A time of replicants, spinners and off-world colonies Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner takes place in 2019. While the reality of Scott’s film hasn’t come true, we do have enough elements in our present to show that things have changed and the future is here (smartphones, the internet, self-driving cars).
Scott’s 1982 film was based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 tale Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was actually set in 1992. In many ways (COVID, Brexit, Trump, Global Warming), we may even live in darker times than in Scott’s dystopian sci-fi film.
The original Philip K. Dick adaptation was a grim, yet refreshing dystopian science fiction film which pushed the boundaries of the genre. Blade Runner‘s look and tone has been copied by many over the last 40 years, but never bettered and it still holds up today (no matter which version of the film’s many cuts you watch).
Written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, Blade Runner has a powerful eclectic cast which includes Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and Edward James Olmos amongst others. The plot sees Ford play Deckard, a Blade Runner tasked with tracking down (and retiring) four replicants who has escaped their off-world colony in an attempt to extend their limited life-spans.
One of the finest moments in Blade Runner is when Deckard uses the film’s advanced futuristic technology to zoom into a picture and look at the detail. This was science fiction in 1982, but of course it’s now something we can all do on our iPhones.
The making of Blade Runner is infamous for being a troubled production. The multitude of alternate cuts is testament to this and the documentary, Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner on the 2007 DVD of the film and Paul M. Sammon’s book, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner go into the film’s many production problems in great detail.
Budgeted at $30 million, Blade Runner grossed $32.8 million at the US box office and $41.6 million globally following its release in 1982,
Director Denis Villeneuve made a valiant attempt at following-up Ridley Scott’s iconic pic with 2017’s Blade Runner 2049. In the film Ryan Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner whose investigation leads him to Harrison Ford’s in-exile Deckard. The film holds some good visuals and a few good moments, but it’s about 40 minutes too long. Like its predecessor, the film under-performed on its release in 2017, grossing $92 million at the US box office and $259 million globally.