Watched Jul 03, 2012
There is a problem with Blade Runner I've yet to see addressed: it's completely unfriendly to new viewers. I would challenge anyone who has remained largely in ignorance of this movie to watch it and enjoy it naturally. It's impossible. As if the great debate between the theatrical and director's cuts didn't already put me off watching it enough for fear I would be watching "the wrong version", there are 3 entirely different cuts besides the two "main" cuts to choose from. That's an absurd FIVE versions of a movie that's already so steeped in critical acclaim and showers upon showers of nerd praise as to make it nearly unapproachable to the Blade Runner layman. If your preferred method of movie watching is Blu Ray, like me, your options are limited between buying literally every version in an expensive box set or the "final" cut on its own. The word final implies...er, finality, so that's the one I chose.
To some extent, I can't help but wonder if I chose poorly. The main reason for all these separate versions is that Ridley Scott was unhappy with the narration of the theatrical version, right? Well, the final cut has no narration to speak of. This being my first time watching Blade Runner, there were some moments here and there where I felt like I was missing the larger picture - what was happening during the scene in which Deckard (Deckerd?) analyzes that photograph continues to elude me. Still, on the whole I felt like the base story was easily understandable, though I felt that any question about Deckard's humanity required quite a bit more digging beneath the surface than I thought it would. In fact, if I wasn't tangentially aware of the debate between fans about whether or not Deckard is a replicant, I have no doubt that theme would've slipped by me entirely.
Despite everything, I can't help but feel like there's a big narration-shaped hole in the middle of the final cut. Like I said, for the most part I found the movie to be pretty easily followable; for me it's not a matter of needing the movie explained to me, I think, so much as the noir-asthetic would've benefited from some internal monologues.
I enjoyed watching Blade Runner. I think Scott crafted a brilliant sci-fi world here. But what a hassle watching this movie is! Maybe now that I'm passed the barrier of watching it once I'll enjoy myself a little more the second time. I probably won't come back for a while though.