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Running time...should Blade Runner be shorter?

Discussion in 'Blade Runner' started by william b, Jul 31, 2011.

    william b

    william b New Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    I have the Final Cut of Blade Runner on DVD and sometimes (okay, often) I will fast forward through sections of the film.
    I realize 2001 A Space Odyssey often gets a pass for it's more tedious scenes because it's considered a landmark film.
    Blade Runner has achieved a similar status.
    But as I watch the film, as fantastic as some visuals are, I will skip ahead.
    After years of watching and rewatching different versions, I'm sort of a mind that it would be a better film if they cut 20 to 30 minutes from the Final Cut.
    I know some people would consider that blasphemy but the way the Final Cut plays, I find it often lulls me into a bored state and the interesting themes of the film kind of get lost.
    Scenes I often skip:
    Batty and Leon interrogating and then killing the guy who made their eyes. It seems unnecessary. We've already established that Leon killed a guy. And delaying Batty's intro until Sebastian's apartment makes makes him all the stranger in the scenes where he's intimidating Sebastian.
    Deckard examining the photograph of Leon's apartment with the computer when he already has the snake scale that leads him to Zhora anyway.
    Deckard inviting Rachel to the trashy nightclub over vid-phone. I know it's there to remind us that he's thinking of Rachel, but it just slows down the plot. I just jump from Deckard drinking at the bar to him hearing Zhora's act starting from the bar.
    Rachel playing the piano in Deckard's apartment. There is important dialogue in this scene but once they sit at the piano, it's like the movie wants to put you to sleep.
    Batty telling Pris that Zhora and Leon are dead. I kind of like not know whether the Replicants really mourn their dead. Rachel has already given us the sympathetic Replicant to relate to. And the way Batty and Pris toy with Sebastian is kind of sadistic anyway. I don't want to identify with them in this scene.
    Towards the end, Deckard and Batty's chase through the building is really long. After Pris is shot I fast forward a lot.
    Last time I watched it I skipped from the the end of the first scene where Holden gets shot to the scene where Deckard is being briefed by Bryant about the Replicants. I realize this skips the beautiful flight and landing of the spinner and Deckard's scene arguing with Bryant, but you know what? We know it's the future. We can deduce Deckard is a cop with an attitude. The scenes are sort of unnecessary.
    I also skipped the kissing scene between Deckard and Rachel where he gets kind of rough with her. It seemed kind of distracting. Deckard is reluctant to get involved with her because he knows she's "fake." They are discussing how disturbed they are after shooting the other replicants...and then after lying around she goes to leave and he demands sex? It didn't really work for me.
    All of this is really a matter of taste. Film purists will want to watch Blade Runner the Final Cut in it's unaltered form as the director intended. I certainly would want to see the director's version before making any judgments for myself....but it's a strange film and a lot of the people who worked on it even say they think it is an oddity that they consider an "art film" of sorts.

    Vladd67 Stake Holder

    Jun 10, 2007
    Part of the problem with the final cut is the removal of the voice over. There are a lot of scenes such as the flight of the police car which appear to be just eye candy but originally had Deckard's voice over, which seemed to give them more meaning..
    william b

    william b New Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    Well, the voice over is a matter of controversy for some.
    I understand why some people like it and why some people don't.
    I think Ford did a bad job on the voice over...but sometimes it helps maintain interest in those long scenes.
    I might not mind if someday they got a sound-a-like to redo it and cut SOME of the voice over as it was written for the 82 version. Perhaps a FINAL Final Cut and-we-mean-it-this-time of Blade Runner. :)
    william b

    william b New Member

    Jun 6, 2011
    I admit, maybe 30 minutes is kind of extreme.
    I'm not a film editor and I am just a movie fan that perhaps uses his fast forward button too much.
    I do admit, there is something intriguing about this film that people still find worth watching and discussing 30 years later. Obviously I'm drawn to it myself.


    Oct 23, 2008
    That's my feeling too - I'm not as religious about there being or not being a voiceover as some people (as an insult to the audience's intelligence, I'm against it; as a nod to film noir, I'm for it) but its absence does slow down the film.

    It may not so much be that for me but just that the voice over and visuals give your brain two tracks to follow and seem to take half the time. With nothing but visuals, you have nothing to do but stare. And the visuals are great, but could still be tightened.

    But the star of that scene is the eye guy. It demonstrates what a low-rent lame job some genetic engineering is in Future LA, but the guy's into his work.

    But this is kind of the action climax and has a lot of Roy's banter and Deckard's fear and will-to-live. It's part of the big swing to the tears-in-rain speech.

    Still, I agree that the movie can be tightened - almost everything can. :)
    Patrick Mahon

    Patrick Mahon Would-be author

    Feb 15, 2006
    Interesting discussion - thanks. I've just got hold of the Director's Cut on DVD, so will watch it with your comments in mind. Thanks all!

    littlemissattitude Super Moderator

    Jun 30, 2003
    Central California
    You know, I've never been able to sit through Blade Runner. I've tried to watch it a number of times, and I've fallen asleep every single time. It should be the sort of film I'd like, and even if not, well, Harrison Ford. I sat through Hannover Street, for goodness' sake, which was a terrible movie. Also, Heroes (yeah, not referring to the TV series, but a movie from the late 1970s, in which he played a Vietnam War vet with some pretty serious issues), which wasn't any better and might have been worse. But, for some reason, Blade Runner sends me napping every single time.

    I can't even say that the reason it does this is because it is too long and needs to be shorter, since I've never lasted more than fifteen or twenty minutes into it before falling asleep.

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