Christopher Nolan holds a unique perspective on the various versions of Blade Runner. While the Final Cut, overseen directly by director Ridley Scott, is often considered the definitive edition, Nolan’s viewpoint differs. This distinction, articulated by Nolan, adds an intriguing layer of interpretation to the film, especially concerning Harrison Ford’s omitted voiceover.
In the film Blade Runner, Harrison Ford assumes the role of Rick Deckard, a detective in a futuristic Los Angeles tasked with tracking down replicants, synthetic human beings. Ridley Scott, the film’s director, did not have complete control over the original theatrical release. The studio, responding to audience feedback, sought to introduce a more uplifting conclusion and voiceover narration to enhance story clarity.
The Film Had A Profound Impact On Christopher Nolan
When Christopher Nolan first watched the studio’s version of the film on VHS, it left a lasting impression on him. He discussed this experience during an appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast.
Blade Runner faced several production challenges, and both Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford were critical of the studio-mandated voiceover. Ford, in particular, expressed reluctance and, in various interviews with publications like Empire and Playboy over the years, he referred to it as “bad voiceover” and “bad narration.“
In a time when studios often release numerous extended editions and alternate cuts of beloved films, Christopher Nolan continues to favor the version of Blade Runner he initially encountered on VHS, even though the 1992 Director’s Cut removed all traces of the voiceover. Nolan expressed his preference for this version, remarking:
“It is the best version of the film. It’s imperfect – and it seems presumptuous and I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scott, so I don’t want to go up against his view in a sense – but the reality is, that tension between the marketplace, between the studios, between the fights, the creative stuff that happens when a film goes out, unless they literally pull the film out of the director’s hands and recut it, and bastardize it in some way, I think really the authoritative version of the film tends to be the one that goes out there in theaters.”
The film might have also influenced Christopher Nolan’s future work, including the Dark Knight trilogy.
How Blade Runner Influenced Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins
Nolan’s work, particularly in Batman Begins, exhibits a noticeable influence from Blade Runner. The rainy and steamy atmospheres of the Narrows and Gotham City in the film evoke a superhero interpretation of Ridley Scott’s dystopian Los Angeles. Additionally, Batman Begins incorporated a significant Blade Runner cast member, Rutger Hauer, who portrayed the formidable replicant Roy Batty, in the role of Wayne Enterprises’ CEO.
Considering Nolan’s deep appreciation for the unaltered cinematic experience and his personal attachment to the theatrical cut of Blade Runner, which he watched countless times as a child, his preference for it over subsequent releases may not come as a shock. However, for cinephiles, the question of whether it truly represents “the best version” of Blade Runner, as he described it, remains a subject of vigorous debate.
Blade Runner is available for rent or purchase on Google Play.