Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #672 - Blade Runner 2049 is coming in October
The day before what would have been your 81st birthday, 10-06-17, the sequel to my favorite film debuts.
Blade Runner: this is a film that has stuck with me the most; it has clung to my bones, and it has stuffed in between the neurons in my brain with its gooey, rich filling. I have listened to the music for this film more than any other film or other music. This is the film I have seen most often, own the most copies of, and have thought about the most. This is the movie whose visuals and sensibilities have influenced me the most, the movie for which I have pondered more articles, designs, storyboards and concepts than any other. This is the film I own more than one script for and have poured over the most. I read the novel, taught the novel, and taught comparisons between the novel and the movie.
And now, another movie.
Blade Runner 2049 debuts on October 6th 2017.
A new preview has been released (see below).
The preview should inspire fans of the genre to want to see it, but long time fans of Blade Runnerwill be tweaked by one intriguing exchange of dialogue. Officer K (Ryan Gosling) finds Deckard (Harrison Ford) in an old and abandoned hotel much like the one (the same one?) featured in the film Blade Runner (The Bradbury?). Deckard asks "What do you want?" and Officer K says "I want to ask you some questions."
And fans will squeal with glee.
Questions probably (maybe, might) mean the Voight Kampff machine, the classic test that Blade Runners give to humanoids to test to see if the individual is an actual human or a replicant.
I wrote about this movie quite a bit here:
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #389 - Bladerunner - in ridiculous detail
and I shared the previous trailer here:
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #653 - THOR: RAGNAROK (and some other cool trailers)
The big deal with that reveal that Officer K has questions pertains to a long-standing debate in fandom: is Deckard a replicant?
Apparently the debate exists beyond fandom: the film creators -- writers, producers, director -- argue this point as well.
I have always believed that the film version of the Deckard character is NOT a replicant because of the explanation of how replicants "develop emotional responses" and have imprinted memories and yet often lack empathy. Deckard seems to be fully human with none of the "tells" of replicants, and yet that's the very heart of the Philip K. Dick mind fuck because maybe there's no way to verify this science for certain and true; there is no apodictic hardline to our identities.
In the book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Deckard proves to be human, though there is quite a bit of reality-bending trickery (a sham police station run entirely by androids and headed by a ruthless human). Unlike many humans (most? all?) Deckard has empathy for androids, which is the strongest argument for his humanity. He also spends most of Blade Runner scared shitless and running for his life, which are very human qualities and actions.
My belief is that he is human, but I have a gut feeling that the movie will reveal that Deckard is a replicant, maybe a special one-off model, or at least the preview seems to hint at this outcome, which will also explore the nature of Officer K's character.
Depending on the explanations and how it all plays out, I may be disappointed, but such cautionary feelings do not tamper with my excitement for this film and its arresting visuals.
Really, these days, a film is not going to be competitive without arresting visuals, but even more than many others, the artful atmosphere and aesthetics of this film are incredible.
So here's the preview.
Also, I have many bits of the original Blade Runner soundtrack plus other offshoots of music, some slowed down for greater ambient effect, which is a delightful and amazing thing.
Also, yet again, my original post from my T-shirts blog, reprinted here for the second time because I had forgotten I had already shared and now don't feel like removing it.
T-shirt #61: Replicant: "You Blade Runner!"
So, when this "Replicant" shirt came through the Previews catalogue out of which I order my comic books and assorted merchandise through the great and awesome Fanfare Sports and Entertainment, I ordered one. A "replicant" is the movie name for the beings called androids in the book on which the film is based (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick). The replicants/androids serve only on off-world colonies as slave labor. Many escape to earth to find their creator and a solution to the fixed four-year lifespan. "Blade Runner" is also a term used (again only in the movie) to refer to the bounty hunters that track these androids who have illegally emigrated to earth. I will not repeat the entire plot here. If you don't know the plot, you should watch the movie and read the recaps posted online.
There were many great films from my formative years that would appear on my list of favorites. Over the years, I have seen and loved so many films that I resist making just one list of favorites. I would prefer to make several lists, one for each genre, as I think it's unfair to match great comedies like The Big Chill and When Harry Met Sally against serious dramas, such as Citizen Kane or There Will Be Blood. Certainly, a fantastic film for its time period, like Imitation of Life, must be measured on a different scale from a science fiction genre piece, like The Abyss, or a superhero genre piece, like The Dark Knight. All these films should be rated using separate lists.
But if I was forced to make one list of my top ten favorite films, I would have to put Blade Runner on that list. In fact, I am not sure I can think of a single film that has had a greater effect on me as a writer, a story teller, than Blade Runner. When I calculate the impact of the music on my emotional state and individuality through the years, how many times I have listened to that music, let alone the number of times I have watched the film, read the script, studied the images, read the original book, thought about all of it, Blade Runner has had a greater impact on me as a creative person than any other media product.
I cannot claim that it is the film I have watched more times than any other film. One reason is that I have spent much of my life using films as a teaching tool, especially in media studies classes. Thus, I have seen Fatal Attraction and Pretty Woman as many times as Blade Runner (unfortunately). Also, as a teenager, I binged on visits to the theatre to see Star Wars, which I saw 36 times in its original run and at least a dozen times (and probably more) since then. When Blade Runner came out in 1982, I was in college and very preoccupied, and yet I still managed to see it a half dozen times in the theatre. You have to remember that 1982 was still prior to the truly accessible age of video tape rental or purchase, and so paying admission to see a film in the theatre was really the only way to see it until about 1983-84 when videos began to be sold or rented in small shops, and even so, I didn't own my own VCR until 1986.
I did have the pleasure of teaching Blade Runner along with the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in several classes in the early years of my teaching career. But eventually, I moved on to films and books that lent themselves better to the course objectives and less to my own personal oeuvre. But I had a lot of fun with the subject matter as a teacher. Back when Blade Runner first came out, I studied all related materials. There were books of art work, a partial book, and both books and magazines devoted to describing and explaining the special effects. I also bought a copy of the shooting script from a script service in California, which was how one obtained unpublished scripts before the Internet existed. I studied all these materials with a great passion.
The film's aesthetics carried greater weight and impact (at least one me) than the film's story and certainly more so than the performances in it. The film combined the talents of concept artist Syd Mead with special effects by Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich. Director Ridley Scott also added many elements both to the visualizations and the film's story and dialogue elements that enhanced the film's overall tone and atmosphere. Scott has referred to the film's landscape as "Hong Kong on a very bad day" and has cited source material, such as Edward Hopper's Nighthawks painting, art work by Europeans such as Moebius from the magazine Métal Hurlant ( known in America as "Heavy Metal"), as well as Fritz Lang's Metropolis film ("Blade Runner," Wikipedia, 2013).
According to the Wikipedia page for Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick ultimately approved of the David People's rewrite of the original script by David Fancher and the 20 minutes of SFX he was shown prior to his death. Dick said,
"I saw a segment of Douglas Trumbull's special effects for Blade Runner on the KNBC-TV news. I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly." Dick also approved of the film's script, and of it, he said, "After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel." The motion picture was dedicated to Dick ("Blade Runner," Wikipedia, 2013).There are some great resources on the web dedicated to Blade Runner. One such resource was the 2019: Offworld site, which has gone into retirement (pun intended by the site's author; BR fans will get it). But I made the link work because there's still a page that archives a lot of Blade Runner content. From that site: "For people looking for extensive, organized Blade Runner sites, I recommend BRmovie.com and BladeZone. They are two of my favorites and are full of information and links. (And I always recommend checking out Wikipedia for entries, including theirs on Blade Runner.)"
Blade Runner continues to have impact on me today, after over 30 years. I could write volumes about my thoughts on this film. But I want to keep this blog post relatively short. But before closing, a couple more things.
Recently, I read a great book called Ready Player One, which had references to Blade Runner among many other references to favorite '80s media. This was a GREAT book, and if you love 1980s geeky media as much as I do (and even if you do not), you must read it. (Basically, everyone should read it.)
The music. I am crazy for the Blade Runner music. Though there are cuts I like more than others, and I listen to those in sorted, special playlists rather than the soundtrack and its arrangement. As a huge fan of the music, I had a difficult time waiting for it. The actual Vangelis music from the film was not released for over a decade. The first music released was a weird interpretation of the score by the New American Orchestra. Yes, I owned it. Yes, I listened to it MANY TIMES. The first authentic Vangelis release of the music came out in 1994 with a trilogy of CDs with the comprehensive music and soundtrack in 2007. I have listened repeatedly and religiously ever since.
Here's my favorite cut, the "Love Theme"
- chris tower - 1305.21 - 16:13
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 674 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.09 - 10:10
NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.