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 1.1.2.1

          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:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es7NPDSjw_M&t=4s

  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

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago