Having looked at James Cameron's Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I thought it was time to watch another classic Ridley Scott film to go with my viewing of Alien. In order to keep with the science fiction theme, I chose the director's cut of Blade Runner.
This movie should not work. It is too slow, lacks explanations, and is full of evil and unlikable characters -yet it's an artistic masterpiece! Why? What's going on with this film?
Visually, it's stunning. The cityscape blends historic L.A. buildings with maze-like Mayan-mechanical and bits of the Tokyo redlight district into a unity that has influenced the look of scifi across the globe. These visuals subtly underline the basic concept of the movie: Theseus and the Minotaur, the rat in the maze.
Speaking of the story, it doesn't need all the info supplied by the theatrical cut as it's all there -if you watch carefully. Once you you figure out what's going on, the characters become much more empathetic and stock noir scenes are turned on their head. Decker becomes Theseus, Rachel becomes Ariadne, Tyrell is Minos, Batty is the half-human-half-machine Minotaur, and Edward James Olmos gets to descend from the sky like a god to help out his mortal favorite.
With it's tight fitting of form and function, it's no wonder that this movie casts such a long shadow. Look for references to it in odd places: Tyrell's owl and the Goblin King's owl in Labyrinth, Decker backwashing blood into his stemmed glass and President Snow doing the same in Catching Fire. Of course, the film's final triumph is having a sequel made thirty-five years after the original.