Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blade Runner Sequel (An Open Letter to Alcon Entertainment)

Please, Alcon Entertainment. Please don't make a sequel to Blade Runner. At least not one with Harrison Ford - or, more importantly, his character from that film, Rick Deckard.

It's not that I think you or Ridley Scott will do a bad job of a sequel. And believe me, I never get tired of watching Harrison Ford. But I don't think you understand what you're losing - and potentially how little you're gaining - by making another film about Rick Deckard. Because if Harrison Ford returns to a character he played over thirty years ago - a character that may or may not have a four-year lifespan, mind you - doesn't that pretty much guarantee Deckard is human? Unless, of course, the script does something terribly clever, possibly quite silly, with the character.

Either way, it's making a choice, giving us an answer, about who - or what - Deckard is. Ever since the release of The Director's Cut, the true nature of Rick Deckard has been up for debate. Is he human? Is he a Replicant? The film works either way - and one of the great joys of Blade Runner is having your own interpretation of a great, great film. Nerds like me never grow tired of arguing about the film with their friends or complete strangers on the Internet.

In fact, I'm a strong advocate that Deckard is human. The film works best for me - I say again, for me - when it's a story about a man who regains his humanity due to his experiences with the replicants. Even if a new film backs up my vision of the film, I don't want it.

I want the mystery. I want the debates. I want the story to have the meaning it currently has because we don't have all the answers. I don't want to know if Sam Spade or Kasper Gutman ever found the Maltese Falcon. I want Tony Soprano's fate to remain a Schrödinger's Tony Soprano paradox. And I want the mystery of Rick Deckard to remain a mystery. Not every movie needs sequel - and Blade Runner certainly is one of those movies. It's a complete story, even with - and most likely because - of its ambiguity.

It's too bad Blade Runner can't be left alone - but then again, what sci-fi classic is these days?