I was annoyed enough last week when I was talking about Will Smith planning a sequel to his godawful film version of I Am Legend. Now I hear, from slashfilm.com via Dogmatic, that talk of a sequel to Blade Runner is floating around.
Let me start by stating, as I’ve said here before, that I think of Blade Runner as the best film ever made. It’s really hard for me to name a top ten list of movies, but whatever films have moved me over the years, I still think that Blade Runner is the best of them all.
Rick Deckard – Blade Runner
It’s based on the book by Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.
The book is excellent – some of Philip K Dick’s best writing in my opinion. But the film is very different. There are a lot of similarities, with characters and situations taken directly from Dick’s pages, but the movie does very different things with them. Director Ridley Scott took a great book and used the bones of it to make a really great film. This is often better than a direct adaptation. Often, direct adaptations fall well short of the high bench mark set by the books. When a film-maker uses a book purely as insiration to make a film in a similar vein, the results are often better. This is definitely the case with Blade Runner.
The book already has sequels. Author K W Jeter, with the approval of Dick’s estate, wrote Blade Runner 2 – The Edge of Human, which was really not very good. I tried to read it, but couldn’t get more than halfway through. Jeter has since written two more Blade Runner sequels, Replicant Night and Eye and Talon. I don’t know if they’re any good and I can’t be bothered to find out. If I couldn’t get through the first sequel, I doubt the others will hold my attention any better.
Regardless, Philip K Dick’s book stands tall as a great piece of science fiction. It doesn’t need sequels and Jeter’s attempts are best ignored. Blade Runner, the movie, is also fantastic and absolutely does not need any sequels. When you have stories that are as well made, as well written and realised, as these things are, then trying to make sequels just devalues them. It’s a cynical attempt to cash in. If you read the slashfilm.com article (linked above), you’ll see that the sequel appears to be a long way from ever being made. Let me just add my voice to the multitude here in saying that I never want to see it made. Blade Runner is a unique diamond that can’t be copied or improved upon, and certainly should never be cashed in on.