It’s good to know that Philip K. Dick lived long enough to be excited about Blade Runner, even if he didn’t get to see it hit theaters. In fact, perhaps it’s better than it played out that way, since the film wasn’t well received during its initial release. But what would have been truly wonderful is if he’d survived another decade or so, long enough to see Blade Runner emerge as not just a cult classic thanks to home video, but a powerful creative benchmark whose influences have been felt in damn near every science fiction film since then. Now Blade Runner is widely regarded not only as the best film based on Dick’s work, but as one of the best science fiction films of all time. The propulsive, dialogue-free fan trailer up above highlights one reason behind its staying power: its amazing visual style.
Blade Runner is, in my opinion, one of the best movies ever made, so I could pretty much sing its praises the whole damn day long. But since it’s already 10 pm here, I’ll just focus on the area highlighted by YouTuber Vanderthrust. Sure, his handle may sound like a German sex toy manufacturer, but he’s got a great eye for editing. And his teaser is all about the eye, culling from the countless iconic images served up by Ridley Scott’s film — the bleak Los Angeles skyline, circa 2019; the decaying architecture through which Batty and Deckard chase each other in the third act; Sean Young’s Rachael hidden behind a cloak of cigarette smoke. It’s all almost completely without context, but I think even if it was a genuine teaser, if you knew nothing about the film, it’d still be more than enough to pique your interest.
It’s not quite as quickly cut, but it reminds me quite a bit of the unforgettable “Immigrant Song” teaser for David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo teaser — all about the imagery and the music. While Blade Runner already sports a justifiedly iconic Vangelis soundtrack, Vanderthrust’s choice here — Kavinsky’s “Odd Look” — works perfectly for the material. Here’s the Dragon Tattoo trailer for comparison.
Equally impressive for different reasons are these custom-made Blade Runner action figures. And yeah, that’s the bad news — these aren’t an official thing, and while artist Scott Pettersen does sell some of his limited-edition figures, they usually go fast. We recommend bookmarking his blog and starting to sell plasma as often as possible. Just remember to eat a sandwich first.
His blog is chock full of other projects that all live up to the same high standard, but I seriously can’t pick my jaw up off the floor when it comes to his Blade Runner figures. It’s so common to see officially licensed toys that look cheap or bear little to no resemblance to the actors they represent. Pettersen’s work looks like he just hired an ancient gypsy woman to turn the cast into a set of dolls. This is serious, uncanny, Twilight Zone territory here. Pettersen told Geek Magazine:
I work in wax when I sculpt and you can get a lot of detail in wax. The finished heads are made out of resin — the kind I use is a clear, translucent color, so I cast it in a light color and then build onto that with different flesh tones. With all of them I use airbrush and there’s a lot of blending, a lot of thin, thin layers — I think on mass-produced figures all the paint is opaque and nothing is done with layers so it’s not as realistic.
Yeah, all you official toy companies out there? Put this dude on your speed dial, like, pronto. His talent is immense and his attention to details is downright creepy. He continued:
On all these figures my intent was to capture as realistically as I could the details and essence of the characters from one of my favorite movies. There seems to be a certain sadness to some of the characters so I tried to convey that in the sculpture. I tried to replicate them down to the smallest details like the round, brown laces on Deckard’s shoes or the slight smudging of Rachael’s eye makeup. I spent a lot of hours researching the movie and visiting propsummit.com. Most of my time was spent focusing on the likenesses though. It is difficult to interpret and capture faces that most people would recognize.
You can see more of Pettersen’s work on his blog, including recent builds of figures from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Taxi Driver, and others. We hate to publicly shame officially licensed merchandise, but damned if I didn’t just sneeze and accidentally embed some totally random images…