web analytics

Blade Runner

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 5th, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: film, Media, video - Tags:

I have seen things you wouldn’t believe.

The original Blade Runner movie really meant something. Filmed in 1982 but set in 2019, it held a conservative and melancholy core now recognisable to those of the hard right and hard left alike: the civil order is sliding down the pyramidic sides of all-powerful corporations, the law and its enforcement is emptied of all but commercial imperatives, and life is a cruel and joyless struggle at ground level. The metropolis has chopped whole languages into crude Esperanto. The setting showed our entire realm never seeing daylight inside ceaseless misty rain.

It was a production that changed whole subsequent classes of film. It was so studied in liberal arts courses in the 1980s and 1990s that the name was shorthand for high modernist decline. Our entire signifying order held in one rotting, clotted, nostalgic word: decay.

We can look back now and revel in its pessimism. Older orders are indeed declining, but at no great speed. Languages are altering in dominance, but calmly. Commodified organ exchanges and android robotics exist, but we’re a ways from cheaply manufacturing spare parts or spare slaves. In the new version it is conspiracy, rather than weakened juridical order, which undercuts and trips any remnant government. It didn’t work as a profound political critique of the world, and it doesn’t now.

There are some important shifts between the two films. Masculinity is shifting, from where risk and physical damage can be redeemed through valour to redemption within darkly constrained choices, to one where secret knowledges are passed from old man to young, women run the police force, and romance is less brutalized.

But let’s not mistake the formal power of either of them. Both the first and new versions are two of the best-ever artworks in cinematic history.

You should see the first one first, since the new one expands on all points from there and its visual and thematic homage is as dependent as it is deep.

The earth itself has turned, as we are brought away from the city limits to great deserts scattered with peripheral human detritus. The cracked leather jackets of film noir detectives turn into philosophers warning us of where we are headed, and there’s not much place for ordinary human kindness to be seen.

You will want more from it because it implores your imagination to conceive of an entire moral universe and to recognize ourselves and our foibles without mockery. It takes us seriously and grandly as a species. Both films tell us that the best of what we were is gone, there is little common will or capacity left to redeem what is left, and perhaps all there is left is to allow us to live longer as an entire species by expanding who is defined as human.

Revel in them all. See it at the biggest, widest screen you can.

This is mastery of the form like David Lean did them, and has more formal beauty, audacity, and wit than Christopher Nolan’s best. Villeaneuve’s realm orchestrates by kaleidascope thousands of our cultural tropes and then stabilises them in scene after scene inside a moral core: to test the deep value of defining what are human lives, and why in this universe we alone have such complex imaginative consciousness of which we are justifiably proud, so jealous, so destructive.

17 comments on “Blade Runner ”

  1. tc 1

    Yes and plenty of scifi grounds itself in what people can relate to which gives the yarn a credibility in peoples minds that enhances the uptake.

    This allows the visuals to be artful and groundbreaking IMO as Luc Bessan appears to have done again in Valerian.

    Another of Phillip K dick’s dystopian stories is ‘The Man in the High Castle’, well worth a look about a potential future if Japan/Germany won WW2.

    • Cinny 1.1

      TC, Yes, yes to Man in the High Castle, loved that series, hoping for a 3rd season.

      Good post Ad thanks for the review am more than a little bit excited about seeing the new Blade Runner film.

      • tc 1.1.1

        Amazon approved a 3rd season a preview is already out

      • Exkiwiforces 1.1.2

        That sounds like an interesting mini series and I must look up the author on fishpond for my wet season reading material.

        • Exkiwiforces

          Just brought the book The Man in the High Castle along with SS Great Britain.

  2. Gabby 3

    So what’s it about?

  3. Looking forward to the movie.

    Your last sentence was a bit overboard – mate do you realise how utterly big the universe is? Humans aren’t the peak.

    Think on this. Dinos ruled for 200million years. Humans for just over 200 thousand. How far have humans evolved over that time? You seriously believe dinos didn’t evolve? Their brains stayed walnut sized? Sadly too many people are human centric. ☺

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Too true. We should be humble rather than filled with narcissistic ego.
      The centuries run on and we go round in circles. In the 1960s the wise men of NZ government talked about professionals in universities positing things they didn’t want to hear as being [useless theorists] in ‘ivory towers’. That is wilful ignorance and we are good at that. We should be more aware of the Johari window and less
      convinced we know it all.

  4. rhinocrates 5

    Harrison Ford, contra his reputation as a grumpy old man, is hilarious:


  5. Sparky 6

    Will be interesting to see if it lives up to the standard set by the original. Thx for the review.

    • tc 6.1

      The making of blade runner original doco is well worth a look.

      Ridley Scott had huge pressure on him with an impatient studio over time and money. He came through to deliver a masterpiece.

  6. Et Tu Brute ? 7

    Any chance of a url ?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    3 days ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    5 days ago
  • Happy new year, Aotearoa!
    Welcome to 2022! As we look ahead to another year of progress on the big issues facing our country, we’re taking a look back at the year that’s been and everything the team of five million achieved together in 2021. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Our Pacific community shares in New Year’s Honours
    Prominent Pacific health champion Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours list. Professor Sopoaga has been a champion for Pacific Health at Otago University, said Minister of Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “She’s overseen changes in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Congratulations to Māori New Year’s Honours stars of 2022
    Kei aku rangatira kua whakawhiwhia koutou ki ngā tohu ā tō tātou kuīni hei whakanui nui i ā koutou mahi rangatira i hāpai i te manotini puta noa i a Aotearoa. Ko koutou ngā tino tauira. I whanake i ngā hapori, iwi, hapū, whānau me te motu anō hoki. Mauri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Top honours for women in sport
    Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson has congratulated Olympian Lisa Carrington and Paralympian Sophie Pascoe on being made Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) in the 2022 New Year Honours. Lisa Carrington is New Zealand’s most successful Olympian, having won five gold and one bronze ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates 2022 New Year Honours recipients
    The New Zealanders recognised in the New Year 2022 Honours List represent the determination and service exemplified by so many New Zealanders during what has been another tough year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “I never fail to be amazed by the outstanding things ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Good news for communities and environment with progress at two polluted sites
    Two sites in Northland and Manawatū are now safer for the community and the environment after projects to clean up and remediate the effects of pollution. Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the safe removal of hazardous waste from the Sustainable Solvents Ltd site in Ruakaka, Northland. “This project involved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago