Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi classic Blade Runner is one of those motion pictures where its legacy and lore nearly outweigh the finished product itself. Notice I said nearly. This is an all-consuming piece of cinematic art, a film that blew my mind open as a kid, and has continued to haunt and fascinate me as an adult. Seeing Blade Runner projected in 70mm as a 12 year old really did change the way I viewed movies; I knew I had never seen anything like it before and that it was special. It was also one of the first letterboxed double-VHS sets that my family rented from Blockbuster and that just meant it was “better” than any old VHS tape that was laying around. I nervously anticipate Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up, as the imagery on display in the trailer looks eye-scorching (Roger Deakins is the 2049’s cinematographer), but I’d by lying if I said that I’m very wary of long-in-the-works sequels to classic films that are separated by decades.
There’s something both handmade and revolutionary about Scott’s original work, and that’s an aspect that can never be replicated. From the mind-blowing visuals that Scott and director of photography Jordan Cronenweth crafted in tandem with the trendsetting production design and art direction by Lawrence Paull and David L. Snyder respectively, to say nothing of the grand and operatic musical score by Vangelis, Blade Runner is an aesthetic masterpiece that feeds into a layered, deeply thoughtful, and engrossing narrative that gives weight to the flying cars and rain-soaked streets and neon-holograms and every other stylistic trick that Scott and his artisans had up their sleeves. It’s a phenomenal movie and an effort that easily ranks as one of Scott’s absolute best, and I’m normally not a “best” and “worst” type of person.
Review by Nick Clement