Yesterday I was at Barnes and Noble and while browsing through the Blu-rays I found the 30th Anniversary Edition of Blade Runner. This is a nice little set with three discs and a booklet and bonus material and all four cuts of the film.
I was amazed to see that it was only $19.99. Usually prices at B&N for DVDs and Blu-rays are outrageous.
Since I recently finished the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep I had to buy the movie.
I am not going to review either here, but I am going to do a quick little compare and contrast.
The movie and the book are the perfect example of very different but at the same time a lot the same.
Some of the differences don’t seem to have much effect on the story. For instance Deckard is not married in the movie yet he is in the book. He is also retired from the police force in the movie, but in the book he works for the police as a bounty hunter weeding out the replicants. Also in the movie the term Blade Runner is used to describe the bounty hunters like Deckard, but never used in the book.
The big difference is the sub-plot of the book involving animal ownership. Animals are near extinct in the future and owning animals, especially the rare ones, is a status symbol. Some people own electronic animals because they are cheaper, but owning a real animal is much better than owning a fake one.
In the book Deckard owns an electric sheep, and is hoping to hunt down enough replicants to be able to afford a real animal. Perhaps a goat.
This somewhat carried over into the movie. There is an owl that the owner admits is fake. Of course it is, because owls are extinct. I only know they are extinct from the book. It is never mentioned in the movie.
There is a replicant that is posing as a dancer in the movie. In the book she posed as an opera singer, but in the movie she is a dancer with a snake. A fake snake, because if she could afford a real one she wouldn’t be working in a shitty place like that.
A lot of animals in the movie are fakes, made by skilled craftsmen that can make you any animal that you want for the right price.
Blade Runner is a cult classic that is talked about and discussed to no end. It is examined for its prime example of noir. It has a niche fan base that obsess over the movie. There is even someone recreating the movie shot for shot in Microsoft Paint.
But if you have watched the movie without reading the book I think you might be missing out.
This is an odd case where the book isn’t better than the movie, but the movie isn’t better than the book either. They go hand in hand. They compliment each other.
The movie doesn’t take the time to explain everything to the viewer. In fact, when the characters are talking it feels real because the dialogue is two people talking to each other. The dialogue is not a tool to convey information to the viewer in this movie. It is real talk by real people.
A lot is said and done in the movie as if the viewer already knows the world. As if they already know why certain people do the things they do.
I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed the movie, but I think I enjoyed the movie more because I read the book.