1982 Siskel & Ebert review says Blade Runner was a 'waste of time'

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

If movies are art, and art is subjective, then it's impossible for everyone to like the same things. One person's classic is another person's crud. And so it was with Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, who came down rather harshly on Ridley Scott's dystopic science fiction classic.

Sadly, the first clip they chose to illustrate Blade Runner's relative charm is a wan, florid, overheated romantic engagement between Harrison Ford's Deckard and Sean Young's Rachel that in no way reveals any of what made the film special. Though Ebert would eventually become impressed by the look, both men would find very little to love.

The Blade Runner segment starts at 19:18:

"Pretty to look at, but a waste of time" is Siskel's final summation. As time has gone on, and Scott has released version after version of Blade Runner—dropping tacked-on endings and voiceovers, but never CGI-ing the still-terrific effects—Ebert has come to soften his stance on the film. Back in 2007, he reconsidered Blade Runner at length:

"I have never quite embraced Blade Runner, admiring it at arm's length, but now it is time to cave in and admit it to the canon. ... I have been assured that my problems in the past with Blade Runner represent a failure of my own taste and imagination, but if the film was perfect, why has Sir Ridley continued to tinker with it, and now released his fifth version?"

(And it does remain curious, as George Lucas has pointed out, that no one hates Scott for serially monkeying with Blade Runner the way they hate Lucas for continuing to alter his Star Wars films.)

Still, time does have a way of dulling the edge on those fangs we once used to tear things apart.