Blade Runner is a film I have watched many times over the years and I still don't know what to make of it. Whether the different versions change up some elements of the way the story is told they have not been able to give me a definite answer.
Visually Blade Runner is very impressive. You can tell that a lot of work went into it and till date looks like a possible future. However it is everything else that makes me question why everybody seem to think this is a sci fi classic. Mind you I myself for a long time have considered it a classic. But if you would ask me why that is I honestly could not tell you. My appreciation for this film came at an early age. I remember seeing it on video tape (after having it recorded from television) that I was mesmerized by some of the scenes. Back then the scene where Zhora gets shot made me feel for her. I think this was the first time I ever felt that maybe the so called villains weren't that at all. It was the video game (1997) that made me understand things better about the concept and the story that enhanced this feeling.
Now after having watched the Final Cut a lot of scenes that previously grabbed me failed to do it again. Naturally some scenes won't last since for better or worse you do mature or perhaps become more critical. The one thing that always bothered me though is that even when you can sense there is more to the story and the characters it never gets fleshed out well. It's too minimalistic for it's own good. I guess it is this minimalistic approach that have made people love it so much since it has let them interpret and imagine things to their own liking. I mean just look on the forums and articles written about Blade Runner. They are answering questions that I myself never asked and still fail to see when I am supposed to get this hidden meaning. Of course I understand a lot of the themes being touched. Why should replicants not have the same rights as humans? They think, feel and are perfectly able to fit in like the rest of us. They aren't villains out of choice. They are made to be because of their build in short life span. Any intelligent being would want to survive and live longer.
But while the replicants have my sympathy and that there is a lot of substance hidden underneath I don't think that everybody who watches Blade Runner can be as forgiving as I am. Blade Runner is incredibly slow. It's low on action, thrills and spectacle. Is this always valid as criticism? No! However there has to be something that grabs you and pulls you in. And to be honest I do have to admit that I am incapable of telling you what that is. You do have to realize that in the 33 years after Blade Runner a lot of movies have come out dealing with the same concept and themes and who did more with it. I do like films that make you think but not for the sake of it. Pretension in films have to be backed up by something. And this is where Blade Runner gets frustrating. Because you know there is more to what we are exposed to. Though try explaining to someone not sensing and feeling what you experience.
I never felt like that this film is a waste of time. However you do have to know in advance that it is slow, very low on action and thrills and very minimalistic. It's definitely not a film for everyone. But not because of the symbolism and the themes that are touched upon. More because of finding the time or having patience to sit through a film that leaves you wondering and does not offer more visually or drama wise.