55. Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)
I took a class one summer called “Film and the Bible”. It was a pretty interesting course even if we watched a lot of garbage. I mean “S1mone“, really? Come on. It was mainly cool because the prof took the approach that the Bible was more a construct of men’s desires and values rather than being divinely inspired. This notion that the Bible was authored, constructed, and compiled by men and not God opens up a lot of room for discussion.
One of the concepts that particularly struck was the idea of primacy, as in the way we perceive the books and chapters of the Bible strongly influenced by where they were placed. As an example take the book of Genesis which is the first book of the Bible, and depicts the creation story among many other things. If that book were placed elsewhere in the Bible rather than the beginning, its renown would be considerably less. Fewer people would know what was in it, or bother reading it. In essence primacy in this context is the idea that we place heightened value on that which comes first.
Now to tie the idea of primacy to “Blade Runner“. My older brother is very fond of this film. He’s a big Rutger Hauer fan, and he’s a devotee of Philip K. Dick, upon whose story this film is based. So naturally he tried to get me to watch this film. But there was a catch: he wanted me to see the theatrical version with the voiceover. This was problematic because that version wasn’t easily available after Ridley Scott came out with his so called Director’s Cut, which removed the voiceover. This version supplanted the original release, and made it difficult to find for rent. I don’t remember how my brother came across the theatrical version on VHS, I think he found it the previously viewed bin at Roger’s Video.
I don’t really remember why my brother liked the voiceover version so much, I just know he insisted it was better, so I went along with him. I would later learn that my brother is the only person in the world who prefers the voiceovers.
Anyway I watched it with him, and while it wasn’t revelatory, I did enjoy it. It’s a good looking film, with an interesting story, and fine performances. Plus Daryl Hannah was pretty ballin’ back in the day. That eye makeup is tight.
I have since seen the director’s cut, I am pretty sure it was in the fabled intro to film class of 2002. It was perfectly ok, but somehow it wasn’t as good as the voiceover version. I don’t know if I could really explain why it wasn’t as good, and even now having seen the film again, I am still certain I like the voiceover version better.
My theory is that the reason I like that version is because it was the one I saw first. It’s that simple. I suppose it could be a bit of a nostalgia thing in that I used to watch a lot of movies with my brother, and because he now lives in a different city, I can’t do that with him. But I think the ultimate reason I like the voiceover version best is a matter of primacy. It was the version I saw first, and thus it is the version I value most.
On filmaffinity.com I gave the film 8/10. I would like the revisit this film, with my discovery of how awesome film-noir is in the past year.