Happy Birthday, Blade Runner

Blade-Runner-movie-posterForty years ago today, Blade Runner was released in America- June 25th, 1982. Obvious things spring to mind; forty years is so long ago, it just makes me feel dismayed thinking that Blade Runner is forty years old. I suppose I should add the caveat that my own 40th Blade Runner anniversary is a few months away yet- thanks to the gradual roll-out of films back then (hey, they used expensive ancient-tech film prints in bulky reels in those ancient times) Blade Runner, barring press screenings and a fabled preview screening by Starburst magazine, didn’t make it to UK cinemas until September that year (I first watched it on September 12th, 1982 in the old ABC in town). But anyway, film anniversaries always fall on when they were first released in the US, for obvious reasons, so today it is.

I know what 4K disc I’ll be spinning up tonight, then…

Forty years, though. Ridley was 44 when Blade Runner was released- he’s 84 now, how old does he feel this morning? Mind, poor old Vangelis is gone, recently passed away. Still can’t get over that, every time I play his music it feels a little different, somehow; only the other night I had a relaxed hour or so and listened to his albums China and See You Later, the latter of course featuring Memories of Green, that was used on the Blade Runner soundtrack (always amazes me how that track, recorded a few years before, fits the film like a glove and set the tone for the whole score). Its inevitable of course as so many years pass that so many of the people who made Blade Runner -who would generally be middle-aged at the time anyway- would pass away, leaving behind a fragment of celluloid immortality as films do, over time.  So many of the actors have gone; Rutger Hauer, Brion James, Bob Okazaki, Kimiko Hiroshige, Hu Pyke, Morgan Paull,  while behind-the-camera staff like Jordan Cronenweth, Syd Mead,  Lawrence G. Paull, Terry Rawlings and Douglas Trumbull have gone. Anybody else getting depressed yet?

Well, that’s what forty years will do. Eventually Blade Runner will leave us all behind, like old classics do such as the original King Kong. Films are Forever. Well, as long as they are restored and digitised I guess. Makes me think of original author Philip K Dick’s description of kipple, which represented entropy in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: “No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

That’s all of us, eventually: Kipple. I need a drink. Where’s my Blade Runner-inspired whiskey glass? Happy birthday, Blade Runner.


5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Blade Runner

    1. You cannot imagine what the impact of that film was like back in 1982.There had been nothing else like it; the sophistication of its design, visuals, the Vangelis score. Mind, same is true of Star Wars back in 1977 (or 1978 here in the UK), that Star Destroyer passing overhead was just jaw-dropping, and that lovely Williams music… So few films today have that kind of impact. Maybe Avatar with its 3D was the last one, but it was a lousy movie other than the ‘wow’ of the 3D.

  1. I’m long overdue a rewatch of both this and its sequel — I think they were some of the first tiles I (re)bought after I went 4K, but I haven’t spun either of those discs yet.

    As for the passage of time… someone pointed out fairly recently that Star Wars is 45 years old, which to The Kids Of Today is roughly equivalent to how old King Kong was when Star Wars came out. Or that the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace (16 years) is less than between the end of the prequels and Obi-Wan! (People often seem to use Star Wars as a reference for these things…) Time is crazy like that. And all very relative, of course.

    1. I’m constantly amazed how many re-releases Blade Runner managed to get, even in the same format – several VHS releases, DVD releases (I bought two of the Directors Cut having been assured one was better than the other), Blu-ray releases (I lost count), and now the 4K format has had various steelbooks etc. Somebody, somewhere must have every release for their respective country but that’s not me – I love the film and its my favourite but my Common Sense Gene kicked in awhile ago (funny how so many collectors appear to be CSG deficient).

      This set doers look like its had some care given it but its only got the one cut of the film and is minus, far as I can tell, any special features or other cuts, which in the case of Blade Runner is a shocking oversight. I dare say the disc is the same as the current one (no original audio track) with commentaries but all the same, its pretty lacklustre. So an easy pass for me, but no doubt why that 40th Anniversary hasn’t been celebrated; this edition was already in the planning stages.

      I wonder if we’ll still have physical formats when the 50th Anniversary comes around?

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