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Title: Blade Runner (1982) – Reinventing Science Fiction

Description: Today we are joined by our frequent guest, Erik Fogg of the Reconsidered Podcast to talk about a trailblazing piece of science fiction, 1982’s Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and More. This film reimagined and reinterpreted Philip K. Dick’s classic novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Although the movie is 40 years old, it is more relevant today than it was in the early 1980s.

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Learn More About our Guest:
Erik Fogg of the Reconsider Podcast
www.reconsidermedia.org

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Music Provided by:
“Crossing the Chasm” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Image Credits:
By IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59925545

Begin Transcript:

, [00:00:00] this is beyond the big screen podcast with your host, Steve Guerra. Welcome today. We are going to talk about the 1982 movie blade runner based on the Phillip K Dick novel, do Androids dream of electric sheep. The book and the film are set in a near future. Post-apocalyptic dystopia. One of my favorite genres as is common with the dystopian science fiction, John.
Blade runner addresses a number of political and political science issues, political theory, and even philosophy are important for our frameworks while blade runner is not overtly political, it does tie deeply into questions of humanist and theological philosophy and to morality as well. Ultimately, all of this is critical for us deciding on what [00:01:00] political action, which is just our own moral, personal, moral action on collective scale to take.
It’s why it’s fascinated Eric for so long, and I’m very happy to be joined by Eric and Zander hosts of reconsider podcasts. Thank you guys so much for coming on today. We are happy to be here. Thanks for having us. Reconsider is actually a political podcast. Eric and Zane. Help you contextualize current politics and history and broader forces and political theory reconsider helps you rise above the one-liners the 140 character politics and tribal narratives.
Their motto is we don’t do the thinking for you. And they really don’t. That’s why it’s such an amazing podcast and one of my personal favorites. Thanks. But before we dig in too deeply, the. Here’s some production details. We watched the final cut, which is the director’s edition. Eric, you had commented on that.
Why do you think [00:02:00] that that’s a better cut of the film than it? It went through several evolutions. Yeah, it actually went through four there’s the theatrical cut. The international cut. The director’s cut. And the final cut. The final cut being the one that really Scott. Like the best. And I have strong opinions on this and I think most other diehard blade runner fans do, there’s a consensus generally that the final cuts the right one, not only because really Scott liked it best.
Uh, I don’t know if Philip K Dick liked it best, but the reason we like it best is that the theatrical cut, um, has a number of, uh, sins. The biggest of which is the ending. The second biggest of which is the fact that. Um, Harrison Ford does a monologue. It does it like a backwards memory monologue. Like a lot of new are like, ah, she walked in and was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen lights up to hair kind of thing.
And unfortunately what that does is it not only sounds [00:03:00] stupid in the context of what is otherwise a beautiful. Uh, but it also takes away the opportunity for you to do the thinking yourself. So, uh, you know, sort of as is the, our, our podcast motto, I hate when things do the thinking for me. Um, and so the, the, both the director’s cut and the final cut take that those two key elements out the final cut adds another element, which is a unicorn dream.
That’s really important to how you interpret one of the big questions of the movie. Uh, so if, if you guys haven’t seen it yet on the show, Or that eliciting, I highly recommend just go straight for the direct or the final cut and skip everything else. Pretend it doesn’t exist. It had our runtime of about 120 minutes.
And it was released in 1982. It had a $30 million budget, which was today almost $80 million. So it’s a really, it was a huge budget, but it only brought in about $26 million. That’s [00:04:00] first summer. It was, that was the summer that ITI launched and there was a couple other big movies. So it really, wasn’t a huge commercial success for somebody who’s into this movie.
Do you know the reason why it didn’t seem to catch on at the time? I don’t know the reason, there’s always a lot of speculation with this stuff, right? Some of it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, um, and a bit of a, uh, like networking or positive, negative feedback loop effect. Anytime you release a commercial product, however, Um, blade runner really challenged, a lot of norms.
A lot of people thought it was going to be an action movie. It was originally in the theatrical cut, um, advertised and, you know, the trailers came out as if it was an action movie and ended up being a very slow paced, very plotting, very grindy, methodical movie. Um, and so it was very different from. The producers or the, the, um, studio originally seemed to [00:05:00] promise to hook people.
And I think they just watched it and, uh, you know, action movie fans watch it went, oh, this is garbage. I don’t like it. It’s not an action movie. And so they didn’t tell their friends to go watch it. Um, and so I ended up being relegated to a, you know, sort of hardcore Saifai or dystopia or Neo noir fan cult, film.
Uh, it’s made a lot of money since that first. Since that first summer, of course. But I think that’s why it never really took off if I had to guess. Yeah. I think it challenged the genres at the time. It didn’t really fit into hardcore science, science fiction. It wasn’t really action, especially that this is the time where star wars came out and Tron Terminator.
Yeah, exactly. And so. It’s ultimately not comparable to those, even though at first, the studio tried to compare it to those. I think a lot of people are disappointed, but I think for the same reasons that it challenges that so much is why it’s such a great film and something that can really [00:06:00] teach you something in the way that star wars really has very little to do.
It was fighting words for a lot of people. Yeah. What was your perspective of seeing this movie as sort of an outsider that you hadn’t seen the movie before? So it wasn’t as much of a call classic to you. Okay. Yeah. I’ve seen this movie like one and a half times the first time. Like a vacation weekend. I was with a bunch of folks and we turned it on and we were already, you know, three beers in, so, and we didn’t even finish the movie.
So I really, I kinda have to pick it back up again and watch it. And Eric, thank God for your movie notes because I went on Amazon and purchased the first thing I found. Kind of flip through the notes and realize it wasn’t the final cut. So I went back and returned it and watched the final cut. Good, good stuff.
As an outsider or at least someone who doesn’t know nearly as much about it as Eric, I was struck by how similar certain elements are to a lot more modern Saifai that deal with [00:07:00] consciousness and artificial intelligence. Now that. 35 years after the movie, we have a much better understanding of how certain cognitive mechanisms work in the brain.
And we have people out there trying to really push the envelope for how artificial intelligence works. So I’ve seen some modern scifi. Television and movies. And I’ll bring this up at some point on this episode, that blade runner really seems to have a lot of common elements with, but again, it was 35 years.
The movie was based off of a Phillip K Dick book. As Eric. You had said, you’ve read the bug Zander. Have you read the book? Unfortunately not. It was an interesting book. I believe this was the first Philip K Phillip K Dick novel. That was translated into a movie. Is that right? That’s my understanding, certainly.
And I think he wasn’t exactly ecstatic about the way it came out. Now. It was a very, uh, a very contentious [00:08:00] development process, not as contentious as 2001, a space Odyssey, which is perhaps if I come back the next one, I’ll want to talk about. Uh, yeah, Dick was, Dick was even more unhappy with the theatrical cut than Ridley Scott in part, because I think once you have developed a story and Scott came in and he really changed the story significantly, um, it is a different story.
It is based on do Androids dream of electric sheep. It is not a really direct, um, uh, Translation of it. It’s a it’s, you know, changed a lot. And so I think for that reason, Dick kind of went, what the heck? And then he saw the theatrical cut and sort of legend has it, that he walked out in the middle of it.
He was just as. A lot of his movies have actually been made into, or a lot of his books rather have been made into films lately, but he died in 1983, I believe. So he didn’t really have much to say about how those other ones were [00:09:00] translated. Now, the cast was almost, I would say it was pretty much the perfect eighties past that had Harrison Ford as Rick Decherd look at young and sexy.
Yeah, the per yeah, the absolute Harrison Ford at his peak Rutger Hauer who played Roy batty, which he’s a very different character than he was

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April 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/blade-runner-1982-reinventing-science-fiction>
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