“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die…”
Every now and then, the cosmos bestows a cinematic and science-fiction gift upon the deserving. With Harrison Ford’s reported return to the iconic character of Rick Deckard, which he first portrayed in 1982’s cult classic Blade Runner, the stars and the planets have aligned, making another chapter in the dark and dystopian dreams of androids and humans alike a possibility again.
Blade Runner, backed up by a decades-long legacy, could easily turn into a grand disappointment for the faithful, like so many adventure and sci-fi flicks revisited over recent years have become, from the disheartening Star Wars prequels to Ridley Scott’s (the visionary behind Blade Runner) discombobulated — albeit visually stunning — Prometheus. For this piece of art to come to fruition and meet its true potential, a few things are going to have to happen:
First off, Harrison Ford is going to have to stop crashing planes into golf courses. (I wonder if the theme to the Indian Jones series was blaring through his head as he navigated his aircraft away from homes and onto the Los Angeles green. I really hope it was.) While I wish the actor long life and continued success, he’s no spring chicken. “Mr. Solo,” who suffered a fairly serious injury on the set of the new J.J. Abrams Star Wars movie, needs to take care of his health. I don’t want to see a CGI-rendered Ford running around some cartoonish Blade Runner universe. We shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than the real deal, no matter how much screen time Harrison is going to claim after the final cut of the film is finished. Fans want to know if Rick Deckard is a replicant (an android), but not at the cost of Ford’s life. A watchable and memorable film would be a nice surprise, as well.
Second, speaking of final cut, I pray that Ridley Scott and his production team not only reboot this older film that has withstood the test of time, but that they also reboot some of those old school film-making aesthetics. The simple, ahead-of-its-day beauty and hard violence of the original, not to mention Greek composer Vangelis’ evocative and haunting score, are two of the key elements that went into creating this cinematic masterpiece in the first place.
If various media sources have gotten it right, Scott will produce the film, but hand over the directing duties to another helmsman — perhaps, as has been reported, Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners). That could be a plus or a minus, depending. Ridley Scott has shown us a hell of a lot genius (Thelma & Louise) over the years, but there are some pretty bad calls (Exodus: Gods and Kings) in there as well.
According to Variety, Harrison Ford is “in love” with the film’s script. That’s good news, but no guarantee that this film will come off well, or not be laden down with an abundance of special effects, combined with a dearth of solid character development or logical plot points (see the aforementioned Prometheus). At least we can be pretty sure we won’t have to deal with any CGI gophers (à la Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), reminiscent of that dancing rodent in Caddy Shack.
The elegance and streamlined brilliance of the original Blade Runner, which brought us such stark poetic gems as actor (and replicant) Rutger Hauer’s “tears in rain” soliloquy, can’t be replicated. But with enough care, raw film-making talent, and technique, maybe, if we’re lucky, another film that can move the hearts of devoted fans around the world might be on the horizon again.