the future from the 80s, so it's going to look weird to me. That's fine.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby sdhonda » 23 May 2010, 22:17

Arius wrote:I think it's mostly that Tim is numb to all the effects and camera work, because so many movies have copied the style. At the time, dark and depressing images of the future were almost unheard of.


Oh no they were, they were just not terribly popular, or commited to celluloid.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Trymantha » 24 May 2010, 00:27

Which of the many cuts did you watch?
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby iamafish » 24 May 2010, 02:11

Tim wrote:Rath, I can see why. There's all kinds of dead time in the shots where nothing at all is happening, and the camera's just sitting there waiting for... something. Oh! Right! The character is supposed to enter the shot now! Maybe that'll happen soon! (I'm being facetious, but honestly, there was a ton of dead air.)


you call it dead air, i call it raising tension... although that might also be facetious.

I though it was a really good film. It's been a while since i saw it, but i really enjoyed it when i did watch it. I can't remember enough details to really discuss it, but i remember that i like it.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Elomin Sha » 24 May 2010, 02:44

Yeah, there are at least 4 cuts, I have all of them (bought recently). There is a happy ending, the bad ending.
It's been a while since I've watched Blade Runner but I think there is a version with Ford narrating over the top (or I've made it up). When I first watched it I didn't like it, but re-watching it I was able to study it more. Also, what did you think of the music by Vangelis?
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby SecretsOfMoon » 24 May 2010, 05:08

I've only ever seen the "Final Cut" version and I liked that. Maybe Tim could tell what things he liked, what he didn't, and what he'd prefer to be different, but ultimately I don't think there's anything anyone can say to change one's tastes.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Tetsubo » 24 May 2010, 05:29

Blade Runner is my favorite movie, period. From the first time I saw it in 1982 until now. It recently got even better for me as Rutger Hauer himself made a video reply to my YouTube review of the movie.

But what to say about the film itself? The visuals, the old school FX, the writing, the acting, the story-line. It is simple the greatest work of science-fiction I have ever seen. I honestly can't quite grasp how it could fail to entertain. But my relationship to the film is tied to being seventeen when it was released. Literally growing up with this movie as my gold standard. Before I die, I want to own a copy of Deckard's pistol.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby epocalypse » 24 May 2010, 06:11

Actually though, what cut did you see? That can be very important.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby empath » 24 May 2010, 06:34

Yeah, that hand cannon is rather iconic. Here's a good site about replicas of it, and it links to Richard Coyle's recounting his experiences in making a replica.

The 'first mainstream movie to get dystopic' was a big appeal to me. Roddenberry's vision of the future seemed so damn clean - even Lucas's galaxy far far away appeared to have lotsa microscopic 'garbage droids' that took care of messes (at least on the organized side of the Empire; the Millennium Falcon was the archetype of clutter)

But it's that closing monologue of Roy's that always gets to me; the unseen (and unseeable) images that he evokes in my mind. The grief that one feels from a life (even artificial) ending and it's experiences and unique insights being gone.




...okay, I just went and watched Tetsubo's review, AND Mr. Hauer's response.

Wow. I never realized he 'edited' that speech I feel so strongly about. He took probably some interesting insights and whatnot and cut it down to its core, and even the brevity SAYS MORE with its poignancy.


I can't really think clearly about much else of the movie; the music was ...um, instrumental (sorry) to creating the feel of the movie, and the whole message of 'life an death' and how this gets clouded with the events of the film. I'd really have to go and watch it again (and probably at least two or three cuts, no less) to organize my thoughts any further.

But in short, it's okay - I don't see it as "AN ESSENTIAL MESSAGE ABOUT LIFE" that everyone has to worship and love; it's probably dated in the props and set dressing and costumery.

S'cool.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby epocalypse » 24 May 2010, 06:38

Honestly I think the perfect time to see Blade Runner for the first time is in your early to mid teens, or else it loses something. It's like trying to see Star Wars for the first time ever as an Adult in the current day and age. You'd probably see it and go "Really, this is all that? huh." For The record, I go by the rule that the less unicorn in the cut, the better it works as an entire film.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Niko88 » 24 May 2010, 06:48

First off, if you watched the re-release that came out about a year or two ago, I didn't think that one represented the move well at all. The score was way to loud and all the added visuals and extra cgi just seemed to be a bit over whelming.

It also helps to know that Blade Runner is based on a Philip K Dick novel, Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby aeric90 » 24 May 2010, 07:33

My experience is that 'Blade Runner' isn't a film you see once and fall in love with. You see it once and build around the especially effective moments and then with subsequent viewings the rest of the movie knits itself around it. It has been re-cut so many times though that I'm surprised Vince hasn't thrown it under a Slapchop so it can sometimes seem like a bit of a mess.

I personally believe that 'tears in the rain' may be one of the best scenes ever filmed in movie history.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Alja-Markir » 24 May 2010, 07:58

I haven't seen but pieces of Blade Runner, but it's a different sort of beast than modern films. Look at 2001. That's another tough film to sit through for a modern viewer.

We've become accustomed to fast paced cuts and editing, snappy cinematography that moves the camera even when the characters are sitting or standing still. Heck, LRR did it recently, doing all sorts of dolly shots and pans and zooms for Informational Presentation in which the actors mostly sat, stood, and spoke.

Modern Hollywood movies have become very uniform. Consequently, we've become used to the modern formula for commerical success. The current day target length is 90-120 minutes, and the average shot length has dropped considerably. Ever wonder where Intermissions went, and why we don't have long run features any more? Ever wonder why most films that come out these days are action flicks or comedies?

In the case of Blade Runner, the Average Shot Length for all Hollywood films in 1982 was 20.3 seconds. The ASL for all Hollywood films in 2007 was only 2.5 seconds. (Citation)

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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Tim » 24 May 2010, 07:59

The version I watched had no voiceovers and them getting into the elevator at the end.

I thought the music was fine, in general. Didn't particularly strike me either way.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Elomin Sha » 24 May 2010, 08:22

That was the bad (unhappy) ending.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Sable » 24 May 2010, 08:24

Tetsubo wrote: I want to own a copy of Deckard's pistol.


Adam Savage can help you with that.


As far as Blade Runner as a film goes, I'll admit it's been a while since I've seen it. My recollections might be a little dusty.

I've always liked the film, but I don't think it's the greatest science fiction story ever told (Come to think of it, I really don't know which one I would give that title to). Depending on the cut (As others have pointed out, there are many), you get a very different movie; the one I have the most fondness for is arguably the least-liked - I really enjoyed the version with Harrison Ford's voice-over.

In my opinion, for a lot of science fiction fans, Blade Runner's dystopian, hopeless environment where violence is directed without meaningful consequence at sentient humanoids feeds a powerful sense of nihilism. Replicants are "retired," not murdered, and despite the fact that they are so similar to humanity that a quite complicated test is required to uncover them, they are seen as, at best, pests - providing a psychological connection to devaluing of life and, by extension, life's purpose. This sense of the apocalyptic, of everything being ultimately meaningless (the Tyrell Corporation being an aloof, uninterested authority handing down irrefutable proclamations) feeds a powerful thematophilia in younger people (I'm talking late-teens, I'm old, get over it) and provides a rich backdrop for that aimless ennui to find purchase. This is one part of why films like The Terminator, Mad Max/The Road Warrior, or any of the other post-apocalyptic/dystopian films gained such popularity.

(Before the rest of you jump on that last sentence and the red mist descends, the other reasons are that they are very good movies. The semi-truck chase sequence in the end of The Road Warrior is my benchmark by which all other chase scenes are measured).

I've seen Blade Runner a number of times through my life, and it hasn't always left the strongest impression. I enjoy the art style and the cinema/photography, I love the costumes and how detailed the world is, from the matte-painted backdrops to the vehicles (Some of which are on display at the Sci-Fi museum in Seattle). The dark, gritty world I find to be very well-realised, and an incredible backdrop for the story to take place on.

The story is, at its core, a detective noir, a genre I happen to enjoy a lot. This is paralleled by an ultimately unresolved question about the value of life (and, directly related, death), which is by far the most "famous" piece of the story. There are a lot of philosophical questions and deliberate unresolved questions (Baty's line "I want more life, fucker/father!" is deliberately slurred to leave it unresolved as to whether he is treating Deckard as his 'creator,' by referring to him as 'father,' or as a fellow Replicant by throwing the epithet at him), along with some interesting implications. Again, these are ultimately unresolved, and as such are the fuel for quite complex discussions that arise from the film. At once opposite and complimentary to the themes of nihilism and dystopia, the discussions tend to revolve around Deckard's morality, his justification in what he does, or if there can be.

None of this is particularly meant to change your mind, Tim - if you didn't like it, you didn't like it, and that's fine. Blade Runner is not a universal thing, it's not hard-coded into your genes.

One thing I found to be enormously enlightening was to watch Blade Runner, then read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the book the film is based on. In particular, Roy Baty's character is changed (and the Replicants' motivation radically altered) by the plot lines extending from the Mercer Box.

I would contend that Blade Runner is a better-told story then Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but concede that it loses a lot of nuance and subtlety to the book.

Note: The plot summary on Wikipedia for the book is very bad, don't go by that. The book's really short, just get a copy at the library.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Tim » 24 May 2010, 08:42

I own the book and have read it, though it was four or five years ago, so I can't remember a lot of the details.


I thought Roy's speech at the end, and the thing with the dove, was overplayed, to be honest. There's no reason for him to grab the dove other than so that he can let go of it when he dies. It doesn't make any sense that driving the spike through his hand would keep him alive/awake a little longer.

Overall, I felt like the theme was too subtle through most of the movie, and was just kind of a general "the future is sadface" kind of vibe. There was plenty of room to explore questions about artificial life and death, but it didn't really get explored much. And then at the ending, all of their thematic content got condensed into 5 or 10 minutes, and came across as preachy and completely non-subtle.

That may just be the way I perceived it, but to me, the theme of a movie has to be present throughout, not just at the climax.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Thysane » 24 May 2010, 09:50

Unlike a few in this thread, I have watched Blade Runner extremely recently, so my memories aren't clouded too much with nostalgia and the like.

I like Blade Runner. I really do think it's a great film. I've watched it many times, and on every subsequent viewing it's only seemed better to me. However, I can see where Tim is coming from in some regards.

Yes, the themes are a little too subtle throughout, and you do kind of get the sense that they're a bit muddled and incoherent. But for me, Blade Runner is more about the atmosphere. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Yes the ending can seem overly melodramatic and overplayed, but I think that thats simply a byproduct of the film's very noir aesthetic. And yet again, we're back to atmosphere. Hm.

About the length of the shots and dead air: I honestly did not notice this in any of my viewings. In fact, I may be so bold as to say that the average shot length of this movie is much more preferable to that of the films nowadays. Todays films can seem overly frenetic and rushed, with the camera going every which way and cutting every 2 seconds. However, yet again, your mileage may vary, as I do actually enjoy the frankly glacier like shot lengths of Tarkovsky's Stalker.
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Re: The "Change Tim's Mind About Blade Runner" Thread

Postby Vaughn » 24 May 2010, 18:01

I have never seen blade runner, but i can aparently allude to it effectivly in situations.

This leads me to think it is some sort of Cyberpunk standard, the bar which the rest of it goes by.

Maybe its not great on the scale, but it helped there to be a scale in the first place.
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