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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down BLADE RUNNER rip offs

    BLADE RUNNER is a visionary film in terms of both its obvious futuristic look and style, and its thematic elements. Thematically, it's a neo-noir dystopian love story and an exploration of what it is to be human, what it might be like to be granted the chance to be able to re-do a missed opportunity (especially in regards to "love") and how the dystopia shapes our perception of who we are and what we are capable of. While Ridley Scott was definitely the guiding force behind shaping the difficult PK Dick novel into the film (making many changes and improvements on the way), many of these elements are evident in the source material, from the visual cues (eyes, related to being and life, and the various futuristic technologies like the "Esper" machine that goes "into" Leon's photograph to find hidden information, etc.) to the thematic elements such as the difficulty of determining real from fake in this awful future.

    BLADE RUNNER spawned a resurgence of interest in PK Dick's work, and many more film adaptations. They all pretty much fail for the simple reason that no one could figure out how to show these thematic elements using a new visional cue. For instance, MINORITY REPORT with Tom Cruise: one of the major visual elements of the film is... Yep, eyes. It's lazy on the part of the filmmaker (a well known hack) that he chose to just lift this element from BLADE RUNNER and re-use it, betting that his youthful audience would have never experienced BLADE RUNNNER.

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, BLADE RUNNER may be the most admired film since CITIZEN KANE.

    So, here's a list of major movies (off the top of my head) that steal or lift important elements from BLADE RUNNER. They demonstrate that BLADE RUNNER, the actual 1982 film, remains state-of-the-art, and soars above its imitators in vision, impact and originality.

    MINORITY REPORT - Based on a PK Dick story, of course, staring Tom Cruise as a "Pre-Crime cop" using technology (much like the Esper machine) to "predict crimes before they're committed." Explores themes of who and what is real and what is not real and the truth (or untruth) of memory. Problem is, the hack director seems to have lifted whole visual cues from BLADE RUNNER, including flying cars and eye-ball close ups. Lame.

    A.I. - So, let's get this straight: people in the near future are using "more human than human" androids (called "Mechas," which is lame) as companions and slaves... Hmmm. Nexus 6? This movie is like a filmed term paper on one of the central themes of BLADE RUNNER: what is love, what is human feeling, and who feels it? What a piece of crap. Who directed this garbage?

    THE MATRIX - Without BLADE RUNNER, there would be no MATRIX. Nuff said.

    TOTAL RECALL - Also based on PK Dick source material, explores themes of the validity of memory and who's life is this anyway; themes that obsessed PK Dick. Schwarzenegger ultimately morphs into Deckard in this silly movie, which is full of inventive seeming visuals... Except they pretty much all start in BLADE RUNNER. From flying cars to Esper and Pre-Crime machines, to memory implants. An homage? Ok.

    CODE 46 - Christ this movie is terrible (and I'm feeling the sting, since I just recently watched it). In this "futuristic sci-fi romance," Tim Robbins tries to play a Deckard-like character on the hunt for a woman with forged ID papers. And there's something about DNA, something about the dystopian city vs the natural world... Or something. This movie is terrible. And pretty much every visual cue, from the neon rain-slicked Asian city streets, to the subtle just-this-side-of-futuristic clothing style, is straight outa LA 2019.

    DARK CITY - Memory, reality, rainy dark future-noir cityscapes, and even a Jennifer Connelly dressed like Sean Young's android Rachael. Please. What a waste of great images.

    GATTACAA - A creepy, slightly interesting story of genetic determination in the near future, dealing with classic PK Dick issues like what is real and what is not, who is real and who is not. Filled with slick and stylish BLADE RUNNER-esque images, but ultimately empty of content.

    PAYCHECK - In this PK Dick story, a Deckard-like future noir detective (the completely idiotic Ben Affleck) does the dirty work, then has his memory erased. But something's gone wrong, he's on the run now, and he has to piece together his memory from clues in an envelope to find out why. What is real? What is not real? What role does memory play in our behavior? Hello, Ridley, can you help us here?

    THE FIFTH ELEMENT - Probably the most egregious BLADE RUNNER rip off. I mean, flying cars, dark noir street scenes, a genetically enhanced love interest... The worst thing Luc Besson could have done. Or, could it be an homage to BLADE RUNNER by yet another director who was highly influenced by both ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER? (Could be!)

    JOHNNY MNEMONIC - Based on a story by the guy (William Gibson) who saw BLADE RUNNER and then ran home and wrote "Neuromancer," coining the word "cyberspace." Loads of PK Dick-influenced machinery and technology (and PK Dick was writing in the 60s!), this movie can not overcome its BLADE RUNNERisms, even tho Gibson is definitely plugged into the cutting edge (in his writing, at least - read "Neuromancer"!).

    STRANGE DAYS - Ah, another Deckard-like cop in near-future Los Angeles, mixed up in very PK Dick-like "virtual reality clips." What is reality? Who is alive and who is not alive? All these themes are explored in an inventive way, certainly, but the film is still topheavy with BLADE RUNNERisms, and they get in the way.

    ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND - Didn't expect an "offbeat romantic comedy" to be in this list? Well, this is a movie about memory and implants and reality. Very PK Dick, very BLADE RUNNER!

    Opinions?

    MC
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    Good summary, Micah. The one and only question is: when is the re-issue of BR going to happen (if you have any insight into this, please share). My LD version is still sitting on the shelf, and I can't wait to rewatch it on a better media, beside my LD player is long gone kaput.
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    A little overboard don't you think? Everything with flying cars: Ripoff (Add the whole Star Wars saga as ripoffs except, well ANH and ESB opened before blade runner) Anyone who might zoom in on an eye: ripoff. Anything with an implant: ripoff (SW again), etc, etc..

    All artists blantently steal from their experience and input ideas that they feel will best express their work into the art they create. If you want to be really anal about things you could just say that blade runner was a ripoff of star wars and clockwork orange. How about that to get you going... ;)
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

  4. #4
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    Chances are, there will not be a re-release on DVD of BLADE RUNNER at all. Here's the most up to date news (as far as I can tell): http://www.brmovie.com/

    If you find the current "Director's Cut" Warner Bros DVD cheap, you should pick it up. It's not a good DVD by any means, especially for such an important film, but it's the best you'll get for a long time.

    MC
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    Oh better yet, ripoff of star wars an the wizard of oz...

    Edit: The point being if you use comparisons to an original source material instead of taking them for what they are individually, of course things won't stack up. They aren't meant to. Of all the things you mentioned as creations of PK Dick, a case could be made that they were taken from the people, which had elements taken from even earlier writings.

    The essence of being human has not changed and no human has transcended our basic wants needs (regardless of what Hubbard might claim) so the themes stay constant throughout history. The only change is how we present those ideas and expand them in ways to make our own individual understanding greater, but no new ground is covered other then the means of expression.

    In the end, it's just a silly sci fi movie, get over it.
    Last edited by jdhdiggs; 09-29-2005 at 04:34 PM.
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

  6. #6
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    Everything with flying cars: Ripoff... etc
    Here's the thing: If you're going to tell the same story (and pretty much all PK Dick's stories are the same story), or explore the same themes, why not try to do it in an inventive and original way?

    Listen, BLADE RUNNER is a direct descendant of Fritz Lang's incredible METROPOLIS, with its future cityscape and... flying cars (in 1927, no less)! And there's no question that even PK Dick was influenced by METROPOLIS, too, a story about reality clashing with android-reality.

    Inventive filmmakers need to work harder to come up with more original visual cues if they're going to tell these stories over and over again. Want to know about a success? A film that explores PK Dick/BLADE RUNNER themes, and does it in a totally original and inventive way? See Steven Soderberg's SOLARIS remake. The best sci-fi film since BLADE RUNNER. Says I.

    MC
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  7. #7
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    And I do not think that BLADE RUNNER is a rip off of STAR WARS.

    They are completely different animals.

    In fact, nothing in BLADE RUNNER (aside from the concept of flying cars relating to the Luke's Landspeeder in STAR WARS) has anything at all to do with STAR WARS. Deckard is not Han Solo (altho Han Solo is definitely Humphrey Bogart or Alan Ladd - and so is Deckard).

    In my opinion.

    MC
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    Micah, I was just pointing out that you recklassly grab onto individual items and cast them about in a willy-nilly fashion giving them far more significance than they deserve. I picked star wars because it is a ripoff of other work as well and I knew it would piss you off... ;)
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

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    (pulls pin on grenade......1...2...3...4...)

    BLADE RUNNER SUCKED


    STOMP STOMP STOMP (imagine fat man running like hell with hands over head to protect from fallout)

    BDT
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    I'm just kidding of course, I liked Blade Runner.

    I was just picturing MC with his feet propped up on his desk, f5, having a near anneuryisim (sp) and falling ass over tea kettle out of his chair grabbing his chest and swearing.

    Noir films, as a genre, have been killed by an industry that doesn't understand what made them great in the first place.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

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    Yup, I'm with you Troy, absent mindedly baiting the hobbit...

    I'll check out Solaris.
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

  12. #12
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    Jesus christ man! You hate me for not showing up in Damascus, huh?

    But, BLADE RUNNER is not for everyone. For that matter, noir film is not for everyone.

    Some people simply can't take it.

    MC
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    You make some good points, but it sounds like you take your film watching a little to serious. Just kick back and enjoy dude. I film doesn’t have to suck because someone may have had influences from another film when creating it. (I loved The 5th Element).
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    Aside from the recent SOLARIS, Troy brings up an important point.

    You could also rent recent new DVDs of gloriously remastered noirs from the 30s and 40s, like OUT OF THE PAST and THIS GUN FOR HIRE. These old Warner films look amazing on DVD now, and the discs are usually well stocked with great extras.

    Harrison Ford's "Rick Deckard" is nothing if not a true brother to Alan Ladd or the great Robert Mitchum. BLADE RUNNER is a directly influenced by these films.

    MC
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    thanks for the link, Micah. I've been holding my breath for the re-release for more than a year. I'll let out the air now and eat WB crow..
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

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    I really enjoyed Solaris. Some have said they couldn't get into it. I thought it was very interesting and well done, though a tad slow. I recommend that ya'll check it out. Rent it first, because I wouldn't want anyone blaming me for them spending a whole $15 on a movie they may or may not enjoy.
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    CAUSE I SPEAK OF THE POMPITIOUS OF LOVE"

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    I really enjoy Blade Runner. My issue is that at once ressurected and destroyed film noir at the same time.

    THAT was a feat in and of itself.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

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    I guess I need to go back and watch Blade Runner again, because I didn't like it the first time I saw it.

    Minotiry Report, The Matrix, Dark City, Gattica, Paycheck, The Fifth Element - all at least decent if not good films - and all of which I enjoyed...

    I'll give Blade Runner another chance...
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    good writeup Micah. all of those movies you listed that were deftly similiar to Blade Runner... they sucked. Everyone of them. Even the Matrix, and Especially Minority Report.

    I miss the special effects of old. Hell, I miss the old movies in general. The most overused term in the english language has got to be "They don't make 'em like used to." Well when it comes to cinema, that's right on. Although the LOTR movies are o.k, with The Two Towers being the only one that truly stood out imo, the last great movie i saw was American Beauty- and that one was written and directed by two English theatre guys with absolutely no experience in cinema. That was almost 7 years ago.

    Special effects no longer exists in todays cinema because the effects are no longer special. It's one assault on the senses after another and it gets to the point where it becomes monotonous. I miss actual special effects. I miss originality. I miss stop motion, I miss Ray Harryhausen. I miss effects that required true imagination.

    To end my pointless rant- I don't think you can blame the advance of technology as the fault of ****ty movies. I think it goes back to the studios. They're not even studios anymore. They're corporate entities less concerned about the art itself- and more about bringing in the 13-24 audience. And the brains of the 13-24 audience don't require QUALITY, only QUANITITY. That's why we're getting all these overblown 'special' effects that are watering down what's supposed to make a movie great in the first place.

    ok, i'm done. sorry. :o
    Last edited by aaharvel; 09-29-2005 at 06:16 PM.

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    I agree totally. Audiences today are simply not sophisticated enough to deal with original, inventive Ray Harryhausen-type stuff. Watch the remake of KING KONG get everyone wet around the panties... And it's going to suck. How do I know it's going to suck? Because the original KING KONG is a monsterously great film and there's no reason to not come up with something else to make instead re-doing something that's already been done well.

    My issue is that at once ressurected and destroyed film noir at the same time.
    BLADE RUNNER did do this, just as ALIEN combined and re-energized the flagging sci-fi and horror genres: gave them life, then destroyed them at the same time by breaking the mold.

    And it's true. No (non-realistic) neo-noir seems to be able to skirt the BLADE RUNNER influence. But BLADE RUNNER gives new life to the classic noirs of the 30s and 40s.

    It's a fun, interesting thing.

    MC
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    Micah, I wonder if your hatred of all movies current and recent is more of a mental block than anything else.

    I mean, come one, you can't hate all of them that much.

    Maybe you should approach movie watching with a more open mind. You've already made up your mind about King Kong before you've seen it, and have done this with other movies as well - and that's just on our little forum here. If I tell myself repeatedly before I watch something that I'm going to hate it and therefore really don't give it a fair chance, then chances are I'm going to hate it regardless of what it actually is.

    Same thing with music...

    Do you like anything, really?
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    Is Micah a film student or something similar? I ask this because whenever someone gets involved in a subject like movies or music, they usually become very particular about what is good and what isnt. My roommate is a musician and he hates everything just about...there are very few cds/bands that he'll listen to more than once (even if its good).

    I'm fairly picky about what i want to listen and watch as well...but not to the extent a true movie buff/aspiring film maker or musican would be. It can be a curse. You learn what is truely good filmmaking or music and you cant appreciate anything except the best representations....

    Jason

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    i think Micah wrote/writes movie reviews. I'm not sure. Maybe he'll chime in.

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    Micah is just a sharp guy with a lot of time on his hands....

    BLADE RUNNER gives new life to the classic noirs of the 30s and 40s.
    I disagree. The MAJORITY of the movie viewing public wouldn't make the correlation. All they saw is the glitz and the special effects. As such the spin offs tried to cash in on the lowest common denominator.

    Ok, wanna know what's wrong with the movie industry? None of them knows **** about Shakespeare.

    To amplify, Shakespeare was great because he appealed to all audiences equally. There was truly something for everyone. Ok, fast fwd a few hundred years, we have all become 'groundlings' and today's movies are geared as such.

    In a nutshell, the Blade Runner knock offs have all ignored what it was that made it really important in the first place.

    BDT
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    AAHarv,
    You need to watch A Series Of Unfortunate Events...

    You can count the amount of CGI used in this movie on one hand...

    The majority of the scenes/sets/designs/everytime was 100% built by hand...

    AMAZING work on that film - the film is pure art on that level to me... I love that movie...

    I watch it just to look at what they did, I always miss stuff...

    Not to mention, the Credits are brilliant...

    Never seen Blade Runner - just commenting on the CGI portion of this thread. :)
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    You guys want entertainment?

    Read (or see, if possible) A Comedy of Errors or Merchant of Venice.

    BDT
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    I really have no problem with the so called "rip off" of movie themes and/or looks. Two hours ± of a single movie is seldom enough time to explore all the posibilities of a particular theme, genre or whatever.
    They all pretty much fail for the simple reason that no one could figure out how to show these thematic elements using a new visional cue.
    His books didn't have different "looks". Why should different movies? As I said I really have no problem with the "rip off" as much as I do the total remake or turning the TV show into a movie. THIS is what is wrong with the movie industry

    Of those in your list:

    MINORITY REPORT - I liked it. A few twists here and there to differentiate from BR but again...it is based on a story by the SAME author.

    A.I. - Didn't like it. And it's rare that I don't like a Speilberg film. Too much of the love/how human/machine theme, and it didn't keep me interested.

    THE MATRIX - DID NOT LIKE ANY of them. Lots of reasons...but any time a film becomes a "cult" favorite...I generally go the other way.

    TOTAL RECALL - Ok it is a silly, homage to BR. It's Schwarzenegger...and I like his stuff for what it is. Less cerebrial...more action. A Schwarzenegger action flick with PK Dick theme. I like it.

    CODE 46 - Yes it is terrible.

    DARK CITY - Maybe the closest "copy" of BR. I'm ambivilent - I think I like it....but I'm not sure.

    GATTACAA - I liked this one quite a bit. Maybe my favorite of the "rip offs".

    PAYCHECK - I've never seen it.

    THE FIFTH ELEMENT - A great demo disc. Another "cult" classic though with all the bagage that comes with a film not being as great as everyone "says" it is.

    JOHNNY MNEMONIC - I saw this one and went "pfffttttt" and never watched it again. I must not have liked it. Maybe I'll read the book.

    STRANGE DAYS - Not a film I've seen....but I think I would like to.

    ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND - I don't like "offbeat romantic comedys"...Blade Runner influence or not.
    Last edited by shack; 09-29-2005 at 11:19 PM.
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    Angry i've got lots of love

    Oh my god, Troy's talking about Shakespeare?!

    Do you like anything, really?
    I love tons of stuff; the best ****ing stuff ever. I'm passionate about it. Why do you ask?

    Per this thread, and the theme of "ripping off," this is my advice to filmmakers, and my overall point: You don't have to do something original. But if you're going to do something unoriginal, at least do it in an original way. Everything is basically unoriginal. BLADE RUNNER steals from METROPOLIS. But... It steals in a wholy original way. It shows you old things in new ways. Now, don't show me the same things in the same ways. (I thunk of all this whilst drinking Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout this evening. Be proud of me.)

    Shack: Where did your sig quote come from? And don't read Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic." Instead, or at least first, read "Neuromancer." When I was like 10, I read nothing but sci-fi. All the greats. Then of course I got bored by it, didn't touch sci-fi for years and years. And then I heard about "Neuromancer," the story behind it, and I read it. It completely re-invigorated the whole literary genre for me. It's totally new and exciting (at least for 1982; it prefigures the internet and all that stuff, pretty amazing), worth reading.

    MC
    ultramicah@yahoo.com

    "There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

  29. #29

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    Shakespeare ROCKS.

    Sick, twisted, funny....you name it, Willy had it ALL.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micah Cohen
    Shack: Where did your sig quote come from?
    I'm pretty sure you already know or you wouldn't ask....But it is from the the original Batman. A quote from Jack Nicholson's Joker. I happen to like the Batman series..some better than others with the first one close, if not at, the top of the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Micah Cohen
    And don't read Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic." Instead, or at least first, read "Neuromancer." When I was like 10, I read nothing but sci-fi. All the greats. Then of course I got bored by it, didn't touch sci-fi for years and years. And then I heard about "Neuromancer," the story behind it, and I read it. It completely re-invigorated the whole literary genre for me. It's totally new and exciting (at least for 1982; it prefigures the internet and all that stuff, pretty amazing), worth reading.
    "Neuromancer" was the book I was referring to. I still read some sci-fi from time to time. David Brin was the last sci-fi author I really spent much time with ("The Postman" is the one most would recognize - and yes, as usual, the film butchered the book). A couple of years ago I went back and re-read most of the classics from Wells, Verne as well as come non sci-fi stuff by Stevenson and some others. As dated as they were I thouroughly enjoyed them. The have withstood the test of time for a reason!
    Last edited by shack; 09-30-2005 at 09:52 AM.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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