"The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long…"
Unlike replicants, Blade Runner is a light that will never go out despite burning extremely brightly since its release on June 25, 1982. To celebrate the movie hitting the 30-year mark, here is the second part of our look at its defining moments following on from the previous 30-16 rundown...
The Blade Runner Stripe Makeup
Initially suggested by Ridley Scott, the bold make-up would prove to be very influential in popular culture - as shown by the accompanying picture of Annie Lennox on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in September 1983.
"My glands. They grow old too fast," says the wrinkly JF Sebastian as he reveals his age is just 25 and that his medical condition prohibits him from leaving the hellish Earth for an Off-World colony. The accelerated ageing, which JF puts down to Methuselah Syndrome, is quickly picked up on by Roy as he nears the end of his own diminished lifespan: "We've got a lot in common. Similar problems."
There's a sinister sexual undertone in the sequence between JF, Pris and Roy as the two replicants tell the genetic designer how much they need him. Consider how Sebastian told them that "there's a part of me in you" after discovering they were Nexus 6 models, and how Pris and Roy are effectively the synthetic equivalent of brother and sister. Yet Pris kisses her 'relatives' liberally and playfully, although replicants may not compute the concept of incest in their emotional evolution.
Daryl Hannah and Rutger Hauer have different interpretations according to Future Noir. "I thought that Pris was eternally grateful to Roy, because she'd been designed as a pleasure unit and he'd saved her from a life of prostitution," said the actress. Hauer, however, felt "it was a somewhat incestuous relationship. As if Pris were almost his sister".
"I want more life, FATHER!"
One of Blade Runner's most discussed moments (a feat in itself), is the exchange between Roy and his maker Tyrell in the latter's bedroom, in which the replicant pleads for an extension to his lifespan. Packed full of brilliant quotes, the line that has been the biggest bone of contention is: "I want more life, father."
Previous released versions of the movie prior to the 'Final Cut' featured Roy saying "I want more life f**ker". At the time of filming, Rutger Hauer was apparently instructed to mouth the word so it could be dubbed over with 'father' for television transmissions without looking too obvious. For once, the censored version is much superior.
Kiss and Kill
A seemingly tender kiss for his 'father' Tyrell is followed by Roy savagely dispatching him to meet the God of biomechanics. Eyes feature prominently yet again in Blade Runner, as Roy pushes his thumbs into Tyrell's eye sockets and crushes his head. The 'Final Cut' restores a gorier and longer depiction (seen at the end of the clip below), which was filmed with the help of a dummy head taken from a mould of actor Joe Turkel's face. It's worth pointing out that the kiss was reportedly unscripted and Rutger Hauer's suggestion.
Rutger's Elevatory Emoting
Bathed in streaks of neon, his face contorts into something akin to a scalded child as the replicant tries to emotionally process one of these "questionable things" he has done. It's a very brief but telling moment featuring great work from Rutger Hauer, who revealed that Roy is clutching JF Sebastian's jacket at the time, which was just out of shot.
The Thighs The Limit
Who knew that having your head clamped between Daryl Hannah's thighs could be so dangerous? Perhaps that's why her legs were replaced by a scaly fish tail in Splash, to save Tom Hanks? Making GoldenEye's Xenia Onatopp look like she could barely crack a nut in comparison, Pris uses her superhuman strength and athletic abilities to give Deckard an unconventional beating.
Producer Michael Deeley described the scene in the book Harrison Ford: The Films: "The fight between Harrison and her is quite vicious and we all cringed when she put her two fingers in Harrison's nostrils to haul him up. Harrison came up with that idea and, even though all of us found it very painful to watch, he insisted on doing it."
Frog In A Blender
South African legspinner Paul Adams's unorthodox bowling action was likened to a 'frog in a blender', but his flailing limbs were sedate compared to the frenzied demise of Pris after Deckard shoots her. Shown at the end of the clip above, her 'retirement' is always harrowing to watch.
It appears that Quentin Tarantino admired the sequence to such an extent that he had Daryl Hannah reenact it as Elle Driver in Kill Bill: Volume 2. Just watch this:
The Disappearing Tongue
A tender and subtle moment that's easily overlooked amidst the surrounding action occurs when Roy Batty discovers Pris's body and kisses her, generating more empathy for the lethal replicant.
Prior to the kiss, Pris's tongue was protruding but not after, which was apparently Rutger Hauer's idea. The Dutch actor said: "By pushing Pris's tongue back into her mouth, Roy Batty buries her. It's a way to make her presentable." Hannah added: "He just pushed my tongue back in with his own. He didn't eat it!"
Batty vs Deckard
An epic fight sequence packed with so many brilliant moments, Roy Batty's humiliation of Rick Deckard is best seen in full glory rather than broken down into chunks (the same could be said of the entire film, but let's overlook that!). The finger crunching, verbal taunting, Rutger 'Howler' and head through the wall are all key components of this tense and sporadically macabre clash.
The Vertiginous Girder Shot
A potent image of a creature living in fear, clinging on for dear life. Deckard's predicament evokes the tortoise from Leon's Voight-Kampf test, trapped on its back and baking to death in the desert sun. As Roy points out before he saves the man tasked with 'retiring' him, "Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it?" Yet unlike Leon in the test, Roy saves the ailing creature...
The audacious visual effect was created by using a matte painting by Matt Yuricich, with Harrison Ford holding on to a girder on the three-storey high rooftop set with a drop of 20 feet. There were big health and safety fears about the camera, a very heavy object, being suspended right above Ford's head, but these were ultimately overcome.
Tears In The Rain
Who hasn't tried to quote this beautiful soliloquy delivered by Roy Batty shortly before his lifespan runs out? No more words needed, just watch...
"It's too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?"
Deckard is reminded of those prophetic words from Gaff after collecting Rachael from his apartment and finding an origami unicorn left for him. A knowing nod from Deckard seems to indicate that he acknowledges his replicant status, as the origami suggests that Gaff knows the nature of his implanted dreams (hence the unicorn sequence earlier in the film) much like Deckard knew all about Rachael's childhood spider with the orange body.
Dangerous days lie ahead for Deckard and Rachael, as by protecting her from 'retirement' he becomes a fugitive himself. Could their fate be addressed in the upcoming Blade Runner sequel?
Vangelis's End Theme
The perfect musical accompaniment to the outpouring of feelings and thoughts brought on by the movie's sudden ending. Even though there's no hidden sequence involving Samuel L Jackson recruiting Deckard, you simply must watch until the end credits have finished thanks to Vangelis's sonic mastery.
The absence of a 'Shining' happy ending...
Much like replicants resented their status as commodity-driven entities, audiences grew to loathe the original release's tacked-on ending added by gormless execs thinking of business rather than art.
Containing aerial outtakes from The Shining (after bad weather scuppered a shoot) and Deckard's tedious narration, the sickly denouement makes one appreciate just how magnificent Ridley Scott's intended (and ultimately restored) ending was - in all its abrupt and ambiguous glory.
Blade Runner's Greatest Moments: The Digital Spy Cut
For a movie with so many versions and additions over the years, it's only fair to honour Blade Runner with a bonus clip featuring a great argument from Ridley Scott that should resolve the 'Is Deckard a replicant?' debate. Straight from the unicorn's mouth...
What is your favourite Blade Runner moment and what do you hope to see in the sequel? Leave your comments in the space below.