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Cinematical on "SciFi Is Dead"

Following up on the interesting, and hopefully on-going discussion, Cinematical, in the guise of Richard von Busack, weighs in with the following remark:

What I haven’t been seeing is someone making the point that Blade Runner is film noir dressed in a sci-fi costume, just like Scott’s other famous sci-fi film Alien, is a monster movie set in outer space. #

That would be because by now, it is largely implied. But it’s a bit more complex than that tough, which the ‘spine’ test will show. It goes as follows: If you rip the science fiction elements out of Blade Runner, will it still play? The answer is, no. It would glide down around its own ankles. If rip the science fiction elements out of Alien, will it still play? The answer is, yes.

Blade Runner isn’t ‘dressed’ in science fiction. Puh-lease.

When it comes to the essential matter of sci-fi — what humans are, where we are going, and when will we cease to exist — Scott is only slightly interested … especially when compared to the Philip K. Dick novel upon which Blade Runner is based. Watching it, you have to recall Pauline Kael’s comment that almost everyone in the film would flunk the Voight-Kampff empathy test that ferrets out skin-jobs.

Firstly, in my opinion, Blade Runner is far superior to the book on which it is based. I love PKD, but he does ramble from time to time, and the book suffers from it. That said, I also like the book, but that’s another matter.

We, humans, have driven our civilization into the ground and overpopulated the Earth whilst doing so. We’re dehumanized, and our only saving grace, is our creation of the ‘more human than human’ replicants…

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Roy.

So I am forced to ask, in counter to:

As the director of such a high-tech, low-emotion film, is Scott really in a position to nail shut the coffin of an entire genre?

As the writer for such a well-known blog on movies, are you simply writing to fill your quota? Or do you have something proper, to share with the rest of us?

JournalMichael Heilemann