I was twelve when I first watched Blade Runner, unfortunately, on Betamax. We’d a big, boxy TV, the kind without a remote where you had to punch the channels actually on the side of the screen, and you had to do it really hard. It was also a TV that held no cable (never mind local access) at the time due to my parents’ general aversion to television and just their balking at the very idea of having to figure out how to get a network in Waldmohr, Germany.
So…we watched a lot of movies.
I remember being both captivated and horrified by the film. It was my first introduction to a dystopian cityscape, a place where it rained in darkness at all hours and where the neon signs and electronic billboards took over the sky. Maybe it was the flying police cars — the Spinners, the Art Deco architectural design, the ’40’s noir and punk fashions, the bursts of extreme violence between man and android that kept my interest. Maybe it was the Vangelis soundtrack, so evocative and tragic. Maybe it was the moments of existential quandary in the story. I’d seen Ridley Scott’s Alien before it, and I’d nightmares off and on for weeks. Scott’s version of Phillip K. Dick’s story gave me nightmares as well, but they were beautiful in their horror.
I saw the re-released director’s cut in 1992 when it came to theaters, the one that had included Rick Deckard’s (Harrison Ford) dream and had left out his voice over narration. I was alone at a tiny movie theater on Bond Street in London, having skipped a directing class (the professor was a sour-faced sow who wouldn’t have known good filmmaking if it had smacked her upside the head). I’d asked my roommates if any of them had wanted to join me, but all of them looked at me with empty expressions. One of them asked, “What’s a Blade Runner?” And that had been it for me.
Still, I never got it in full sensory mode. The screen had still been too small, the surround sound seemed too muffled. I promised myself that if it ever returned someway, I’d see it as it was meant to be seen.
At last, today, WB released the official trailer for the long-awaited sequel, Blade Runner 2049. It’s a movie I’d been patiently waiting for for decades, much like Mad Max. Unlike Fury Road though, it doesn’t have its original director at the helm. Instead, Scott is serving as executive producer, and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners) is in the director’s seat, and I couldn’t be more impressed with that particular choice. Hampton Fancher is back as one of the screenwriters, so the continuation of the story, complete with a new Blade Runner (Ryan Gosling) as well as the original one (Ford), should, hopefully, be apt.
Anyway, here it is, mysterious, beautiful, and just as effectively creepy:
(By the way, doesn’t the image kind of sort of remind you of this one…?)