It is no surprise the fans are excited for Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Ridley Scott's cult classic Blade Runner, released in 1982. The sequel, so far, has gotten rave reviews from critics and it currently has an 8.4 on IMDb. So it's safe to say that it's a hit. But besides that, what about the cult masterpiece that fans (if not everyone) loves today?
So, of course, I watched Blade Runner. But of course, the catch is this: There are seven different versions of the film, due to the studio and distributor - Warner Bros. - making changes to the cut in response to other people. The list of all the versions of the film are right here, kudos to this source:
- During the test screenings of the film, the studio had a version that was essentially a prototype of the film. This was called the workprint. It was notably different than the other versions, most notably having no 'happy ending' or credits, just simply The End. It was never released theatrically, although it was later included for The Final Cut.
- After negative reception of the workprint, Warner Bros. controversially changed it to what would later become the United States' theatrical cut. It received mixed reviews and is not held high in regard to this day. The most notable changes were the inclusion of voice narration from Harrison Ford, less gore and violence altogether than the other versions and the infamous 'happy ending', made from the help of helicopter footage not used in Stanley Kubrick's The Shinning. There was also the international version, which had three more violent scenes not included in the US theatrical.
- The broadcast version of the film was the version of the film broadcast on television in the U.S. However, the Columbia Broadcasting System (the full name is defunct, it is now simply CBS) toned down the violence, profanity and nudity for broadcast. The opening explanation for the replicants is done by an anonymous narrator. In response to rumors and allegations that protagonist Rick Deckard is a replicant, CBS claimed that he was not.
- The unauthorized 1990-91 release of the workprint, as well as the positive response from it, resulted in Scott approving the Director's Cut of the film.
- Yet Scott never had full control of the film, including the Director's Cut, until the time came to release The Final Cut. The cut is the only one where Scott had full control over it and is regarded as Scott's ultimate vision for the film. It had no voice-overs, had a notable green tint - something not featured in the other films, had more violence and gore and was released with every other version.
I watched the theatrical cut.
So what did I think of it? It was an ok experience, just not a very good one. I never saw The Final Cut, but from what I could tell and see through numerous YouTube videos (and articles) was that it was Ridley Scott's complete vision for the film. The plot was fine, but there were two things that ruined it for me.
The voice-overs. It felt contradictory for the dark and noticeably cyberpunk neo-noir tone for this film. Certainly, the film never did shy away from the filn noir aspects of the film and it certainly was a detective story, in a way. Yet, the voice-overs made it more cheesy and were unnecessary towards the plot of the film. I would find everything out later, but it wouldn't be necessary.
The ending. I watched almost all of the endings side by side on a YouTube video (which you can see here) and I adored the other ones better than this one. This has to be most contradictory and cliched movie ending I've ever seen. The ending is this:
After coming back to his apartment after the death of Roy, Deckard finds his love interest, replicant Rachael, on the bed asleep while his room seems to be broken in. When they escape, he finds an origami unicorn and clutches it in his fist while they escape. With the helicopter shots, Deckard explains (through another voice-over) that Racheal doesn't have a four-year lifespan built in her (a limit required in every replicant manufactured) because she is an experiment, despite Gaff's final words being "It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?".
I particularly don't like happy, cliche endings. I prefer for them to be rather realistic and tone-fitting. This makes it seem that Blade Runner is another neo-noir thing, made by another Hollywood studio that likes to fuck people over.
I would give it a collective rating of 3.25, based on these factors.
- Story - 4
- Characters - 3
- Tone/Atmosphere - 3
- Replay value - 3