Unpopular Opinion: Blade Runner Hasn’t Aged Well

I got in hot water in some circles with my review of 2001 a while back, but I clearly haven’t learned my lesson when it comes to revisiting old science fiction classics. I watched Blade Runner for the second time a few nights ago, promising Denisa that it was a solid movie. It’s really highly rated on IMDB. It’s got a great cast. It’s influential. You can’t go wrong, right?


It suffers from some of the same problems 2001 did. The pacing is just. So. Slow. And there are times when the movie feels willfully obtuse. Again, I think some of the difference here is that back when it came out in 1982, showing these cool environments and potential futures was just fascinating in and of itself. Special effects were miles away from where they are now, and so much of this stuff was just fresh and fascinating. Fast forward forty years, and the effects have been left so far behind, watching them just to be amazed isn’t enough to keep my interest.

Yes, I can see how the movie’s influential, and I can appreciate where it stands in the long lineage of science fiction films. The concept is still great, and I can (in theory) really get behind a sci-fi noir film. But there are many noir movies that are still fantastic today, and that’s mainly because they focused on story and character instead of flashy effects. I’m not saying Blade Runner doesn’t have either, but both its story and its characters are overshadowed by attempts to make things feel more “future-ish.” As if the assumption was that in the future, people would now be pretty strange across the board. When people don’t act like people, but like caricatures, I lose a fair bit of interest in the movie.

It didn’t help that I watched the “Final Cut” as well. There’s a reason the movie felt much more violent than it did when I saw it before. That was added into the movie, and it didn’t really make it any better, and arguably made it worse.

One of the main reasons I watched the movie was so that I could watch Blade Runner 2049 and understand it, but after such a poor experience with the original, I’m pretty gun shy about the sequel. Should I still give it a shot? Because I gave this one only about a 6, and that was me being super generous and giving it some bonus points for its place in history. I probably ought to bump it down to a 4 or even a 3. Checking my watch and pausing it to see how much time is left is rarely a sign of a movie I just adore.

Tell me why I’m wrong.


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