Blade Runner 2049, Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated sequel to his 1982 film Bladerunner is set to hit cinemas this week. There is much speculation regarding the release including some definitive answers will be provided for questions that viewers have had left only to speculate for the last 35 years. With Harrison Ford set to return as Deckard, we thought it fitting to revisit the original film to see whether it stands the test of time. So, is Blade Runner still any good?Blade Runner stands the test of time with its visual aesthetics alone. Despite being over three decades old, some of the practical and special effects are difficult to tell from modern times. While some scenes may appear outdated, they still continue to add to the neo-noir and cyberpunk tone that won the film acclaim. The dark, wet, seedy underbelly of a dystopian Los Angeles, blended with the futuristic visuals on technologically advanced billboards and bright lights from above really set the tone of the film in a phenomenal way that needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. You really appreciate the use of practical effects and the subtle use of CGI within this film, the world was literally built by hand. Every time I watch the film I’m instantly engaged with the wow factor the effects have.There is no denying that Blade Runner is a cinematic work of art, not just in its visuals but in themes and storytelling. While the plot of the film may not to everyone’s taste and could polarise some viewers, similar to A Clockwork Orange, the minimal exposition allows the viewer to try to discover what the story is trying to make us question and understand. The film has a simple plot, a Blade Runner has a duty to hunt down any replicants of the Nexus 6 which return to earth from outer colonies, this role has been reluctantly given to Ford’s Deckard. However, it is more an exploration of various themes within this plot that makes the film really tick.
The moral ambiguity of a Blade Runner’s duty to “retire” replicants on earth, replicants being bioengineered androids with increased physical attributed with differing emotional responses such as lacking empathy, is always questioned. These replicants want to survive and overcome the limited lifespan that has been given to them. Deckard, on the other hand, discovers that he has feelings for a replicant in Rachael, resulting in himself and the viewer questioning whether “retiring” them is the right thing to do. There are many thematic concepts in the film for the viewer to discover, such as the influence of technology over humanity and the concept of big brother that really make the experience of viewing the film even more enjoyable on multiple viewings.The overall acting in this film is quite dated, with some over the top fight scenes and body movements that are staples of the 80’s, but this doesn’t detract from the film of viewing experiences as these moments are few and far between. Harrison Ford’s acting as Deckard could be described as erratic but fits the character as he is questioning his humanity and moral obligations to complete his mission to destroy the Nexus 6 replicants. We get few of Ford’s snarky remarks, rather getting a very serious character who often lets his facial expressions do the talking. The replicants appear quite stiff and porcelain, with Pris (Daryl Hannah) and Batty (Rutger Hauer), really being the only replicant that shows a wide range of expression. However, this add could merely add to the whole android being unable to understand emotions theme. Much of the acting is still good by the main cast considering when the film was made. I would also love to see whether Hannah’s Pris was an inspiration for Harley Quinn, the resemblance is uncanny.Blade Runner is a science fiction staple that set the bar for storytelling through visuals as well as acting. It’s a must-see for any fan of the genre and should be revisited time and time again to think of the themes which Scott seeded throughout as a reflection of social commentary. Even if you aren’t interested in themes and just want to see a movie, this is a great movie that demands attention be paid to every scene from start to finish and who doesn’t enjoy the glowing eyes of replicants.
What do you think about the original Blade Runner? Do you think it is stood the test of time? Which version do you prefer? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page and don’t forget to subscribe to Movie Nerds on Youtube.