To­tal Re­cal

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents - Richard Ed­wards, Ed­i­tor Rich is won­der­ing what the three- month- old Roy Batty is up to right now.

Richard Ed­wards re­lives Blade Run­ner’s open­ing se­quence.

Blade Run­ner is es­sen­tially one great big iconic mo­ment of a movie. It’s one of the most im­i­tated sci- fi films ever, a per­fect melange of vis­ual styling, hard- boiled cop drama and plau­si­ble dystopian fu­ture. But as great as “tears in rain” and por­ing over clues to Rick Deckard’s repli­cant sta­tus are, the scene that’s al­ways stood out for me is the movie’s very first. Sorry Star Wars, but the ini­tial frames of Ri­d­ley Scott’s sci- fi clas­sic could well be the great­est es­tab­lish­ing scene in the his­tory of cin­ema. Eighty di­a­logue- free sec­onds tell you every­thing you need to know about the per­ma­nently over­cast Los An­ge­les of 2019.

Mas­sive balls of flame shoot into the sky from gi­ant fac­tory chim­ney stacks. A taxi­cab “spin­ner” flies past the cam­era. Light­ning crack­les from the clouds. And be­neath them lies an ex­panse of street­lights. It’s a stun­ning view un­like any we’d seen be­fore, a futuristic ur­ban sprawl lit­tered with oddly shaped sky­scrapers and – even­tu­ally – the gar­gan­tuan shrine to os­ten­ta­tious­ness that is the Tyrell pyra­mid. As a piece of world- build­ing it’s sub­lime, and – with the whole cityscape cre­ated as a six- me­tre- wide minia­ture – a won­der­ful tes­ta­ment to pre- CG model- mak­ing. But it’s also a work of art. The fire­balls, fly­ing cars and light­ning bolts; the arty, seem­ingly ran­dom shots of an eye­ball re­flect­ing back LA; the cam­era zoom­ing in on a win­dow in the Tyrell build­ing where Blade Run­ner Holden is about to test a po­ten­tial repli­cant… Every­thing is chore­ographed to per­fec­tion against Van­ge­lis’s synth score, mu­sic that’s si­mul­ta­ne­ously up­lift­ing and melan­cholic, futuristic yet nos­tal­gic for the past. If you meet any­body who fails to get an emo­tional re­sponse from such a sub­lime minute of cin­ema, you may just have caught your­self a repli­cant.

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