Screengrab: Is This the Finest SF Movie Ever? (Answer: yes…)



RICHARD LUTZ  on the film you just gotta watch on the box this week

OK, lock the door, bolt the windows, turn on the flatscreen, rev up the hard drive back-up, set the DVD for the heart of the sun, put a sticker reminder on your IPAD, even hit the record button on your Betamax. This is ‘Go’ and counting.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Thurs; BBC4, 22.00) is hitting a living room flatscreen near you.

It is a fine re-edit of a very good movie. And if you have seen the Harrison Ford original, you know that Geordie director Ridley Scott did a pretty fine job even back then with the studio bosses nagging him all the time to soften the hard edges of the plot.. The movie was a set design job monster using the latest computer graphics to the best effect and even now, 3 decades later, people refer to any new futuristic film as ‘..sorta like Blade Runner..”

Creepy techno-music by Vangelis, good solid support from Rutger Hauer as a robot rebelling against his human slavemasters, Darryl Hannah as a punk android member of his robot gang and Sean Young as the..well, I would be telling, wouldn’t I?



The Final Cut makes the previous Star Wars nonsense feel like..well, prepubescent nonsense.

The dystopic future according to the film, or original novelist Phillip K. Dick actually, is an acid rain-drenched over populated Pacific Rim city where paranoia is in the crummy air you breathe. People on earth run human-like robots called replicants to do the outerspace heavy lifting, hard labour and assassinations until a quartet of them rebel, crave freedom and head for this poisonous earth and their rulers to wreak revenge. Harrison Ford’s job is to wipe them out.

But he has deep seated reservations  about his mission. And in his vague burnt-out state, just knows something is amiss.

The original movie suffered because the studio didn’t like the heavyweight bleak sets, the bad vibe ending and the nihilisitc vision of the Dick/Scott package.

So they made Scott re-write the ending and had Ford revoice a ridiculous merrier finale.

This re-edited cut goes back to the darker recesses of the novel, re-inserts the original bleaker ending and makes it a far better, far meatier venture. It changes the film so much, and it improves it so much, that the movie  literally alters shape and mood in front of you, changes the storyline and throws a new light on most of the characters. A final cut to be applauded, indeed.

In short, it is now an intelligent deeply structured movie. And, by the way, I liked it so much I read the original Dick story it was based on, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep, and found the actual book far inferior to what I saw on the screen.

So, save this movie for the permanent must-see archives. To answer my headline: Yes, it is the finest sci-fi film ever.





3 thoughts on “Screengrab: Is This the Finest SF Movie Ever? (Answer: yes…)

  1. Thinking of the film reminds me of what a client here in Japan said to me once.
    He commented that the Blade Runner
    ‘Tears in Rain’ speech neatly summed up what he felt about
    the experiences he’d had here in Japan!

  2. Fully agree that this is a Sci-Fi classic, Richard. But was Deckard actually a replicant or not? What did that unicorn really mean? Answers pelase on the back of an e-postcard…

  3. I suspect that Ridley Scott , as a North Easterner, may have got his inspiration for Blade Runner from a visit to Sunderland.

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