I know this might ruffle some feathers. Members of the Blade Runner cult are sharpening their pitchforks at the fact that it is not our first A+, and perhaps with good reason. After all, the 1982 dystopian sci-fi holds a special and influential position in the film history hierarchy. The concept is phenomenally inventive, the characters are extremely compelling and oddly relatable, the visuals are stunning and progressive, and the theme is one that leaves you questioning your worldview as you exit the theater. Blade Runner is one of the first films to reach beyond the suffocating tropes of the science fiction genre and use it as a viable and effective means for telling a poignant story. At this point, I have almost convinced myself that I rated it too low.
The story follows Deckard (Harrison Ford), a retired police officer who is forced to accept a mission to eliminate several illegal “replicants” (bioengineered humanoids). The journey that follows combines thrilling action with a very compelling question: what does it really mean to be alive?
However, while all of the elements seem apparent, there is just a whiff of something missing for me. It was the second time I’ve watched Blade Runner and, for whatever reason, I find the conversations that occur after watching to be far more enjoyable than the actual viewing experience. I know I may be claiming my own private island here, but it can be slow at times
and failed to keep me fixed to the edge of my seat. And it seems I’m not alone! Blade Runner is one of a few members of the AFI List that struck out entirely at the Academy Awards, winning 0 Oscars out of only two nominations. Now, this is not a perfect indicator of the film’s quality, especially since 1982 was simply a great year for movies (#91 Sophie’s Choice, #69 Tootsie, and #24 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial from our list were all released that same year); but it seems as though much of the appreciation for Blade Runner has come in retrospect.
Still, it’s one of those movies you just have to see. No film junkie’s vernacular is complete without the occasional reference or parallel to Blade Runner, and its impact on the future of film is extremely apparent. For that, Blade Runner earns a solid B+, and a Liberty Rating of 7 for its commentary on the ways in which outside forces influence individual freedoms. I won’t question it’s inclusion on the list, I just can’t say I’m as blown away as some of my peers. Maybe I’m missing something.
Alrighty. Are you keeping up? Next is #96, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Okay, bring it on. How do you feel about Blade Runner? Can you help me see the light? Or are you equally underwhelmed by the hype? Let us know!
To see the rest of the list click here.