Blade Runner

Blade Runner ★★★★★

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in tears in the rain..."

The year was 2007, and it happened on a cold, rainy November evening. My daughter was born only a month earlier, and with a whopping 30 some days of true adult responsibility under my belt I felt it was mandatory I go out and spend way too much money on myself. My wife agreed. We were young and dumb, and credit cards felt like a piece of plastic that opened a portal to free, flashy goods. Fucking monthly minimum payments and obscene interest rates weren't even on our radar. It was glorious.

My sights were set on obtaining my first flat screen television, but no chance I could spend that kinda scratch unless I could match it in the direction of the Mrs., whatever she wanted that could match the intoxicating splendor of dazzling images pouring into my rods and cones. Two years earlier in 2005, I had proposed to her but money was, to put it lightly, limited. She understood that I couldn't do much in the department of jewelry, so a dirt cheap ring slipped onto her finger, a symbol of love but not something one would rush to show off to their friends or family. That brings us back to that cold, rainy November evening. A ring. She wanted an actual ring, still none of this three months salary bullshit but one that at the very least might sparkle under the right light. She got a ring, and I got my big, beautiful TV. I know priorities differ from person to person, but I still feel like I got the better end of that deal.

Do you remember the high definition physical media format war? I sure do. Everyone knows what Blu-ray is, and hell, some of you have even moved onto 4K discs, but back in 2007 there was competition that went by the name of HD-DVD created by the brand Toshiba. I remember it well because I was one of the losers of the format war. I chose wrong. That very same November evening that I went home with a television, I also had an HD-DVD player and a few films to jump start a collection. The very first one I watched was Blade Runner, and my god it was so beautiful. A black screen with white font opening credits plastered across it never looked so sexy, and then it cuts to the glow of city lights and bursts of fire blasting from smokestacks scattered among buildings that seem never ending. Why not christen my new beloved high definition media player with a visually stunning masterpiece? It was the perfect choice.

The HD-DVD's are long gone, but I will always remember them and the way the rain felt coming in sideways across my face on that November evening thanks to Blade Runner, Ridley Scott's work of futuristic science fiction brilliance that transported audiences all the way into the year 2019. If only they knew back in 1982 just how little the world would look like the one an imagination was able to conceive of, but that isn't a complaint. Sure, the 1980's had me anticipating a future filled with flying cars, but witnessing the decay of a metropolis past its prime isn't exactly my cup of tea. What can I say, I am a suburbs kinda guy.

Lead by Harrison Ford with terrific supporting work from Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah and easily one of my favorite film villains of all time, Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, the most remarkable thing about Blade Runner is the fact that the film hasn't lost a single step despite being released 35 years ago. I wasn't even born for another two years after audiences got to take their seats in the theater to witness this picture, and yet nothing feels dated. I will watch movies released 10 to 15 years after Blade Runner hit the cinemas that present a world that was designed to be mocked down the road, one that lived and breathed in its moment only with no prospects to survive into the future, yet Scott, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth and writers Hampton Fancher and David Peoples managed to cohesively craft something that was destined to be a classic.

Thousands of days have gone by since that night in November when I unwrapped my brand new electronics and gave Blade Runner its first HD spin, so many moments lost in time, like tears in the rain, yet I can still vividly remember that feeling of seeing this film look more stunning than I could have ever imagined. Maybe I can chalk it up to being such an exciting feeling, going out and doing something financially ill-advised and completely spur of the moment at a time when I quickly transitioned from a lifetime of total freedom to a sea of dirty diapers and middle of the night feedings and the terrifying realization that my existence had transferred from being about me to meaning so much more.

I wonder though, what if I had watched some shitty, forgettable film that night? Would it have tainted the memory I now have? Would I remember it at all? Perhaps none of it resonates without Blade Runner.

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