Monday, March 12, 2012

Blade Runner


Blade Runner (Five-Disc Complete Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]

Number 97 on the 2007 AFI List of the 100 Best American Films
Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other "mega–manufacturers" around the world. Their use on Earth is banned and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police special operatives known as "Blade Runners". The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.

Blade Runner initially polarized critics: some were displeased with the pacing, while others enjoyed its thematic complexity. The film performed poorly in North American theaters but has since become a cult film. The film has been hailed for its production design, depicting a "retrofitted" future, and remains a leading example of the neo-noir genre. It brought the work of Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood and several later films were based on his work. Ridley Scott regards Blade Runner as "probably" his most complete and personal film. In 1993 the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Seven versions of the film have been shown for various markets as a result of controversial changes made by film executives. A rushed Director's Cut was released in 1992 after a strong response to workprint screenings. This, in conjunction with its popularity as a video rental, made it one of the first films released on DVD, resulting in a basic disc with mediocre video and audio quality. In 2007 Warner Bros. released The Final Cut, a 25th anniversary digitally remastered version by Scott in selected theaters, and subsequently on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray Disc.

Technology
Spinner
A screenshot from the film shows a line of police vehicles with flashing lights flying high above a smog-covered cityscape. Below them several small pinpoints of light from aircraft-avoidance lights on the tops of towers are all that can be seen of the city
Screenshot of police spinners flying above Los Angeles

"Spinner" is the generic term for the fictional flying cars used in the film. A Spinner can be driven as a ground-based vehicle, and take off vertically, hover, and cruise using jet propulsion much like Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. They are used extensively by the police to patrol and survey the population, and it is clear that despite restrictions wealthy people can acquire spinner licenses.The vehicle was conceived and designed by Syd Mead who described the spinner as an "aerodyne" – a vehicle which directs air downward to create lift, though press kits for the film stated that the spinner was propelled by three engines: "conventional internal combustion, jet and anti-gravity". Mead's conceptual drawings were transformed into 25 working vehicles by automobile customizer Gene Winfield. A Spinner is on permanent exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington.

Voight-Kampff machine

A very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The VK is used primarily by Blade Runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements.
Description from the original 1982 Blade Runner press kit.

The Voight-Kampff machine (or device) is a fictional interrogation tool, originating in the book where it is spelled Voigt-Kampff. The Voight-Kampff is a polygraph-like machine used by Blade Runners to assist in the testing of an individual to determine if he or she is a replicant. It measures bodily functions such as respiration, "blush response", heart rate, and eye movement in response to emotionally provocative questions. In the film two replicants take the test, Leon and Rachael, and Deckard tells Tyrell that it usually takes 20 to 30 cross-referenced questions to distinguish a replicant; in contrast with the book, where it is stated it only takes "six or seven" questions to make a determination. In the film it takes more than one hundred questions to determine if Rachael is a replicant.

Harrison Ford ... Rick Deckard
Rutger Hauer ... Roy Batty
Sean Young ... Rachael
Edward James Olmos ... Gaff
M. Emmet Walsh ... Bryant
Daryl Hannah ... Pris
William Sanderson ... J.F. Sebastian
Brion James ... Leon Kowalski
Joe Turkel ... Dr. Eldon Tyrell
Joanna Cassidy ... Zhora
James Hong ... Hannibal Chew
Morgan Paull ... Holden
Kevin Thompson ... Bear
John Edward Allen ... Kaiser
Hy Pyke ... Taffey Lewis
Kimiko Hiroshige ... Cambodian Lady
Bob Okazaki ... Howie Lee (as Robert Okazaki)
Carolyn DeMirjian ... Saleslady

7 comments:

Geojour said...

Easily - without a question - one of the greatest films ever. And that isn't hyperbole...

Can't wait to see the Blu-Ray

My 2 Pesos said...

D:
I want to buy it!

The Angry Lurker said...

Bought the five disc set on DVD for the brother a while back but I still like the voice over version.....

Major.Mack said...

excellent blu-ray. should have been in 7.1 dts but the 5.1 HD audio is still much better than the audio in the dvd

JDC said...

Late to the party and only just recently seen this movie.

Alucard0691 said...

Oh man, I need to see this one!

nursemyra said...

the first film I ever watched two days in a row. In fact i think it's the only film I've ever watched two days in a row.