Blade Runner Review/Information Article

 

 

Blade Runner is an influential 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film features Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah.

The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically manufactured beings called replicants, physically identical to adult humans, are used for dangerous and degrading work in Earth's "off-world colonies." Replicants became illegal on Earth after a bloody mutiny. Specialist police units — blade runners — hunt down and "retire" (i.e. kill) escaped replicants on Earth. The plot primarily focuses on a particularly brutal and cunning group of replicants hiding in Los Angeles and a semi-retired blade runner, named Rick Deckard, who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment.

Blade Runner initially polarized critics; some were displeased with the pacing, while others enjoyed its thematic complexity. The film performed poorly in North American theaters but achieved success overseas. Despite poor early ticket sales, it was embraced by fans and academics and became a cult classic. Blade Runner has been hailed for its production design, one said to depict a "retrofitted future". The film is credited with prefiguring important concerns of the 21st century, such as globalization and genetic engineering. It remains a foremost exemplar of cyberpunk and neo-noir and observers continue to see its myriad influences on culture. Blade Runner brought author Philip K. Dick to the attention of Hollywood, and several films have since been made from his writings.

Seven versions of the film have been created for various markets and as a result of controversial changes made by film executives. A rushed Director's Cut was released in 1992 after a strong response to workprint screenings. This in conjunction with its popularity as a video rental made it one of the first films to see a DVD release. Warner Bros. announced in January 2006 the upcoming 25th anniversary theatrical and DVD release in 2007 of the long-awaited remastered definitive Final Cut by Scott.

Producer Michael Deeley became interested in Hampton Fancher's screenplay entitled Android (subsequently it was changed to Dangerous Days). Deeley convinced director Ridley Scott to create his first American film using Fancher's screenplay. Scott had previously passed on the project, but after he left the slow production of Dune, Scott decided to direct the project. Scott joined the project on February 21, 1980, and Filmways promised $13 million in financing on April 9th, which was bumped up to $15 million after a request by Scott.

When Scott noted Deckard's line of work needed a new name, Fancher found a cinema treatment by William S. Burroughs for Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner (1974), entitled Blade Runner, a movie. Scott liked it and Deeley obtained the rights to the titles, but Scott soon considered Blade Runner a working title for the film and wanted to find something more "commercial". (Note: Some editions of Nourse's novel use the two-word spacing Blade Runner, as does the Burroughs book.)

Scott became unhappy with the direction of the script and had David Peoples rewrite it. Fancher quit on December 20, 1980, although he came back near the end to do some rewrites, because he disagreed with having Peoples rewrite the script. When Fancher read the Peoples script he was pleasantly surprised Peoples had done a good job incorporating Scott's ideas into it. Subsequently Fancher and Peoples became good friends.

Filmways pulled their financial backing weeks away from principal photography and after investing over $2.5 million in pre-production. In ten days, Deeley secured $21.5 million in financing through a three way deal between The Ladd Company (through Warner Bros.), the Hong Kong-based producer Sir Run Run Shaw, and Tandem Productions. This would later prove problematic as the release of the film's Special Edition (Final Cut) was delayed due to legal wrangling over distribution rights.

Philip K. Dick became concerned that no one had informed him about the film's production. After Dick criticized an early version of the script in an article in the Los Angeles Select TV Guide , the studio sent Dick the Peoples rewrite. Although Dick died before the film's release, he was pleased with a forty-minute special effects test reel that he viewed.

Blade Runner owes much to Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Ridley Scott credits Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and the proto-cyberpunk short story comic The Long Tomorrow (by Dan O'Bannon, art by Moebius) as stylistic mood sources. In addition, he drew on the industrial night time landscape of his hometown of Hartlepool. Scott hired as his conceptual artist Syd Mead, who, like Scott, was influenced by the French science fiction comic magazine Métal Hurlant (Heavy Metal), to which Moebius contributed. Moebius was offered the opportunity to assist in the pre-production of Blade Runner, but he declined so that he could work on René Laloux's animated film Les Maîtres du temps -- a decision he later regretted. Lawrence G. Paull (production designer) and David Snyder (art director) realised Scott's and Mead's sketches. Jim Burns briefly worked designing the Spinner hovercars; Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich supervised the special effects for the film. Principal photography of Blade Runner began on March 9, 1981.

Prior to principal photography, Paul M. Sammon was commissioned by Cinefantastique magazine to do a special article on the making of Blade Runner. His detailed observations and research later became the book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, which is commonly referred to as the "Blade Runner Bible" by many of the film's fans. The book outlines not only the evolution of Blade Runner but also the politics and difficulties on set. It focuses particularly on the British director's experiences with his first American crew. It also sheds light on Scott's directing style, which caused friction with the cast and likely contributed to Harrison Ford's subsequent reluctance to discuss the film.

In Los Angeles, November 2019, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement when a fellow Blade Runner — Holden (Morgan Paull) — is shot during a Voight-Kampff test by Leon (Brion James), an escaped replicant. A reluctant Deckard is brought to his old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh), who informs him that the recent escape of Nexus-6 replicants is the worst yet. Deckard agrees to help after Bryant threatens him enigmatically.

Bryant briefs Deckard on the replicants: Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is a commando, Leon a soldier and manual laborer, Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) a sex worker retrained as an assassin, and Pris (Daryl Hannah) a "basic pleasure model." Bryant also explains that the Nexus-6 model has a four-year lifespan as a failsafe against their developing unstable emotions. Deckard is teamed up with Gaff (Edward James Olmos) and sent to the Tyrell Corporation to ensure that the Voight-Kampff test works on Nexus-6 models. While there, Deckard discovers that Tyrell's (Joe Turkel) young secretary Rachael (Sean Young) is an experimental replicant (who believes she is a human) with implanted memories from Tyrell's niece.

Deckard and Gaff search Leon's apartment as Roy and Leon force Chew (James Hong), an eye designer, to direct them to J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson) who can lead them to Tyrell. Later, Rachael visits Deckard at his apartment to prove her humanity to him, but leaves in tears after Deckard tells her that her memories are in fact implants. Clues lead Deckard to Taffy Lewis' (Hy Pyke) Zhora, who Deckard shoots and "retires". Deckard is told to "retire" Rachael. However, after Rachael saves Deckard's life, they become close and begin to fall in love. Meanwhile, Roy arrives at Tyrell's apartment and demands an extension to his lifespan and absolution for his sins; upon receiving neither he kills Tyrell.

Deckard is sent to Sebastian's apartment and is ambushed by Pris. Roy returns and traps Deckard in the apartment, hunting him throughout the dilapidated Bradbury Building and forcing him to the roof. As Deckard attempts to escape from the roof, he ends up hanging from a beam. Just as Deckard is about to fall, Roy saves his life. Roy is quickly deteriorating, as his 4-year lifespan is up, and he "dies" up on the rooftop. Deckard returns to his apartment and finds Rachael alive. Deckard also finds an origami calling card left by Gaff, which suggests that he has allowed them to escape.

Despite the initial appearance of an action film, Blade Runner operates on an unusually rich number of dramatic levels. As with much of the cyberpunk genre, it owes a large debt to film noir, containing and exploring such conventions as the femme fatale, a Chandleresque first-person narration (removed in later versions), and the questionable moral outlook of the Hero — extended here to include even the humanity of the hero, as well as the usual dark and shadowy cinematography.

It is one of the most literate science fiction films, both thematically — enfolding the philosophy of religion and moral implications of the increasing human mastery of genetic engineering, within the context of classical Greek drama and its notions of hubris — and linguistically, drawing on the poetry of William Blake and the Bible. Blade Runner also features a chess game based on the famous Immortal Game of 1851. (The king and queen are interposed on Tyrell's side, a position which a grandmaster would never attempt.)

Blade Runner delves into the future implications of technology on the environment and society by reaching into the past using literature, religious symbolism, classical dramatic themes and film noir. This tension between past, present and future is apparent in the retrofitted future of Blade Runner, which is high-tech and gleaming in places but elsewhere decayed and old.

A high level of paranoia is present throughout the film with the visual manifestation of corporate power, omnipresent police, probing lights; and in the power over the individual represented particularly by genetic programming of the replicants. Control over the environment is seen on a large scale but also with how animals are created as mere commodities. This oppressive backdrop clarifies why many people are going to the off-world colonies, which clearly parallels the migration to the Americas. The popular 1980s prediction of America being economically surpassed by Japan is reflected in the domination of Japanese culture and advertising in LA 2019. The film also makes extensive use of eyes and manipulated images to call into question reality and our ability to perceive it.

These thematic elements provide an atmosphere of uncertainty for Blade Runner's central theme of examining humanity. In order to discover replicants, an empathy test is used with a number of questions focused on the treatment of animals, thus making it the essential indicator of someone's "humanity". The replicants are juxtaposed with human characters who are unempathetic, while the replicants appear to show passion and concern for one another at the same time as the mass of humanity on the streets is cold and impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is a replicant, and forces the audience to reevaluate what it means to be human.

The question of whether Deckard is intended to be a human or a replicant has been an ongoing controversy since the film's release. Ridley Scott, after remaining coy for twenty years, stated in 2000 that Deckard is a replicant. Hampton Fancher and Harrison Ford, stated that Deckard is human. The rough consensus of the debate is that in the original version of the film Deckard is probably human, whereas the Director's Cut deliberately hints that he may be another replicant. Specifically, the Director's Cut includes a short sequence in which Deckard dreams about a unicorn. This sequence alters the significance of the origami unicorn that Gaff leaves in Deckard's apartment, suggesting to the viewer (and to Deckard) that Gaff knows about Deckard's dream in the same manner that Deckard knows about Rachael's implanted memories. An answer to Deckard's nature is not given – as such it provides additional layers of ambiguity to the film's questions about humanity and reality.

* Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. Coming off some success with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but still a year before Raiders of the Lost Ark was released, Ford was looking for a role with dramatic depth. After Steven Spielberg praised Ford and showed some Raiders rushes to Deeley and Scott they hired Ford. Due to the initially poor reception of Blade Runner and friction with Scott, Ford has usually avoided discussing the film.
* Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty. Hauer gave a brief but "effective" performance as the violent yet intellectual leader of replicants; and was regarded by Philip K. Dick as "the perfect Batty — cold, Aryan, flawless." Of the many films Hauer has done, Blade Runner is his favorite. As he explains:

"Blade Runner needs no explanation. It just IZZ. All of the best. There is nothing like it. To be part of a real MASTERPIECE which changed the world's thinking. It's awesome."

* Sean Young as Rachael. Young still counts Blade Runner among her favorite films, despite friction with Ford and Scott.
* Edward James Olmos as Gaff. Olmos used his diverse ethnic background, and some in depth personal research, to help create the fictional "Cityspeak" language his character uses in the film. It later turned out that what he addresses to the sitting and eating Rick Deckard is partly in Hungarian and means "Horse dick! So you say. You are the Blade... Blade Runner."
* Daryl Hannah as Pris. Hannah managed to bring out the dangerous innocence of a replicant in love with Roy Batty.

Supporting roles:

* M. Emmet Walsh as Captain Bryant. Walsh lived up to his reputation as a great character actor with the role of a hard drinking police veteran.
* Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell. With a confident penetrating voice and a panache for self-aggrandizement, this corporate mogul has built an empire on slavery.
* William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian, a quiet and lonely genius who provides a compassionate yet compliant portrait of humanity. This led to more varied work for Sanderson.
* Brion James as Leon. Although at first glance a dumb replicant used for muscle, Leon did have an undertone of intuitive intelligence.
* Joanna Cassidy as Zhora. Cassidy portrays a strong woman who has seen the worst humanity has to offer.
* Morgan Paull as Holden.
* James Hong as Hannibal Chew. An elder geneticist who loves his work, especially with synthesizing eyes.
* Hy Pyke as Taffey Lewis. Pyke conveys Lewis' sleaziness with ease and apparently with one take; something unheard of with Scott's drive for perfection resulting at times in double digit takes.
* Unknown as Abdul Hassan. It remains a mystery as to who played the snake dealer Deckard interrogates.

The Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis is a dark melodic combination of classic composition and futuristic synthesizers which mirrors the film-noir retro-future envisioned by Ridley Scott. Vangelis, fresh off of his Academy Award winning score from Chariots of Fire, composed and performed the music on his synthesizers. The musicscape of the 2019 was created in Vangelis' "space" mode of new age music, as heard on such albums of his as Heaven and Hell. He also made use of various chimes and the vocals of collaborator Demis Roussos. Ridley Scott also used "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' album See You Later (an orchestral version of which Scott would later use in his film Someone To Watch Over Me).

"Both emotional and unsettling, the Blade Runner score plays off conflict (discord versus harmony, light against dark) for a rich, textured tapestry of sound." — musicoutfitter.com

Despite being well received by fans and critically acclaimed — nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score — and the promise of a soundtrack album from Polydor Records in the end titles of the film, the release of the original soundtrack recording was delayed for over a decade. There are two official releases of the music from Blade Runner. In light of the lack of a release of an album, The New American Orchestra recorded an orchestral adaptation in 1982 which bore little resemblance to the original. Some of the film tracks would in 1989 surface on the compilation Themes, but it wasn't until the 1992 release of the Director's Cut version would a substantial amount of the film's score see the light of day. However, while most of the tracks on the album are from the film, there were a few that Vangelis composed but were ultimately not used and some new pieces. Many do not consider this to be a satisfying representation of the score.

These delays and poor reproductions led to the production of many bootleg recordings over the years. A bootleg tape surfaced in 1982 at science fiction conventions and became popular given the delay of an official release of the original recordings, and in 1993 "Off World Music, Ltd." created a bootleg CD that would prove more comprehensive than Vangelis' official CD in 1994. A disc from "Gongo Records" features most of the same material, but with slightly better sound quality. In 2003, two other bootlegs surfaced, the "Esper Edition," closely preceded by "Los Angeles — November 2019." The double disc "Esper Edition" combined tracks from the official release, the Gongo boot and the film itself. Finally "2019" provided a single disc compilation almost wholly consisting of ambient sound from the film, padded out with some sounds from the Westwood game Blade Runner. The Gongo release is considered the best presentation of the music, while Los Angeles — November 2019 and the Esper Edition are excellent mementos of the film.

Blade Runner was released in 1,290 theatres on June 25, 1982. That date was chosen by producer Alan Ladd, Jr. because his previous highest-grossing films (Star Wars and Alien) had a similar opening date (May 25) in 1977 and 1979, making the date his "lucky day." However, the gross for the opening weekend was a disappointing $6.15 million. A significant factor in the film's rather poor box office performance was that its release coincided with another science fiction film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which was released in the U.S. on June 11, 1982, and dominated box office revenues at the time.

Film critics were polarized as some felt the story had taken a back seat to special effects and that it was not the action/adventure the studio had advertised. Others acclaimed its complexity and predicted it would stand the test of time.

A general criticism was its slow pacing that detracts from other strengths; one film critic went so far as to call it "Blade Crawler." Roger Ebert praised Blade Runner's visuals, but found the human story a little thin. Ebert thought Tyrell's character unconvincing and the apparent lack of security measures allowing Roy to murder him problematic. Also he believed the relationship between Deckard and Rachael seemed "to exist more for the plot than for them."

Other critics have countered that the strong visuals serve to create a dehumanized world where human elements stand out. Furthermore the relationship between Deckard and Rachael could be essential in reaffirming their respective humanity. In a later episode of their show, Ebert and Gene Siskel admit they were wrong about their early negative reviews and that they consider the film to be a modern classic.

Although it initially gained a small North American audience, the film was popular internationally and became a cult classic which has been often referenced in other media. Blade Runner's dark cyberpunk style and futuristic design have served as a benchmark and inspired many subsequent science fiction films and television programs, such as Batman, RoboCop, The Fifth Element, Brazil, Dark Angel, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and The Matrix. It has also influenced anime, including Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Armitage III, Silent Möbius, Cowboy Bebop, Bubblegum Crisis, AD Police Files, Parasite Dolls, and Ergo Proxy.

The film arguably marks the introduction of the cyberpunk genre into popular culture. Blade Runner continues to reflect modern trends and concerns, and an increasing number consider it one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently used in university courses. It is one of the most musically sampled films of the 20th century. The character Roy Batty served as the apparent inspiration of several rock songs by Audioslave "Show Me How To Live", White Zombie "Electric Head" and "More Human Than Human" (a Tyrell Corporation slogan), Gary Numan "Time To Die", Covenant "Like Tears In Rain" and "Replicant", Diesel Christ "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?", Sigue Sigue Sputnik "Love Missile F1-11" and Kent "OWC".

Other Rock songs influenced by the film (and the book it is based upon) include Blind Guardian's "Time What Is Time", Fear Factory's "Replica", Gary Numan's "Are 'Friends' Electric?", Incubus' "Talk Shows On Mute", Kim Wilde "Bladerunner", and Tan-Hauser Gate's "Little piece of you".

"Ridley Scott's film remains the defining vision of futuristic science fiction." — Steve Biodrowski

Blade Runner also influenced the cyberpunk adventure game Snatcher, the role-playing game Shadowrun, the computer game System Shock and the Syndicate games. The fictional language Cityspeak has been used in many cyberpunk genre role-playing games.

The memorable Scrap Brain Zone level from the original Sonic the Hedgehog features an almost identical score to the Blade Runner 'End Title' theme, and is clearly a direct tribute.

Seven versions of the film exist, but only the Director's Cut and International Cut are widely known and seen:

* The original 1982 International Cut (also known as Criterion Edition), which included more graphic violence than the U.S. theatrical release, and which was released on VHS and on Criterion Collection Laserdisc.
* The U.S. theatrical version (also known as Original Version), also called the domestic cut.
* Two workprint versions, shown only as audience test previews and occasionally at film festivals; one of these was distributed in 1991, as a Director's Cut without Scott's approval.
* The Ridley Scott-approved 1992 Director's Cut; prompted by the unauthorized 1991 release, it is to date the only version officially released on DVD.
* The broadcast version, edited for profanity.
* Warner Home Video has scheduled both theatrical and DVD releases of Ridley Scott's final cut of the film for 2007.

The 1982 American and European theatrical versions released by the studio included a "happy ending" (using stock footage from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining) and a voice-over added at the request of studio executives during post-production after test audience members indicated difficulty understanding the film. Although several different versions of the script had included a voice-over of some sort, both Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford disliked the studio V.O. and resisted having it added to the film. It's been rumoured Ford intentionally did the voice-over poorly in the hope it wouldn't be used, but recent interviews indicate otherwise.

In 1990, Warner Bros briefly allowed theatrical screenings of a 70 mm copy of the workprint version of the film, advertising it as a Director's Cut. However, Ridley Scott publicly disowned the workprint version of the film as his definitive Director's Cut, citing that it was roughly edited and lacked the score composed for the film by Vangelis. In response to Scott's dissatisfaction (and in part because of the film's resurgent cult popularity in the early 90s) Warner Brothers decided to assemble a definitive Director's Cut of the film with direction from Scott to be released in 1992.

They hired film-restorationist Michael Arick, who had been the one that rediscovered the workprint of Blade Runner and who was already doing consultation work for them, to head up the project with Scott. He started by spending several months in London with Les Healey, who had been the assistant editor on Blade Runner, attempting to compile a list of the changes that Scott wanted made to the film. He also got a number of suggestions/directions directly from the director himself. Arick made several changes to the film, most of them fairly minor editing changes, including the reinsertion of Deckard finding Gaff's origami unicorn in the hallway near his apartment at the film's closing. However, three major changes were made to the film which most would agree significantly changed the feel of the film: the removal of Deckard's explanatory voice-over, the re-insertion of a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest, and the removal of the studio imposed "happy-ending", including some associated visuals which had originally run under the film's end-credits. The original sequence of Deckard's unicorn dream wasn't found in a sufficiently high quality print; the original scene shows Deckard intercut with the running unicorn. So Arick used a different print that just shows the unicorn running without any cut to Deckard.

Scott has since complained that time and money constraints and his obligation to Thelma and Louise kept him from retooling the film in a completely satisfactory manner, and that while he's happier than before with the 1992 release of the film, he's never felt entirely comfortable with it as his definitive Director's Cut.

Originally released as a single-disc DVD in 1997, the Director's Cut was one of the first DVDs on the market. However, it is of low quality compared to DVDs of today due to it being produced in the early days of the format.

Partly as the result of those complaints, Scott was invited back in mid-2000 to help put together a final and definitive version of the film, which was completed in mid-2001. During the process, a new digital print of the film was created from the original negatives, special effects were updated and cleaned, and the sound was remastered in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. Unlike the rushed 1992 Director's Cut, Scott personally oversaw the new cut as it was being made. The Special Edition DVD was slated for a Christmas time 2001 release, and was originally rumoured to be a three-disc set including the full international theatrical cut, an early workprint with additional scenes, and the newly enhanced version in addition to deleted scenes, extensive cast and crew interviews, and the documentary "On the Edge of Blade Runner". But Warner Bros indefinitely delayed the "Special Edition" release after legal disputes began with the film's original completion bond guarantors (specifically Jerry Perenchio), who were ceded ownership of the film when the shooting ran over budget from $21.5 to $28 million.

After years of legal disputes, Warner Brothers announced in 2006 that it had finally secured full distribution rights to the film. They planned for three stages of releases for the film. First, a digitally remastered single-disc limited re-release of the 1992 Director's Cut was released on September 5, 2006 and on October 9, 2006 in Ireland and the UK. Second, Ridley Scott's new "Final Cut" of the film is scheduled for theatrical release in 2007. The third and final phase, a multi-disc box set including the two previously mentioned cuts, the U.S. and International cuts, and bonus features, is also scheduled for 2007. Warner Bros. has plans to release this box set not only on DVD, but also on the HD DVD and Blu-ray disc formats.

On the Edge of Blade Runner (55 minutes), produced in 2000 by Nobles Gate Ltd. (for Channel 4), was directed by Andrew Abbott and hosted/written by Mark Kermode, and will be included in the Special Edition. Interviews with production staff, including Scott, give details of the creative process and the turmoil during preproduction. Stories from Paul M. Sammon and Fancher provide insight into Philip K. Dick and the origins of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Interweaved are cast interviews (with the notable exceptions of Harrison Ford and Sean Young), which convey some of the difficulties of making the film (including an exacting director and humid, smoggy weather). There is also a tour of some locations, most notably the Bradbury Building and the Warner Brothers back lot that became the LA 2019 streets, and which look very different from Scott's dark vision.

The documentary then details the test screenings and the resulting changes (the voice over, the happy ending, and the deleted Holden hospital scene), the special effects, the soundtrack by Vangelis, and the unhappy relationship between the filmmakers and the investors which culminated in Deeley and Scott being fired but still working on the film. The question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant surfaces.

Future Shocks (27 minutes) is a more recent documentary from 2003 by TVOntario (part of their Film 101 series using footage compiled over the years for Saturday Night at the Movies). It includes interviews with executive producer Bud Yorkin, Syd Mead, and the cast, this time with Sean Young, but still without Harrison Ford. There is extensive commentary by science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer and from film critics, as the documentary focuses on the themes, visual impact and influence of the film. Edward James Olmos describes Ford's participation and personal experiences during filming are related by Young, Walsh, Cassidy and Sanderson. They also relate a story about crew members creating t-shirts that took pot shots at Scott. The different versions of the film are critiqued and the accuracy of its predictions of the future are discussed.

The original screenplay by Hampton Fancher was based loosely on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which he optioned in 1980 after an unsuccessful previous attempt. However, Fancher's script focused more on environmental issues and less on issues of humanity and faith, which weighed heavily in the novel. When Ridley Scott became involved with the film, he wanted changes to the script made, and eventually hired David Peoples to perform the re-writes after Fancher refused. The film's title also changed several times during the writing process, it was to be called Dangerous Days in Fancher's last draft before eventually taking the name Blade Runner, actually borrowed (with permission) from a William S. Burroughs treatment of Alan E. Nourse's science fiction novel The Bladerunner (1974).

As a result of Fancher's divergence from the novel, numerous re-writes before and throughout shooting the film, and the fact that Ridley Scott never entirely read the novel it was based on, the film diverged significantly from its original inspiration. The changes have led many critics and fans to consider them as independent works of fiction, despite the fact that the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was reprinted for a time with the title Blade Runner with the intention of promoting sales. Some of the themes in the novel that were minimized or entirely removed include: fertility/sterility of the population, religion, mass media, Deckard's uncertainty that he is human, and real versus synthetic pets and emotions.

The producers of the film arranged for a screening of some rough cuts for Philip K. Dick shortly before he died in early 1982. Despite the fact that the movie deviated significantly from his book and his well known skepticism of Hollywood in principle, he became quite enthusiastic about the film. He predicted that: "This will change the way we look at movies."

The film also draws upon We Can Build You, another of Dick's novels. In chapter 3 of We Can Build You, another character named Pris is described as wearing "odd make-up, eyes outlined in black, a harlequin effect, and almost purple lipstick; the whole colour scheme made her appear unreal and doll-like". This description inspired the make-up worn by Pris in Blade Runner.

Three official and authorized Blade Runner novels have been written by Philip K. Dick's friend K. W. Jeter that continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to resolve many of the differences between Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

* Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (1995)
* Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night (1996)
* Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon (2000)

David Peoples, who co-wrote Blade Runner and wrote the 1998 film Soldier, has said that Soldier is intended to be what he calls a "sidequel" to Blade Runner. Soldier takes place in the same fictional universe, and the spinners used in Blade Runner are also used in Soldier. However, Soldier is an informal sequel as it was never formally approved by the Blade Runner partnership, which owns the rights to the Blade Runner universe.

Though not an official sequel to Blade Runner, many fans have noted similarities between the 1999 television series Total Recall 2070 and the Blade Runner universe. Total Recall 2070 was based on two works by Phillip K. Dick: "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (the basis for Total Recall), and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis for Blade Runner), so many consider the series a sequel to (or at least a spin-off of) Blade Runner.

There are two computer games based on the film, one for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC 6128 by CRL Group PLC (1985) based on the music by Vangelis (due to licensing issues), and another action adventure PC game by Westwood Studios (1997). The latter game featured new characters and branching storylines based on the Blade Runner world, coupled with voice work from some of the original cast from the film and some recurring locations from the film. It is noteworthy that the events portrayed in the 1997 game occur not after, but in parallel to those in the film — the player assumes the role of another replicant-hunter working at the same time as Deckard, though of course they never meet, so as to remain consistent with the film. The game was highly advanced for its time, featuring a non linear plot, and advanced non player characters that each ran in their own independent AI. Unfortunately, the game was hobbled by an unusual 3D engine that was credible when the game went into production, but outclassed by the time the game was finally released.

A prototype board game was also created in California (1982) that had game play similar to Scotland Yard.

The cult computer game Snatcher was heavily influenced by Blade Runner, so much so that websites exist detailing the numerous similarities between the two.

Archie Goodwin scripted the comic book adaptation, A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner, published September, 1982. The Jim Steranko cover leads into a 45-page adaptation illustrated by the team of Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Dan Green and Ralph Reese. This adaptation was poorly received and widely ridiculed because of poor writing and misquoted dialogue taken from the film. (This adaptation includes one possible explanation of the title's significance in story context: the narrative line, "Blade runner. You're always movin' on the edge.") Also there was a parody comic of Blade Runner called Blade Bummer by Crazy comics.

Steve Gallacci wrote and illustrated an anthropomorphic parody of the film as Bad Rubber in the prototype issue (Number 0) of his comic book title Albedo Anthropomorphics. The character based on Rick Deckard was a duck named "Rick Duckard".

Among the folklore that has grown up around the film over the years has been the belief that the film was a curse to the companies whose logos were displayed prominently in some scenes. While they were market leaders at the time, many of them experienced disastrous setbacks over the next decade and hardly exist today:

* Atari, which dominated the home video game market when the film came out, never recovered from the next year's downturn in the industry, and by the 1990s had ceased to exist as anything more than a brand, a back catalogue of games and some legacy computers.
* The Bell System monopoly was broken up that same year, and all of the resulting Regional Bell operating companies have since changed their names and merged with each other or other companies.
* Pan Am suffered the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 and went bankrupt in 1991, after a decade of mounting losses.
* Cuisinart similarly went bankrupt in 1989.

Coca-Cola almost joined this list in the wake of its failed introduction of New Coke three years later, but has since experienced a thirty-fold increase in share price.
Virtual Magic Is A Human Knowledge Database Blog Consisting Of Three Separate But Equal Blogs: Virtual Magic, Blended Exposures, And Comprisal. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2006 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
posted by Virtual Magic at Sunday, October 29, 2006