REVIEW SUMMARY: Cool visuals, but ultimately a boring movie.
MY RATING: (Add 1 if you read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Cop hunts for criminal replicants in the 21st Century
PROS: Stunning visuals
CONS: Boring. Boring. Boring. No characterizations. Boring.
BOTTOM LINE: Not worth the time.
Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner is loosely (and I mean loosely) based on Philip K. Dicks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The things I liked most about the movie were the visuals (futuristic cityscapes, lighting, and photography). The thing that stands out the most, though, is that it was just plain boring. To me, that’s the worst error a movie could make. Isn’t that why people watch movies in the first place? To relieve boredom?
It doesn’t make sense to go into how a movie differs from the story it is based upon. They almost always do; usually with good reason, though. Film is a different enough format to warrant certain stylistic and plot changes. Thus, in my opinion, a movie should be based on its own merits. And what are the merits of Blade Runner? The noir visual effects.
Set in a bleak future (next stop: Los Angeles, 21st century), the story follows Rick Deckard’s hunt for criminal replicants, outlawed on Earth when some of them kill humans off-world. Blade Runner’s futuristic cityscapes are fun to watch and show great imagination and creativity, right down to the product placement ads for Atari and Coke on huge television billboards. Even the indoor shots are infused with ever-changing lighting that makes it visually interesting to watch. Even in this day of multi-million dollar special effects and CGI, it’s still a treat to see.
But that’s where the good stuff ends in this movie. The story moves way too slowly. Reading the book beforehand will help immensely with filling in story background, but casual viewers, methinks, will feel lost. Characterizations are almost non-existent, but how could they exist with such little dialogue? The most likable characters were the evil replicants because they, at least, had motivation. They had a strong desire to live past their 4-year life span. I was semi-wishing I had a 1 hour life span about midway through this snoozer.
The edition reviewed here is the Director’s Cut released in 1992. But, back in 1982, someone thought the story needed more explanation via a Harrison Ford voiceover. I do not remember the voiceover version very well (Omigod! That was, like, the 80’s!), but I DO remember being immensely bored by that one too. From a noir aspect, though, I think the voiceover could only help.
Skip this one.