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

  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian fires.  The New Zealand Defence Force ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better access to books for blind and low vision citizens on World Braille Day
    "Today is World Braille Day and I am delighted to announce that an international treaty giving blind and low vision New Zealanders access to books and literary works comes into force today,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “Today the Marrakesh Treaty and the associated amendments to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to send further firefighter support to Australia
    The New Zealand Government is sending a further 22 firefighters to help fight the Australian fires. “The devastation caused by these fires is taking a substantial toll on our Australian neighbours and we will continue to do what we can to assist as they deal with this extremely dynamic, dangerous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Reducing the cost of education
    Twenty-two more schools have opted into the Government’s policy of providing $150 per child to schools who don’t ask parents for donations– bringing the total number of schools in the policy to 1,585. The Ministry of Education has accepted late opt ins past the November 14 deadline from schools that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Road deaths lower in 2019, but still more work to do
    “As we enter the new decade, my thoughts are with the families, friends and communities of the 353 people who lost their lives in road crashes last year. While the number of deaths is lower than in 2018 (377), this is still a staggering loss of life,” Duty Minister Iain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago