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Blade Runner
Probably my least favorite film score ever. -Isaac Engelhorn (10/15/2001)
Track List:
  1. Main Titles 3:42
  2. Blush Response 5:47
  3. Wait for Me 5:27
  4. Rachel's Song 4:46
  5. Love Theme 4:56
  6. One More Kiss, Dear 3:58
  7. Blade Runner Blues 8:53
  8. Memories of Green 5:05
  9. Tales of the Future 4:46
  10. Damask Rose 2:32
  11. Blade Runner (End Titles) 4:40
  12. Tears in Rain 3:00

Total Time: (57:39)

Composed by:
Vangelis

Arranged by:
Vangelis

Performed by:
Vangelis

I realized something very important about film music by reading Elliot Goldenthal's liner notes in his Final Fantasy score recently. Not necessarily just film music, but film music that involves an alien, and generally unknown setting. When viewing such a setting, it is important for the viewer of the film to be drawn in, to have some hook or snare that helps them relate to what may be distancing visually. No one that has seen Final Fantasy doubts that the general setting and ambience were foreign, and therefore hard to relate to for most people. That is why Goldenthal took it upon himself to write music that could be interpreted by the moviegoer's subconscious as familiar or something to relate to. He did this with a fairly traditional score with the massive London Symphony Orchestra and the result was awe-inspiring.

Vangelis's Blade Runner, however, is another matter.

Like Final Fantasy, anyone who has seen the film Blade Runner knows that it's setting is not only unfamiliar, it is very drab and distressing. It is therefore a logical assumption that in order for the viewer to be drawn in, he should have something that he can relate to, like a fine, traditional score. Blade Runner is not only a bland and heartless score; it is a score that is every bit as distant and alien as the setting of the film, if not more so. The film cried, screamed for something that could provide a bond between movie and viewer, but Vangelis, in his haphazard, electronic way, could never have been able to cough up the goods. It truly makes one wonder why director Ridley Scott chose him in the first place. It has been noted that this particular director has often been hesitant to pick even what he considered to be the proper source of music. I personally venture out to guess that he is one of those directors who simply doesn't really understand what a musical score can do for a movie, though I think that he has learned his lesson regarding that facet of filmmaking over the last two years with the aural contributions to his films, and their consequently incredible success, Gladiator and Hannibal by Hans Zimmer.

Regardless of the fact that is was in no way meant for the film, the music of Blade Runner fares no better on album, and it only functions as a constant reminder of how poorly suited it was for the film. Even if heard without prior knowledge of the film, it still suffers a similar fate as it has no hook or snare of its own to draw the *listener* in. When all is said and done, all that you're left with is an hour of synth "alien-ness", that has no real appeal for anyone that I'd know of. For the most part, this just bogs down into a mass of electronic noises and effects with no inherent musical value.

Another severe problem concerning this score is that it can have no escape from the ravages of time, unlike an orchestral score. Its sounds are comprised of incredibly outdated synth noises. Another thing is that Vangelis, despite his synth handicaps, has always been know as a master of themes. As far as showcasing the melodies that the composer is known to write, Blade Runner is probably one of the least recommendable even for that fact. There are a couple of themes, but nothing that reaches out and grabs you like, say, his main theme from Chariots of Fire.

Blade Runner will go down in history as a failed attempt and a completely missed opportunity for director Ridley Scott. It was at a point like this that he could have hired a known master of orchestral scores such as Jerry Goldsmith who was probably still mad at Scott for butchering his Alien score, yet he composed one of his very best for the director three years later for Legend (a score which, ironically, was scrapped by Universal producers for the American release of the film). I know that there are a few fans of this score out there (a fact which I'll *never* understand), but the masses had best avoid this. It just provides no listening pleasure, enjoyment, or even intrigue whatsoever, and it can be best described as atrocious.


Blade Runner is Copyright 1982/1994 Atlantic Records. Produced by Vangelis This review is written by and is the property of Isaac Engelhorn and does not reflect the opinions of Tripod.