- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: British Film Institute (September 26, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0851706231
- ISBN-13: 978-0851706238
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blade Runner (BFI Modern Classics) Paperback – January 22, 2008
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Although this dark vision of the near future might not have resonated with viewers at the time, Blade Runner gained its audience over time as people saw through the surface and started asking some deeper questions. This volume by Scott Bukatman addresses some of these issues as well.
This book is broken down into three parts, the first of which is a general overview of the making of the movie. It is the next two sections, however, that are more interesting, although Bukatman has a tendency to digress into typical movie analysis babble that will probably be offputting to most potential readers. Fortunately, this does not undermine the better parts of this book.
The second section discusses the role that cities themselves have played in cinema and how Blade Runner taps into and contributes to that history. For much of science fiction, cities were places of potential utopia in the perfected world of the future. Of course, darker versions existed and Blade Runner itself is a return to a more dystopian vision.
The best is saved for last as the third section discusses replicants (the androids in the movie) and addresses the issue of what really makes humans human. This is a topic with tremendous potential to devolve into the absurd and laughable at the drop of a sentence. Thankfully, Bukatman's take is more intelligent and accessible. If the rest of the book had been this good, my rating would have been higher and I would recommend this book based on this section alone.
I have read enough of the BFI monographs to have seen the gamut, with some being exceptional and others being ridiculous. BLADE RUNNER may not be as good as the best ones in the series I have read. But for fans of the movie, it is certainly worthwhile.
I want to add a general comment about the target audience for the book. A number of the reviews are by people who are not among the book's target audience. I'm not sure why people would try to review a book that is outside their field. Paul Sammon's book, as excellent as it is, is for a less specialized, more general audience. Someone who recommends that book, as nice as it is, is missing the point of a scholarly assessment of a film. If you aren't in film studies or not comfortable reading scholarly discussions of cinema, you probably shouldn't be reading this book. And it is hardly a criticism of the book in calling it a film studies book when that is precisely what it is. That is like criticizing an atlas because it if filled with maps instead of photographs.
This is an outstanding film criticism book. If that is what you want, you will absolutely not be disappointed.