The Talented Mr. Ridley

On May 14 releases Robin Hood by Ridley Scott(okay, that is just trivia).I wish to pay homage(through my limited means)to the uber-powerful yet reticent man behind this highly anticipated period epic, starring his current “muse’ Russell Crowe . Scott gave us the original Alien (1979), Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise,Hannibal, Matchstick men among many other cinematic gems. He is also executive producer of the highly rated TV drama the Good Wife. Sir Scott is also set to direct an Alien prequel out in 2011. And also rumoured to helm the Gucci biopic Angelina Jolie is tied to.

Recently I was gifted a limited edition DVD of the Blade Runner (which turns 28 years old this year) and a series of memories came rushing back, I vividly remember watching a grainy VHS of this film as a child. And I also remember being mortified by the infamous skullcrushing/eye-gouging scenes. A reviewer at the Chicago Reader called it” a hauntingly erotic …meditation on the difference between the human and the nonhuman”. With serious shades of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Bible- the tussle between man and creator; this underrated “film noir classic” as we call it now was not as well received by confused audiences in 1982 (and was grossly misunderstood). The woman, Zhora, with the snake, around her neck was one among the quartet of “Replicants” ,Harrison Ford was expected to kill.

• Batty: Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled around their shoulders… burning with the fires of Orc.

• Gaff: [voiceover] It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?

• Deckard(Ford): [narrating] I don’t know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life – anybody’s life; my life. All he’d wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die.

Yes!!! Coca Cola was a clear trademark in the Japan-esque film, and shows prominently on an LED billboard for much of the film that is set mostly in a squalid Chinatown, in 2019 LA. Also featured are Koss earphones and Budweiser. Then came on screen in all its blue neon glory, the logo of Panam. The now defunct Pan American World Airways. I remember my grandfather at the airport after his frequent flights into India from America, with Panam baggage tags and security labels stuck on them. And those bags contained precious presents that were exclusively for me… I was his favourite grandchild. My eyes welled up; both my dearly loved grandfather and Panam are no more. Product placement sure has its ways to get to you.

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