Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens
Reviews for Blade Runner were largely negative. It is a film that has warmed up over time and caused numerous critics to conveniently 'flip' their opinions when the extended cut came out back in the 90s.
Other than film buffs, everyone I know dislikes the film, calling or boring or dull. To me it is the atmosphere that makes it what it is.
I'm as big a BladeRunner fanatic as anyone else, having seen it something like 20 times in the theaters and countless times on home formats over the years.
However, I was disappointed by my first few viewings, finding the drama and characters generally pretty flat. It was the incredible visuals and sounds, the texture of the world, that drew me back. I think it's the same for most folks.
The thing about BladeRunner getting "better" over repeat viewings is that I think it's somewhat murky what is actually happening, subjectively. For me it got "better" insofar as my initial disappointment lowered the bar, as in "ok, the drama is pretty flat, but I'm going to enjoy the atmosphere." In which case, the drama no longer had to rise to my original expectations, or even to the level of interest I hold for many other films. So in that way the film "got better" over time because it I appreciated the very high bar it set visually, but had lowered the bar dramatically.
Further, since the texture of the movie brought me back so often, there is the familiarity effect, where little things grow on you over time. I'm well acquainted with this: as a sound FX editor/designer, over many years I've worked on everything from movies and TV series with excellent writing, acting, scripts to completely lame on all counts. But what happens is that over time working on a movie or especially a TV series, after the first go it no longer has to meet your expectations, and then as you grow more and more familiar with the characters, you start to see more things in the acting and script that you can pick up on and like. It seems to happen with any content, no matter how lame, at least with me.
So when it comes to a movie like Bladerunner being initially underappreciated, as if it's brilliance were there only to be found over time, I'm a little skeptical about it. Pretty much everyone acknowledged it's visual and sonic brilliance. It's what brought most of us back to repeated viewings. But I think initial reactions to the drama and characters tend to actually be pretty accurate. And it's why people who haven't seen the film many times over have the perspective that, yeah, it really does tend to be dramatically a bit dodgy. (Though I love the film totally at this point).
That's one reason why I don't go along with the "They called Bladerunner disappointing" apologetics for Prometheus. They initially called Bladerunner disappointing for good reason, not necessarily as some oversight. The question seems to be whether Prometheus will offer as much stylistic incentive for many of us to come back to it over time, and start to look over it's failings - failings that really are failing compared to what could have been, and what has been often accomplished in other more fully rounded movies.
And speaking of more fully rounded movies...
Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens
By the way, my wife had never seen ALIEN so last night we sat down to watch it on Blu-Ray. She thought it was a snoozfest and kept falling asleep. She has no desire to see ALIENS or PROMETHEUS.
I weep for you brother, but I share your fate. My wife would never watch Alien with me anyway.
I just watched Alien again last night with a friend (on my projection system).
Blown away, as usual. Unlike Bladerunner, when I saw Alien for the first time in the theaters EVERYTHING in it seemed to be hitting a bulls-eye. Aside from the obvious visuals and art direction, editing, story etc. the acting was so nuanced and authentic it helped sell the whole package (Tom Skerritt's underplayed ship captain is the stand out for me, next being Sigourney Weaver who has never been better...after Alien she's always struck me as somewhat wooden). When I watch it today it's all around excellence is what sticks out.
I can't quite figure out the source of Scott's inconsistency in regards to writing and acting in the films comprising his career. It careens from such excellence to abysmal "was there anyone actually at the wheel here?" incompetence. It's almost like he has a tin-ear for drama and character, and this his successes amount to some form of lucky circumstances that just the right writers/cast come together and do THEIR job, to get it right. (Though I can't totally go with that, given how indispensable some of Scott's touches are to the process, like the way he coddled the realism of the "lived in" effect of cast and ship in Alien).