I’m under the impression that I should have watched this movie before reading the book. After finishing the movie, I have to say it feels a bit rushed? Even more rushed than I considered the novel.
I can see how a viewer watching this movie for the first time without prior knowledge from the book could feel a bit lost. For starters why did Deckard leave the police force in the beginning of the movie? Who is the guy with the cane that follows him around everywhere? Deckard’s only motivation for killing the ‘replicants’ is that he is made to? Since there was no back story on animals in Bladerunner , the entire segment of the voight-kampff test with Rachel isn’t as impactful as it could have been(21:38). Not only the test, but all scenes with synthetic animals have less of an impact because of a lack of background information. A host of all other references or lack there of, put me at constant odds with this movie.
It seems to me that the entirety of the film was based solely on human to replicant interaction. Principally, how Deckard interacts with the replicant’s he is charged with hunting. That is all well and good, but there was just not enough character development for us to care about any of the replicants. A good example of this is ‘Miss Salome’. Instead of the depth we had with Luba Luft in the novel, we have this character that outright attacks Deckard(54:56). Without any sort of meaningful interaction with Deckard, It’s hard to see why he would be as affected by killing ‘her’, when he had no chance to get to know her. Especially since he is supposed to be a veteran bladerunner (12:27).
Deckard’s lack of back story is another point of frustration here. Who were those people in the photographs on his piano (1:08:22)? Why didn’t he move off planet? Without Iran from the novel, Deckard has no grounding facet to his character. Instead he is presented as this loner-maverick that realizes he has a thing for replicants, after having killed so many; another puzzling thing.
Another defining aspect of the film seems to be, that it relies to much on visuals to tell it’s narrative. A good chunk of screen time is dedicated to showing the metropolis. From the Tyrell pyramids to the streets of the city. It seems to want to over impress onto viewers into seeing how artificial and ‘dystopian’ the world is. I suppose that is the natural thing for movies to do, but it leaves precious little screen time for the things that matter. Namely developing the characters, and through that, opening up the possibility for layered and complex motives.
As it stands, the film leaves it up to the actors and actresses to display their intentions and internal struggles through their acting. While I applaud the actors for their work, it all ultimately falls flat do to lack of proper context and backstory. The only relationship that can somewhat make sense, is Deckard’s infatuation with Rachel. Even that is a very shaky assumption. I get that he feels bad about her short life span and borrowed memories, but is that a reasonable pretense for ‘love'(1:51:11). Rather it seems Deckard is motivated out of guilt than anything else.
In closing Bladerunner feels rushed and underdeveloped compared to the novel. The Novel shines in its layered complexity, the movie on the other hand, feels shallow in comparison. Granted I feel the Novel could have had a more satisfying end as I mentioned in my previous posts; I would still choose the novel over the movie any day. Did I enjoy the movie? I think I would have, if as I said in the beginning, I had watched it before reading the novel.