Blade Runner At The Cinema

“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 Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

While reading the newspaper today on my way to work, I found out that Blade Runner: The Final Cut will be shown at the movies in my city. This movie is based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, another book that’s on my never ending to-read list.

This means, of course, that I will go watch it, even though I’ve seen the movie half a dozen times at home. It is one of my favourite movies, not to mention it’s the best Cyberpunk movie I’ve seen to this day. In fact, the 80s seem to be filled with really awesome flicks, like Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the Indiana Jones movies, and many others.

On my Artificial Intelligence classes in the University, I always wondered why the professor would give 2001’s HAL the spotlight as the best example of AI in popular culture. Blade Runner’s replicants, especially one of them, raise issues a lot deeper in that area. The paragraph that follows will be filled with plot spoilers so if you haven’t watched the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, skip it.

*spoilers* First there’s the concept that the replicants, learn and develop personalities the longer they exist. To avoid having unpredictable replicants around, their lifespan is limited to only a few years. The issue is that some of the replicants developed enough self awareness in those years, and are afraid to die, wishing to prolong their existence at all costs. The quote at the beginning of this post is said by one of them, and you can see how aware he was of what it is to exist and of what it is to experience life. Then, there is another replicant, Rachael, a different model who was brought up as a human, given the memories of a real human, and who doesn’t even know she’s a machine. *end spoilers*

Other than all the questions it raises about existence, emotion and living (and not in a boring pseudo-intellectualoid way like so many other movies do), another thing that makes this movie great is the soundtrack. Vangelis at his best.

Sometime during this next three-day weekend I will be sitting in a cinema in Lisbon and absorbing all of this in a huge screen as if it was the first time.

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