People tend to think of me as a bit of a sci-fi film nerd, but for years I harbored a deep and dirty secret: I’d never seen Blade Runner. Recently I decided to remedy that. The only problem is that the DVD has been discontinued or something, so my local Blockbuster only had one copy that seemed to be perpetually out. Finally last weekend I nabbed it. The Snook hadn’t seen the Director’s Cut (which was the version I had), so we settled down to watch it together. I was pretty excited. I read the Philip K. Dick book it’s based on (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) a few years ago and really liked it, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Boy was I wrong. Sorry, my fellow SF nerds, but Blade Runner sucks. It is without a doubt one of the worst book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen. It’s like they took one single plot point (“cop hunts androids that look like people”) and threw out nearly everything else that made the book interesting. Even the few cool things they left in – like the Voigt-Kampff test – were ruined because all sense of context was missing. (The test measures empathic response to taboo questions about dead animals and people, which are especially shocking to humans since nuclear war has killed off most living things. The movie curiously doesn’t mention this at all.) Where was the Mercerism? Why didn’t Pris and Racheal look like each other? Why did the plot keep messing up how many replicants there were? What happened to Deckard’s wife and his aspirations to own a sheep? The whole thing sucked. Yeah, yeah, so it looked cool. It had that whole “future-yet-film-noir” thing going on that critics love to rave about. I’ll grant you that. The scenic design was completely visionary. But in terms of plot… I stand by my review. It sucked ass. I’m going to go re-read the book and try to put the sight of Rutger Hauer hooting in his underpants out of my mind.
I had a much more entertaining cinematic experience this afternoon as Amy and I headed out to see Mean Girls. It was pretty good. I do like that Lindsay Lohan (and for the record, I think the boobs are real). My only complaint was that it just didn’t seem mean enough, especially with the cheesy feel-good ending. (I read some reviews this afternoon that mentioned how certain scenes and dialogue were tweaked to slide it in under an R rating. That explains the random “Butter your muffin” line, anyway. I wish they’d left it alone.) The high point of the whole movie was when the wheelchair chick said “I don’t hate you because you’re fat; you’re fat because I hate you” and then wheeled herself off the platform backwards. Amy nearly fell out of her seat laughing, and I lost it laughing at her. We’re easily entertained. So in the end I felt that Mean Girls was like Heathers-lite. The bus thing was shocking, but it was no “I heard she sucked down a cup of liquid drain opener and smashed through a coffee table”, now was it?