This week we’re talking about a classic sci-fi noir from the 80s in BLADE RUNNER and a retelling of the most famous horror film ever made with the A&E series, BATES MOTEL. Season four of Bates Motel just premiered, but it doesn’t hurt to get caught up now and you should definitely see Blade Runner before the sequel no one asked for comes out within the next few years.
There’s nothing much cooler than a mash up of film’s two coolest genres with film noir and science fiction. In fact, the only thing that could possibly make that any cooler is to throw Harrison Ford in the mix! Aside from ALIEN or maybe 2001, Blade Runner is arguably the most famous and influential sci-fi film of all time. And for good reason. It tells an incredibly human story about a bunch of robots trying to stay alive. Basically everything you need to know about the premise is given to you in text at the very beginning of the movie. Replicants are artificially intelligent beings, created for a specific purpose. They have life spans of four years before they are deactivated. Blade Runners are the replicant-cops so to speak, given the task of hunting down rogue A.I.s. Harrison Ford plays one such Blade Runner, attempting to terminate four replicants who stole a ship.
As far as sci-fi goes, it’s pretty basic. However, the way the story is told and the emotions the characters go through transcend this film into the upper echelon of cinema. Deckard, played by Ford, is one of the most brooding and interesting characters I’ve ever seen. He walks the line between a hardened “cop” and a struggling person so well that you’re always on the same page, but never quite sure what he’s going through. Unfortunately, Netflix only has the Theatrical Cut of the film, which is severely weaker than the Director’s Cut in my opinion. Regardless, you’re bound to be enthralled with the world you’re dropped into. It’s a true spectacle.
BATES MOTEL – Three Seasons
We all know Norman Bates, the owner and innkeeper of the Bates Motel from PSYCHO. We know, to a lesser extent, his mother Norma Bates, whom he murdered and hid in the basement when he wasn’t dressing as her. Now, we can learn even more about their strange and psychotic lives in the A&E series, BATES MOTEL! This contemporary prequel to the Hitchcock classic explains many of the things the 1960 film decided to leave out (for good reasons, probably). Teenaged Norman is played by Freddie Highmore with Vera Farmiga playing his overbearing mother. We see how they come to own the motel, their struggles with keeping it running, and all of the weird things happening in the town of White Pine Bay, Oregon.
It’s worth noting that not everything in the show adds up when comparing it to the film. They take some liberties to tell an interesting story about a young man who grows up to be a killer. Some of these liberties are completely rational and add to the overall story. Some of the others aggravate me a little. For one, Norman is a much less likable character than he was in Psycho… I guess that’s kind of weird to say since he kills people. They also introduce many new characters like Norman’s half brother and quite a few love interests. This keeps the tension high because we never know when Norman is going to snap. Overall, the show is really interesting especially when you detach it from the source material. There are enough side plots and characters that not everything is leading up to Marion Crane in the shower. I can’t recommend it to everyone, but definitely give it a try if you’re a fan of the film.