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Why do I fall asleep when I watch Blade Runner?



Blade Runner (1982) is one of the most beloved sci-fi films of all-time. Under-appreciated when it was released, today it’s considered to be one of the most important films of the 20th century, sci-fi or otherwise. Currently, Blade Runner is listed as one of the “Top 250” movies of all time on IMDB and since its released he been available on all sorts of home media formats from Beta all the way to Blu-ray with it having a theatrical version, a director’s cut and a version known as “The Final Cut” too. It was directed by one of my favorite directors Ridley Scott and was based on a novel by one of my favorite authors Philip K. Dick.

But here’s the thing; I’ve never liked Blade Runner all that much.

Harrison Ford

In the 1990s there seemed to be endless magazine articles and TV news pieces about the genius of Blade Runner, how it set the trends for all sorts of movies from Se7en to The Matrix and how true fans of film totally appreciate it. And since I wanted to be a true fan I really tried getting into Blade Runner.

I remember watching it on broadcast TV in the 1980s and renting the VHS of the movie in the 1990s as well. One of the first movies I ever bought on DVD was Blade Runner and just a few weeks back I bought the movie again via digital download to give it one more try. But no matter what, I come away from Blade Runner extremely bored. Let’s put it this way, if I really want to take a nap I’ll put on Blade Runner and will be zonked out in a few minutes.

Some of the characters in Blade Runner

Even the time I bought Blade Runner a few weeks back I went in hoping that this was going to be the time I liked the movie. I’ve found with a few films that I didn’t like as a younger person I actually enjoy as an adult. But still, even this last time I was only able to make it to the very first scene in Blade Runner, where one of the androids is being tested by an examiner to find out if he’s real or synthetic. And about half way though that scene I thought that to watch Blade Runner was going to be more like work than enjoyment and bailed on the movie yet again.

I don’t mind movies that are slow, but Blade Runner is painfully so. There are long shots of cities, people’s eyes, people staring off into space and flames blasting from the tops of buildings to name a few of the slower scenes that stick in my head. And for a movie that’s officially a little less than two hours long to crawl as it does is a bit of a shock. Honestly, I thought Blade Runner would have clocked in at two and a half or three hours long, but just two hours is amazing.

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford

And the plot of Blade Runner, in a hellish/futuristic Los Angeles in 2019 a detective played by Harrison Ford is assigned to “retire” androids who go on the run and try to extend their artificially shortened lives a bit sounds like a winner to me. And the visuals of that hellish/futuristic Los Angeles along with the costumes, flying cars and robots are amazing as well. But every time I come back to the movie it’s the pace of the film that makes me bail on it again and again.

And now comes an official sequel to Blade Runner 35 years after the original titled Blade Runner 2049 starring Ryan Gosling with Harrison Ford reprising his role from the first movie. This version has a few things going for it. First of all it’s being directed by Denis Villeneuve who also directed The Arrival which I enjoyed a great deal and co-written by Michael Green who had a hand in the also-good movie Logan.

Still, I worry that the 21st century version of Blade Runner will be as plotting and slow as the 20th century one. Let’s put it this way — if the Blade Runner 2049 starts out with a slow scene of two characters talking to each other in a testing room, I might just get up and leave the theater.

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