Today’s Classic 80s Movie guest post comes from Nicholas James West.
Movie Title: Blade Runner
Writers: Philip K. Dick, Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples
Lead Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Director: Ridley Scott
Plot Summary: Deckard, a blade runner, is tasked to track down and terminate a group of replicants who have hijacked a ship and have returned to Earth in search of their maker.
Why I Think This Is A Classic 80s Movie: Back when my friends and I discovered Blade Runner on VHS (circa 1990), we were blown away. It was everything someone moving into their teen years needed; angst-filled, sexy, dirty, full of fantastic dialogue, and art direction like nothing else—then or since!
In a hip way the movie felt dated when I was a teenager. You could point to it as an example of supreme old school filmmaking. We were just moving into a CG world, and none of us bought the bullshit (remember again, the 90s). So, when I say, “dated” I mean it as a compliment. The themes were biblical, Greek, or mythic and the special effects matched this tone.
At the same time, Blade Runner was advanced in its ambitions. It was full of character, life, and story. You had to read between the lines. Watch it again and again to fully understand it. You had to search every frame for clues and nuance. Each scene was presented as a mystery. You had to seek out different cuts of the movie to understand everything. (No easy task, pre-internet.) The infamous voiceover version drove me crazy (As I had read that Ford and Scott hated it). When they released a “director’s cut” in 1993, I promptly stole a copy from my local video store.
For my friends and I, Blade Runner was a part of our aesthetic. It was a part of our personas, as we traveled the city in combat boots and black jackets. It seemed only we understood the the movie. It was our 80s cinema. As it turns out, however, we weren’t the only ones. The influence of Blade Runner is that of pioneer, cult hero, and eventual classic. And, like classics that came before, it is hard to imagine modern cinema without the trailblazing of Scott and company.
My Favorite Moment In The Movie: When Roy (Rutger Hauer) confronts his maker, Dr. Tyrell. He begs for a longer life. They engage in a chess-like debate—chess is also the catalyst for the entire encounter—and as Roy has just trumped his god on the board, he is now given the checkmate dialogue, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long…” Followed by a very disturbing event that echoes the descent into the underworld from the old tales.
My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie: Deckard (Harrison Ford) represents so many things, but on the surface he is the old hardboiled detective from noir being reintroduced to the audience. His not-so-faux bravado is summed up when asked if he cares for androids: “Replicants are like any other machine – they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.”
As the themes and twists are revealed, this snippy retort turns out to have more subtext than first glance. As a matter of fact, pretty much every line in the movie has several meanings and symbolic framework.
Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie:The amount of symbolism in this movie is off the charts.
-The dreamlike editing. Is it supposed to represent memories?
-The themes and questions; mainly, what is it to be human?
-What could’ve been an overblown dance sequence is instead left to the imagination. “Watch her take the pleasures from the serpent; that once corrupted man.”
-The hero, Deckard, takes his love by force. While disturbing to modern taste—movie heroes cannot rape a conquest—ancient protagonists often did.
-Replicants eyes reflecting like cats.
-Roy is the antichrist. He murders god. Yet somehow he also becomes savior. His hand is pierced by a nail. He sacrifices his cause for another. A white dove. A baptism. It’s actually a bit overt—albeit beautiful.
-The big question, subtly represented, is Deckard a replicant himself? Some of the original crew disagree on this, but really, he is. The unicorn, man. It’s all there.
Thanks, Nick! To show our gratitude for your guest post, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!
Tomorrow: Another Classic 80s Movie!
I’m still looking for people to write guest posts in this series. Please email me with the movie you’d like to cover. Here is a template you should use:
Writers (both screenwriters and any authors whose books were used as the basis for adaptation)
Lead Actors (Just the main ones)
IMDB Plot Summary (You can find that directly under the Your Rating box. If you don’t feel the summary does the story justice, feel free to write up a logline of your own.)
Why I Think This Is A Classic 80s Movies (Feel free to write as much as you’d like up to a half-page or so.)
My Favorite Moment In The Movie
My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie (IMDB has a Quotes section for almost every movie, so you can find key dialogue in your movie’s site.)
Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie
Please use this exact template to help me in the editing process.
If you can find a YouTube clip from the film or its trailer, include that URL.
When you are done with your guest post, you may simply copy and paste the content into an email to me.
I will run the posts in the order I receive them.
And if you emailed me about doing a specific movie, but haven’t sent in your guest post, now’s the time!