I was ten years of age when I saw Blade Runner. I watched it a couple of times in a cinema in Sydney. It changed my life. Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET... the other big films of the period... they completely entertained me... but Blade Runner was something else entirely. In one of those Sydney screenings, during the graphic, intense scene where Batty crushed Tyrell's head, my mother tried to cover my eyes with her hand. The film had a profound effect on me... I howled like Roy Batty in the stairwell of my duplex in Cremorne, I reenacted Batty's famous death sequence in the bath and shower, during a Yr 6 presentation at Marist Mosman I tried to squint and grimace a bit like Deckard in the scene where he watches VK reels of replicants, I purchased the BR comic, the BR storybook, the BR design book (all from Galaxy Bookshop or Comic Kingdom), I read every feature article on BR I could find. I was disappointed toy spinners weren't available in toy stores. All I wanted for the Xmas of '82 was the BR soundtrack on vinyl (I got it!). The film's atmosphere drenched me. I desperately wanted to live in LA in November 2019. Most nights, I counted replicants to get to sleep... On and off over the last decade, I have been fortunate enough to teach BR to Yr 12 students.
So, when I went to see Blade Runner 2049 at the New Empire Cinema in Bowral two weeks ago - with a good mate who's a sound engineer in film - I was full of adrenaline and hope. I knew the flick was in safe hands with Denis Villeneuve (his last feature, Arrival, was a sublime thing). I liked Ryan Gosling. Robin Wright was fabulous in House of Cards. Hans Zimmer had done some fine scores in the past. Ridley Scott was watching over the whole thing. I was happy not to compare it with the original. The first twenty minutes of the motion picture mesmerised me, moved me deeply. There were goosebumps, almost tears. But after that, the film didn't do much for me. In fact, I had problems with it. There was no animalistic Roy Batty, Zimmer's score wasn't close to the divine score by Vangelis, Gosling seemed to be on autopilot (I wanted him to stretch his acting range, without singing!), the plot was convoluted, there was a completely unnecessary sex scene, Deckard didn't show his pain and longing enough (so I cared little about his history and reunion with his daughter), there weren't enough origami creations... I could go on. Sure, it looked brilliant, and it sounded fabulous, but those things weren't enough. As my mate said at the end of the screening, 'It was all up here (pointing to his head); there was nothing in here (pointing to his heart)'. I walked out of the cinema numb, confused, perplexed. Back in '82, that ten year old Lorne left the cinema feeling hugely powerful, completely ecstatic.
I saw things in Blade Runner 2049 you people would believe. The angels that fell, weren't fiery enough.
LJ, October 27 2017