Ridley Scott has worked in many genres over his career —period pieces (“The Duellists”), war movies (“Black Hawk Down”), con man movies (“Matchstick Men”), sword and sandal epics ( “Gladiator”) and even soggy, feel-good pap (“A Good Year”). Last year’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” had a small faction of staunch vocal supporters, but his landmark sci-fi masterwork “Blade Runner” marks the last time the director made a film that could credibly be described as visionary.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the film on VHS: the images of those towering, terrifying billboards adorned with ghastly, smiling faces burned into my impressionable young mind forever. Woefully misunderstood upon its 1982 release, Scott’s film has since found a devoted following: in fact, a sequel has recently been announced —it’s to be directed by “Enemy” and “Prisoners” helmer Denis Villeneuve and with Harrison Ford confirmed to reprise his terrifically grizzled turn as beaten-down former cop Rick Deckard. In case you’re coming down with a case of “Blade Runner” nostalgia, a new video montage has arrived, alongside a plethora of behind-the-scenes stills that depict the painstaking work and specificity of detail that went into creating Scott’s nightmare vision of a future Los Angeles.
Watching the video is a confirmation that it is impossible to underestimate the cultural influence that “Blade Runner” has had since its initial theatrical release over thirty-three years ago. It’s difficult to imagine the doom-laden, rain-slicked atmospherics of David Fincher’s “Se7en,” the cyberpunk ethos and immense scale of “The Matrix” films or the giddy neon pastiche of Nicolas Winding Refn without Scott’s seminal neo-noir. Scored to Tricky’s slow-burning “Aftermath,” it’s enough to make you want to watch the original film all over again.
Meanwhile, “Blade Runner” nerds will also go ga-ga over a gaggle of newly excavated set photos, in which the film’s production design team is hard at work creating the basis for the film’s iconic visual representation of the future. There’s cars, ships, hovercrafts, apartment buildings, space stations and hey, isn’t that the Yellow Flame Sushi sign? It’s a craft geek’s daydream, and the texture that has gone into these images and creations is simply staggering.