Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
USA/Hong Kong, 1982. The Ladd Company, Shaw Brothers, Warner Bros., Blade Runner Partnership. Screenplay by Hampton Fancher, David Webb Peoples, based on the novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth. Produced by Michael Deeley. Music by Vangelis. Production Design by Lawrence G. Paull. Costume Design by Michael Kaplan, Charles Knode. Film Editing by Marsha Nakashima, Terry Rawlings.
Here it is, the Citizen Kane of science-fiction films (I think of 2001: A Space Odyssey as the Gone With The Wind of science-fiction films). Harrison Ford is appropriately dour as a private detective in Ridley Scott’s futuristic film noir, a determined professional who scours the restless, grimy city in search of replicants (android robots) and terminates their illegal, artificial lives.
Now about to enjoy retirement, Ford is pulled back into the field when a group of androids escape their off-world colony and come to Earth in search of their maker. His job is to destroy them before they wreak havoc on the planet, but saying it is one thing and doing it another (the scene where he runs Joanna Cassidy down is one of the best chases in film history).
The film has a long, convoluted history with audiences, its original release hampered by a studio-enforced happy ending and terribly awkward narration by Ford over the soundtrack. In more recent years, Scott went back and re-edited the film his way, providing for an experience that, while not particularly exciting, is almost religiously smooth in its dark beauty.
Watching it is aesthetically pleasing as well as intellectually stimulating; in two brief hours you enjoy some nifty visual effects and stunning production design, plus contemplate what exactly it is that makes us human and what drives us to love our lives so much.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Visual Effects; Best Art Direction
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Original Score