Over the holidays, I got Blade Runner out on DVD and was pleasantly surprised at how convincing the screenplay, the acting and the special effects were after almost thirty years. Apparently, there are fifteen odd gaffes in the film, not counting problems with translations and subtitles, but the suspension of belief and the character immersion is such that, even knowing a couple of them didn’t spoil the film.
Science fiction is a fascinating genre in that it puts science, be it speculative, imaginary or real, in the spotlight, but the truly great science fiction stories expose how much more there is to learn about ourselves. The dramatic conclusion of Blade Runner, with the dying replicant saving the life of Deckard, his mortal adversary, is, perhaps, the greatest scene in science fiction history – an android comes to understand the true value of life while mankind treats life with disdain. I still remember the first time I heard that speech and the delivery of the final line, “Time to die,” with its ambiguity about who would die. Roy had him. Deckard was dead to rights, but Deckard lives as Roy chooses not to waste another life. And Deckard learns the lesson, in turn saving Rachel.
If you haven’t seen the sketchbook for the set design, it’s well worth flipping through.
I have mixed feelings about a reboot. I just can’t see how Blade Runner could be improved. The script writers have their work cut out for them.