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Blade Runner vs. Star Wars

As ICv2.com reports, Ridley Scott is taking another run at Blade Runner. Blade Runner was the first R-rated movie I ever saw, and it branded my imagination with its plot, characters, and imagery. I can’t wait to see the new cut and eventually pick up the DVD set with all four cuts of the film.

This ranks right up there with the news that George Lucas plans to release the original editions of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD this fall. My inner kid is bouncing off the inside of my skull.

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  1. Blade Runner has been one of my all time favorite films. I can’t wait to see the new set released, especially all the versions of it. I remember we took an FGU game calle “Psi World” which was pretty thinnly developed and made it into a Blade Runneresque setting, with runners hunting rogue Psi’s in the dark allies of Detroit. I still think BR deserves it’s own setting and/or game.

  2. Blade Runner has been one of my all time favorite films. I can’t wait to see the new set released, especially all the versions of it. I remember we took an FGU game calle “Psi World” which was pretty thinnly developed and made it into a Blade Runneresque setting, with runners hunting rogue Psi’s in the dark allies of Detroit. I still think BR deserves it’s own setting and/or game.

  3. I am very happy that the set will have all the cuts of the film. Ridley’s work on the different cuts is a clinic on how editing choices restructure and alter narrative meaning.

    Case in point the Director’s Cut vs. Theatrical Release debate. It doesn’t matter which you like more, okay it matters but I won’t say how, what really matters is how the different edits recast the story.

  4. I am very happy that the set will have all the cuts of the film. Ridley’s work on the different cuts is a clinic on how editing choices restructure and alter narrative meaning.

    Case in point the Director’s Cut vs. Theatrical Release debate. It doesn’t matter which you like more, okay it matters but I won’t say how, what really matters is how the different edits recast the story.

  5. The two cuts I’ve seen (American original and director’s cut) make for very different stories. I’m fond of the original and Ford’s voiceover, but I appreciate having Scott’s purer vision on hand too.

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    The two cuts I’ve seen (American original and director’s cut) make for very different stories. I’m fond of the original and Ford’s voiceover, but I appreciate having Scott’s purer vision on hand too.

  7. I too am fond of the Ford voiceover, and the narrative that the film’s edit constructs. I did like seeing Scott’s own vision, but I while I found elements of the questions it raised interesting I thought his cut eliminates the nobility of two of the chief characters.

    In the voice over version, Deckert is human and has risked himself to save a replicant who could “extinguish” at any moment. Deckert overcomes anti-replicantism (racism) and becomes more human, a nice touch considering the need (in the book) of humans to relearn empathy. The same heroic overcoming of prejudice exists in the Hauer character as well in this version. Hauer knowingly saves a human life in one of the most enobeling scenes in filmic history.

    The Scott version, in making Deckert a replicant, alters these moments. Yes asking “what if” Deckert is a replicant is an interesting question. One that distances the movie from the source more than it already was, but that isn’t a bad thing in a narrative or moral sense, just a thing. The problem I have with the Scott edit is that by making Deckert a replicant it makes the nobility of Hauer’s character a lie (a noble act as Hauer’s character doesn’t know the truth, but one betrayed by the narrative). It also makes it so Deckert isn’t making a sacrifice at the end. In fact it shifts the sacrifice to the Edward Olmos character. You still have a character overcoming “racism,” but in this case only in a live and let live and not in a “I will sacrifice too” manner.

    Sorry to ramble. Both are good. Both ask interesting questions, but I prefer the theatrical.

  8. I too am fond of the Ford voiceover, and the narrative that the film’s edit constructs. I did like seeing Scott’s own vision, but I while I found elements of the questions it raised interesting I thought his cut eliminates the nobility of two of the chief characters.

    In the voice over version, Deckert is human and has risked himself to save a replicant who could “extinguish” at any moment. Deckert overcomes anti-replicantism (racism) and becomes more human, a nice touch considering the need (in the book) of humans to relearn empathy. The same heroic overcoming of prejudice exists in the Hauer character as well in this version. Hauer knowingly saves a human life in one of the most enobeling scenes in filmic history.

    The Scott version, in making Deckert a replicant, alters these moments. Yes asking “what if” Deckert is a replicant is an interesting question. One that distances the movie from the source more than it already was, but that isn’t a bad thing in a narrative or moral sense, just a thing. The problem I have with the Scott edit is that by making Deckert a replicant it makes the nobility of Hauer’s character a lie (a noble act as Hauer’s character doesn’t know the truth, but one betrayed by the narrative). It also makes it so Deckert isn’t making a sacrifice at the end. In fact it shifts the sacrifice to the Edward Olmos character. You still have a character overcoming “racism,” but in this case only in a live and let live and not in a “I will sacrifice too” manner.

    Sorry to ramble. Both are good. Both ask interesting questions, but I prefer the theatrical.

  9. All great points, Christian. I think the editor’s cut is darker and bleaker, as you say. My wife could barely sit through it. Me, I like them both.

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    All great points, Christian. I think the editor’s cut is darker and bleaker, as you say. My wife could barely sit through it. Me, I like them both.

  11. The only thing we lack now is a new cut of Legend with David Bennent’s voice track restored. Alas, it will never happen … unless Scott somehow persuades him to loop it.

    I’m in the director’s cut camp on Blade Runner, although I have a fondness for the theatrical cut. I can understand how many, including Ford, consider the theatrical more heroic, but if you accept that replicants are also human in spirit or morality, it really doesn’t matter whether he’s pure strain human. In fact, it strikes me as more poignant if he isn’t.

  12. The only thing we lack now is a new cut of Legend with David Bennent’s voice track restored. Alas, it will never happen … unless Scott somehow persuades him to loop it.

    I’m in the director’s cut camp on Blade Runner, although I have a fondness for the theatrical cut. I can understand how many, including Ford, consider the theatrical more heroic, but if you accept that replicants are also human in spirit or morality, it really doesn’t matter whether he’s pure strain human. In fact, it strikes me as more poignant if he isn’t.

  13. For Legend, Dave, you never know. I hardly imagined Scott had another cut of Blade Runner in him.

    Your point about Blade Runner is dead on. All the versions of the movie center on the question of the nature of humanity and whether something that fakes it well enough can be considered ontologically to be the thing it simulates. (The film AI tackled this same question.) What side of that issue you wish to take probably colors your perceptions of the various versions of the film as much as anything.

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    For Legend, Dave, you never know. I hardly imagined Scott had another cut of Blade Runner in him.

    Your point about Blade Runner is dead on. All the versions of the movie center on the question of the nature of humanity and whether something that fakes it well enough can be considered ontologically to be the thing it simulates. (The film AI tackled this same question.) What side of that issue you wish to take probably colors your perceptions of the various versions of the film as much as anything.

  15. Ah, but I think the voice over edition presents the ontological argument. The director’s cut feeds on the prior knowledge, but fails to present such an argument itself.

    Case in point Pris and the scientist and Hauer’s character and Deckert. If Deckert is a replicant then the only emotion/empathy Hauer’s character feels is the survival of species. The same goes for Deckert. If on the other hand they are known different “entities” it is a greater sacrifice.

    To make artiface human is as old as Pygmalian (Ovid), even older, but I still find it less of a moral sacrifice if Deckert is a replicant. Someday I will have to look up my Philosophy paper on known versus unknown moral actions.

    The other question, whether replicants are human in spirit or morality, is the key question that Scott added to the equation (in all versions). Dick focused on how when it came to desire for survival the replicants were superior to humans (they still lacked morality), but the humans had also lost any sense of empathy or emotional control. In fact, my favorite scenes in the book focus on the religion of empathy “exercise routine.”

    As I believe though, whether Deckert is a pure strain human does matter when judging his moral actions. If he is sacrificing for a person of another species it is noble, if he is focusing on mere survival of the species then it is Hobbesian/biological imperative. From a deontological or a teleological presentation of morality (both of which I find satisfying) the ends and means must match for something to be moral. It is only in the “modern” perspective that ends has greater import than means.

  16. Ah, but I think the voice over edition presents the ontological argument. The director’s cut feeds on the prior knowledge, but fails to present such an argument itself.

    Case in point Pris and the scientist and Hauer’s character and Deckert. If Deckert is a replicant then the only emotion/empathy Hauer’s character feels is the survival of species. The same goes for Deckert. If on the other hand they are known different “entities” it is a greater sacrifice.

    To make artiface human is as old as Pygmalian (Ovid), even older, but I still find it less of a moral sacrifice if Deckert is a replicant. Someday I will have to look up my Philosophy paper on known versus unknown moral actions.

    The other question, whether replicants are human in spirit or morality, is the key question that Scott added to the equation (in all versions). Dick focused on how when it came to desire for survival the replicants were superior to humans (they still lacked morality), but the humans had also lost any sense of empathy or emotional control. In fact, my favorite scenes in the book focus on the religion of empathy “exercise routine.”

    As I believe though, whether Deckert is a pure strain human does matter when judging his moral actions. If he is sacrificing for a person of another species it is noble, if he is focusing on mere survival of the species then it is Hobbesian/biological imperative. From a deontological or a teleological presentation of morality (both of which I find satisfying) the ends and means must match for something to be moral. It is only in the “modern” perspective that ends has greater import than means.

  17. I think we just upped the vocabulary of this site a few bars. 🙂

    I don’t think that working for survival of your own species can’t be noble. True, knowingly sacrificing for another species may be more noble in this case, but it seems to me it’s a matter of degree rather than extremes.

    However, Christian, you’ve made an excellent argument for why the voiceover version speaks more strongly to you. Honestly, it does to me too, but I still appreciate how much darker the director’s cut is—for the exact same reasons you mention.

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    I think we just upped the vocabulary of this site a few bars. 🙂

    I don’t think that working for survival of your own species can’t be noble. True, knowingly sacrificing for another species may be more noble in this case, but it seems to me it’s a matter of degree rather than extremes.

    However, Christian, you’ve made an excellent argument for why the voiceover version speaks more strongly to you. Honestly, it does to me too, but I still appreciate how much darker the director’s cut is—for the exact same reasons you mention.

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