Is Sole Of Sci-Fi set for an early retirement?
A vertiginous vista for you today from one the greatest SF films ever made. I love Blade Runner, for two main reasons. The first is the reason why most SF fans love it; it creates a totally authentic, immersive, meticulously crafted future world that as much a star of the movie as Harrison Ford. More so, probably.
But the other main reason I love it is because it’s great argument against the tyranny of plot holers.
Y’see, I hate the way some people seem to judge films and TV purely on the basis of plot holes. Except, in 99% of cases, they aren’t really the problem.They merely become the whipping boys for other problems. Or to put it another way, if you like a film, then you tend not to mind (or even notice) plot holes; if you hate a film, the plot holes suddenly represent everything you hate about that film.
If you look at Blade Runner closely, it’s chock full of plot holes and really clunky plotting. Deckard’s investigation proceeds through a series of lucky guesses, outrageous coincidences and barely-explained leaps of logic. How come nobody seems to know what the six escaped Replicants look like despite Holden nor Deckard both having access to video files of them. Deckard is supposed to be a top “Blade Runner” but is pretty much a blundering idiot throughout. The way the Voight Kampff machine works is never explained. The replicants can breath (you can see their breath in some scenes). Graff only helps Deckard when it’s dramatically useful. Famously, out of the six escaped Replicants only five are ever accounted for…
The list goes on. Admittedly, there are arguments to be made that can plug most of these plot holes; the internet is not short of possible explanations. For example: sixth replicant? It’s Deckard, of course, you fool. Except… clever though that theory may be, if you accept it, it opens up a whole new can of plot holey worms.
I’ll also admit there are different levels of plot holes. The most heinous show a flagrant disregard for the internal logic of a story. Such as the explanation about how time travel works in Back To The Future 2, which the film itself then totally ignores.
However, the vast majority of plot holes are the next level down: unexplained logic. How about: why doesn’t all the air get sucked out of the spaceship in The Black Hole when the hull is pierced by a meteorite the size the Westminster Abbey? Well, yeah, it should have been, but maybe the USS Cygnus had really good emergency force fields.
Another great example of this was the Doctor Who episode “42”. A lot of fans were very critical about an action scene involving the Doctor needing to reach an emergency release switch on the outside of a spaceship. “Why the hell was the switch on the outside of the ship… that’s stoooooopid!” they wailed, ignoring the fact it as a great action scene. And, anyway, the answer was, “Because it was!” Chris Chibnall could have wasted valuable lines in a fast-paced episode giving some gobbledygook reason why the switch was outside the ship, but would that actually have made any difference to the quality of the episode?
So, yeah, all those plot holes in listed in Blade Runner could be explained away. But that rather proves my point. Most plot holes in most films or TV shows can be explained away if you can be bothered to do so. And why would you be bothered to do so. Because you like the film, or you like the episode. Conversely, if you don’t like a film or episode, the plot holes are probably not the reason, though they will be a symptom. I can’t tell you that you actually like Doctor Who “42” if you didn’t, but I suspect plot holes involving release switches are not the real reason.
And just in case I haven’t made this clear, I love Blade Runner, plot holes and all.
Quick note on today’s trainers. They’re a pair of Superga, an Italian brand launched in 1911, which tried to make a big push into the British market a couple of years ago with the ad tagline, “Your new favourite plimsolls”. This proved only to be the case if you worked in marketing, advertising or fashion; they were all over the “Trending” pages of the broadsheets as the cool plimsolls to wear for the smart casual crowd, but they never really broke out in a big way on the high street. I actually quite like them, but have a problem with a brand that I can’t help mispronouncing as, “Supergran”.
See you tomorrow.
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