1982 was one of these years, with the passing of time, we should celebrate, at least regarding film releases. From Annie, to Creepshow or Porky’s, 1982 also rewarded us with The Thing, First Blood and 48h, among many others.
But it’s Blade Runner I want to talk about now. Last week it was the 30th anniversary of its release, and I’m particularly fond of this film as I grew up with Deckard and Nexus 6 close.
Sure my parents didn’t take me to the cinema to see this sci-fi film, probably for the same reason they didn’t buy me Star Wars toys. For many years, and still nowadays, sci-fi has been a male genre, as if girls couldn’t dream of being astronauts, heroines nor fighters. Well, as far back as my childhood memories reach, I’ve been fond of stuff related to this portrait of the future, dark, sinister and even hopeless.
You already know the classic Star Wars saga is essential in my existence, and I accomplish certain rituals every year which have to do with it. Well, Blade Runner is actually my second all time favorite movie, and I also have to watch it once or twice a year. I need it.
Ridley Scott’s free adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, shocked the world in 1982. Although I’m not sure the exact time I watched the film for the first time, I still have the moment fresh in my mind. The same guy who gave me my favorite childhood toys, the space Airgam Boys, when I was 5, and videotaped me the Star Wars saga and the first Muppet Movie, he played me Blade Runner to keep me entertained while he, his girlfriend and my parents were playing card at his house in the Pyrenees. Hi son was off with his ex wife, thus, movies will be the perfect babysitters for me.
If you are acquainted with the plot, you can imagine at 7-8, I barely managed to comprehend 10-15% of the film, yet there were many visual things which made me fall in love with the film. On one hand, Han Solo was now Rick Deckard, the image of the Japanese geisha taking a contraceptive pill was something which settled in my mind immediately, J.F Sebastian’s toys at his huge apartment, the origami figures made by Gaff, and the enhancing device to observe the tiniest details of the picture Deckard found at Leon’s flat. No need to say violent scenes were very intense and welcome.
Have you ever thought of the amount of violence we used to swallow when we were kids? Damn, we were allowed to watch action films and nothing happened. Blood, shoot-to-kill prosecutions, executions, beatings, rapes…anything. Think of Robocop, The Terminator, Rocky, Conan… I don’t have any regrets and don’t think it as wrong, I haven’t suffered from any side effects.
Anyway, sorry for this off-remark. I was fascinated by the aesthetics and the imagery, and my love for the film was increasing and becoming stronger and full of sense, as I was growing up and developing my own vision of the story. When I started understanding about the replicants Nexus 6, the actual task of the Blade Runner as a shoot-to-kill cop hunting them in order to carry out their retirement, the need for memories, and the Voight-Kampff test, an amazing fictitious world was there open to me, the Future, and this film became another source of endless thinking and dreaming.
Your vision on certain aspects in the film changes as you grow old. You used to think Deckard was a cool cop, but in the end you realize he’s a total tortured loser who strongly believes Rachael feels and is in love with him, but she’s actually obeying and fulfilling his desires, it’s not love but submission. And the Replicants are not evil, they’ve just fighting for survival!
Slavery, feelings, memories, survival, humanity, morality… Blade Runner conveys all these features and make you think. It’s not just another sci-fi story, it reaches levels of social criticism.
The more developed and technologically advanced we are, the more valididy Dick’s message has. For this and more, Blade Runner will be in my top 5 for good.