Blade Runner’s Roy Batty LickedinPop Series
It’s not an easy thing to meet your maker
I saw Blade Runner for the first time when it opened in 1982 at a theater in Westfield, NJ with my friend, Louanne. The movie was highly anticipated, at least in my neck of the woods and we waited on line for our showing. I remember as we waited, the earlier showing ended and those movie-goers had to pass by us. We noticed two other friends exiting with the crowd and shouted out to them, ‘How was it?’ Our friend shook his head in the negative and mouthed the words…. ‘It sucked!’
That’s right. He said Blade Runner sucked. Louanne and I looked at each other as our line began to move with questioning eyes. Sucked? He has to be fucking with us. We entered the cool belly of the theater and sat in our seats with incredibly dampened expectations.
I’ve never seen a turtle…
Two hours later when we left the theater, I have to be honest I had very mixed feelings. Visually it was one of the most stunning movies I had ever seen. BUT… I wasn’t sure how much I liked most of it. I did say as we walked to the car, ‘If it wasn’t for Rutger Hauer’s Batty (no offense, Harrison) and the final confrontation between him and Decker, the movie would have sucked!’
‘What was the deal with the narration?’ – It seemed stilted to me. ‘What was with all that rain!’ – It rains through the whole movie and then the dove flies up into a miraculously blue sky and then its pouring again. I found out much later that the dove wouldn’t fly out of Rutger’s hand because of the rain and they had to film it when it wasn’t raining.
Chew, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes!
The thing is, even with these ‘problems’, I kept thinking about the movie, so I saw it again…. and again… and again. Each time the nuances that Ridley Scott sealed into the movie would push forward revealing a deeply textured movie.
Once it came to TV, it was one of the movies that critics lamented about because it was edited (modified) to fit into the 4×3 ratio format of the standard television sets of the time. To truly appreciate the visual scope of Blade Runner you only watch it in the original Letterbox format. With the 16×9 TVs of today, you really can’t appreciate how great movies were butchered when they came to TV.
I burned through my Betamax copy (yes, I was a Beta guy). I have the original version AND the first Director’s Cut on Laser Disc (yes, LaserDisc). And then finally I bought the ultimate release… The HD DVD reissue of the 5 different versions of Blade Runner. Yes, I owned an HD DVD player. HD DVDs actually tanked two months after I bought the player and the Blade Runner disc.
I think this makes two things very clear. Maybe I shouldn’t buy new video technology anymore and I just might if it means getting another release of Blade Runner.
Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn’t let you into heaven for.
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. It 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”. Blade Runner is now regarded by many critics as one of the best science fiction films ever made.
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 which is the only one on which Scott had complete artistic freedom and was shown in select theaters and subsequently released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray Disc.
Home again, home again, jiggidy-jig! Gooood Evening, J.F!
All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of ‘Blade Runner’s Roy Batty’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!