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written by Phillip K. Dick, and directed by Ridley Scott. this movie quickly became a cult classic,
with a large follwing of loyal fans, but as with all cult classics it has also had many critics, and
most of these critics have a very similar Critisism of the film. they dismiss it as being a good-loooking
film built on the flimsiest of narratives, a triumph of production design over substance. this statement
allthough very critical and bold, is not completely without substance, with many plot twists and changes in dirrection, the themes are often hard to follow, as is the character dialogue and the general flow of the plot. which can frustrate many people and therefore result in such bad critisism. when discussing this statement, you must look at a number of majour scenes in the film itself, and analyse both the narrative content and the production design, and make close reference to both. u also, must look at how the
narrative, production design, and
The first scene of majour importance to both the narative and the production design, is the scene in which the viewer is first introduced to Racheal. Racheal is introduced into the narrative as tyrells secretary, and also a new form of replicant which is almost as human as humans are. but she later becomes deckards love interest, which is quite an ironic juxtaposition due to the fact that it is deckards job as a blade runner to kill replicants. but the dialogue is complicated, and assumes to much of the viewer, in the sense, that it assumed that the viewer knows more about the new world than is actully told. The visuals in this scene a quite amazing, and capture the eye of the viewer easily. there is a shot from the far end of the room, looking out of the floor to celling retractable window at the sunset, of an almost acient looking landscape, with pyramids and other ancient type buildings. the room itself has a destinct mediteranian feeling to it, and is in starck contrast to the arcietectual feel of the film so far. which has mostly been of grey drab buildings and dark uninviting streets. this is used to show the extreme difference in wealth between tyrell, and the rest of the world. this scene is full of quality narrative, but this narrative is often hard to decipher and the knowledge that is expected of the viewer is far to much, and hard to pick up.
these two detract enough from a first time viewing of the film, and make the narative to hard for and average viewer to pick up. but the visuals of the scene are outstanding, it is a beautiful back drop and a visually stunning scene, which also distracts the view from the character dialogue, and makes it hard to pick up the subtle plot details in the scene. overall this scene is geared towards the production design side of the film, and needs to spend more time on the narative side
Another scene of majour signifgance is the scene in which Deckard dreams about the unicorn. in this scene deckard falls asleep while playing his piano, and has a dream of a unicorn running free through a forrest. looking at this scene as a part of the narative, it is not completely clear what the director wants the viewer to take away from this scene at first. The unicorn is a mythical beast which can have many different meanings. in mythology the unicorn is the one beast that can never be caught, it can also represent freedom and majesty, this makes this scene quite confusing in the sense of the narative. it could mean that deckard is chasing an uncatchable quarry, frank batty, or it could mean that he is seeing in the repliacnts a freedom and majesty that he himself is longing. the purpose of this scene does become apparent at the end of this film when he finds a unicorn origami, made by gaff, one of the police detectivesthis implys that deckard himself is a replicant. The production design of the unicorn scene is very stunning, as with many of the scenes in the movie it is visually mind blowing, but as with all scenes we must ask, is this scene more concerned with the visual aspect of the film, or does it give adequate attention to the narative side. the first shot of this scene is a panning shot through deckards appartment, which is cramped and dark, and cluttered with lots of "junk" and old photo's, but this "junk" captures the eye of the viewer and gives them an insight into the life of deckard. then part in which you get to the see the unicorn running through the forrest is also quiet aesthetically pleasing, but is also quite dark with the trees being spaced out quite a way, and no significant ground cover, and the whle scene is covered in a yellow fog. it then cuts back to deckard waking up, and looking like he has just solved a problem. as a part in the narative, it is quite confusing to a first time viewer. at this point in the film, the unicorn has no relevance what do ever, and can throw the viewer. even at the end of the film it is easy to miss what is implied, that is deckard being a replicant himself. but on the flip side this scene also adds depth to the character of deckard, with many photo's and trinkets making his life seam more real to the viewer. The unicorn can also be viewed as a representation of frank batty, and the difficulty deckard is having in catching him. but overall on a first viewing this scene appears to be more concerned with the visual aesthetics of the film and is quite confusing to the viewer.
when analysing the narative one must also analyse the delivery of the themes, and this movie has many themes running through it the main one being a question of humanity and what it really means to be human. To potray this idea to the viewer Scott uses a few techniques in the way that he presents the characters. he often potrays the replicants as being more human than the humans are or to have them show more human emotion than the human characters. Scott esspecially use's the relationship between racheal and deckard to demonstrate this. deckard is older, lives in a dank and dark apartment, and leads a less than fullfilling lifestyle where-as Racheal is young, smart, sophisticated and lives in the tyrell complex. she is what one would perceive
as a good example of a human being, even though she is not a human, she is a replicant. but this theme can become confusing when deckard starts to exhibhit more humanity as his character develops the themes can also become confusing with the over powering visuals. for example the oragami which gaff leaves where ever he goes, can become confusing, and often times has no meaning, and leaves the viewer woundering if they have missed something. also the dream scene is at first very confusing, because after the dream he appears to have had an epiphany and tracks down and kills one of the replicants. which is quite confusing as far as the plot is concerned. but it is an effective statement about the question of what it is to be human. he shoots Zhora in the back, in cold blood, when absolutely everything about her is human, except for the fact that she is a replicant. overall the theme's are delivered quite effectively even though the dialogue in the film is often quite difficult to understand
Blade runner is an interesting film to analyse, it has many hidden nuonces and meanings. Although at times it can be confusing and unclear as to what it is trying to portray it is quite a good film, and unlike many movies from that era the visuals are still stunning today. The statement that "Blade Runner id s good-looking film built on the flimsiest of narratives, a triumph of production design over substance" is not entirely true, although it can be said that the dialogue and character interaction is difficult and has obviously not been thought out with the general audience in mind. it is true however to say that it is a triumph of production design, a lot of thought has gone into the structure and planning of the scenes, with well thought out set designs and costumes. i believe that this statement is perhaps a bit harsh, but not completely without merrit, with excellent visuals and when it is deciphered a good storyline aswell, this movie is worth watching.