Blade Runner was influenced by Philip K. Dick's book 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Ridley Scott made the first version in 1982, where he cleverly combined three genres of Science Fiction, Mystery and Film Noir. He made sure all the frames teemed with detail, or as Scott called it 'visual layering'. However the film had problems in it's story telling methods of Harrison Ford's narration at the beginning and the original 'happy ending' created confusion with the audience and the film disappeared and look set to be forgotten. However in 1992, Scott released Blade Runner: The Director's Cut where he edited out the narration and the original ending to be replaced with the unicorn daydream to suggest that the character Deckard could be a new generation version of replicant. The film became much more popular with the audience, as well other film makers who copied who copied Blade Runner's design for rock videos, TV shows and feature films. Twenty five years after the originally release, 2007 saw another version to hit the box office: Blade Runner: The Final Cut, a digital variant from the previous edition with shots and effects much sharper to create a polished version of the film for the generation of audiences today. This makes people think though of how many more versions of the film will be released where the line will be crossed as George Lucas continuously re-edits his originally Star Wars films to the point where audiences are slowly saying 'enough' and it asks the question 'will Scott ever be able to leave this film or will he continually try and re-edit Blade Runner until he considers it to his vision of a perfect film.'
Figure 1, (2011), Futuristic city with Inspirations of Tokoyo
The film is driven by it's environmental sets, where Ridley Scott has used specific lighting techniques and influences to make the genre and world appear believable to the viewer. "The secret of Blade Runner is that Scott's fantastically baroque, future-shock imagery, all dark decay and techno-clutter, effectively becomes the story. As the layers of mood and detail settle in, the very process by which we watch the film - scanning those shimmering, claustrophobic frames for signs of life - turns into a running metaphor for what Blade Runner is about: a world in which humanity has been snuffed by "progress". This is perhaps the only science fiction film that can be called transcendental." (Gleiberman, 2011). The narrative and visual world of Blade Runner sets itself into the period of 2019 - 2059 Tech/ Future Noir and centres it's message around progress. Despite having the feel of eighties costumes and characters the visuals convey to the audience of a time where humanity has advanced so much that they have become 'snuffed' and insignificant compared to it. Scott took influence from New York and Tokyo and their huge cities and advertisement screens to create the non existent world that could be metaphor of how far humanity could advance.
Figure 2, (2011), Pris, one of the replicates in the film
Blade Runner also questions life as an individual and what is a person's true purpose. "Moreover, it's science fiction with thought. Tyrell gives the Replicants memories so they don't know they're not human. Which makes Deckard wonder if he is really human, either. And that, in turn, asks us to think about ourselves, what makes anyone human, where we come from, where we're going, and what it means to be alive." (Puccio, 2007) Scott puts across self doubt into the character, Deckard as the whole purpose in the film was for him to track down four dangerous Replicants that want more life to break the barrier of a four year life, however subtle hints have been put into the film of Deckard's daydreams of unicorns to make the viewer aware that there may be more to the specific character. When the audience finally sees Rachael's origami unicorn, they come to realise that Deckard has been a new generation replicant and no longer the hero meant to protect but run for his survival.
Figure 3, (2009), Origami Unicorn
Even though Blade Runner was set in future, it doesn't try to become to out of reach of the real world as films in the Science Fiction genre would be. "Part of it's success is that it is rooted in the now, and doesn't go in for any far-out zipper suit version of the future. That plus the special effects are still spectacular, having a solidity about them that is lacking in many CGI effects." (Ehley, 2008) The Film clings tightly to it's Noir genre as much as the Science Fiction to bring aspects of past into the future. Scott has achieved this by using specific colours of chrome, blue and red to be the most highlighted to give the sense of a film noir world in colour. The characters also have typical roles within that genre, Deckard is an example of this as he portraying the detective archetype with his mumbling tones and body language as similar to Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon. This explains to the viewer that Blade Runner has kept the air of mystery and the conflict of the good cop and the villain as a world and characters that could exist.
Figure 1, (2011), Futuristic city with Inspirations of Tokoyo, @ http://evade.com/beautifull-the-old-bladerunner-oc1/, Accessed on: 2011
Figure 2, (2011), Pris, one of the replicates in the film, @ http://www.listal.com/viewimage/1667350, Accessed on: 22nd January 2011
Figure 3, (2009), Origami Unicorn, @ http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/01/how_to_blade_runner_origami_un.html, Accessed on: 15th January 2009
Ehley James, (2008), Movie Page - Blade Runner The Final Cut, @ http://www.scifimoviepage.com/dvd/bladerunner_finalcut-dvd.html, Accessed on: 19th March 2008
Gleiberman Owen, (2011), EW.com - Blade Runner, @ http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,311946,00.html, Accessed on: 7th September 2011
Puccio John, (2007), HD DVD review - Blade Runner, @ http://www.dvdtown.com/reviews/blade-runner/5452, Accessed on: 19th December 2007