Blade Runner is a Waste of Time: Siskel & Ebert in 1982

Note: The Blade Run­ner seg­ment starts at 19:18 mark.

It’s per­haps hard to imag­ine now, but Rid­ley Scot­t’s clas­sic sci-fi film, Blade Run­ner, saw some hard days when it was first released in 1982. Pre­view screen­ings went bad­ly. Crowds flocked instead to see Steven Spielberg’s block­buster, ET. The film lost mon­ey. And crit­ics gave the film mixed reviews.

Case in point, Siskel & Ebert’s review on nation­al tele­vi­sion. Roger finds some redeem­ing qual­i­ties — the spe­cial effects. Siskel calls it a “waste of time.” One thumb up grudg­ing­ly; anoth­er firm­ly down. A decid­ed­ly mixed review.

Siskel died, of course, in 1999. If you’re won­der­ing if Ebert ever changed his posi­tion, you can find this reap­praisal writ­ten in 2007, on the 25th anniver­sary of the film’s release.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Philip K. Dick: A Day In The After­life

Ray Brad­bury: Lit­er­a­ture is the Safe­ty Valve of Civ­i­liza­tion

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Comments (8)
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  • blessingx says:

    It, along with Star Wars, is cer­tain­ly a con­tender for gen­er­a­tional­ly over­rat­ed.

  • Jimbob says:

    Absolute­ly my favorite Sci­Fi movie of all time. I nev­er tire of watch­ing this film. Defi­nate­ly, Rid­ley Scot­t’s mas­ter­piece.

  • chris says:

    My favourite film of all time,irrespective of genre.

  • jimjam41 says:

    Def­i­nite­ly the most excel­lent sci-futur­is­tic movie of all time!

  • Rob McMillin says:

    Blade Run­ner will prove invin­ci­ble” wrote Philip K. Dick at the time. He was right — though it would take a sub­stan­tial amount of revis­ing. The dam­age done by the Warn­er com­pa­ny would require sub­stan­tial repair, which the film would­n’t get until a work­ing print sur­faced in George Lucas’ per­son­al vault and was exhib­it­ed at the Cine­plex Odeon’s Sun­day revival series in 1992. I was in the audi­ence that day, and the friend I attend­ed the screen­ing with wrote a strong let­ter in praise of the mod­i­fied film to the Los Ange­les Times, which was sub­se­quent­ly print­ed. Short­ly there­after, Warn­ers rere­leased the film on video as a direc­tor’s cut, launch­ing a whole new avenue of exploita­tion for exist­ing titles.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    To be fair, the non-voiceover ver­sion was *much* bet­ter than the orig­i­nal the­atri­cal release.

    • marcoselmalo says:

      The first ver­sion, with voice over, supped on don­key Ds. I think it was about ten years lat­er that they released the 1st direc­tor’s cut, which was sub­lime and wor­thy of PKD.

  • Chris says:

    When I first saw Blade Run­ner I was great­ly dis­ap­point­ed. The film cut out two of the cru­cial ele­ments found in the nov­el: Mer­cerism and the Buster Friend­ly Show. By so doing, Rid­ley Scott effec­tive­ly cut out the heart and soul of Philip K. Dick­’s won­der­ful nov­el. Fur­ther, Scott moved the action from San Fran­cis­co to Los Ange­les and made Rachael an ally rather than a betray­er. At the end of the day, Scott accom­plished lit­tle more than a remake of an old Out­er Lim­its episode called Demon With A Glass Hand, which also had to do with human­i­ty ver­sus robot­ics, and was also set in the Brad­bury Build­ing. If you want to under­stand where Scott acquired the “look” of Blade Run­ner, check out that old TV show.

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