In 1982 Ridley Scott’s movie “Blade Runner” was quietly released and received mixed reviews7. As time passed the movie’s fan base expanded and today, many consider it to be one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. Numerous people consider it Harrison Ford’s greatest acting role, which, considering the competition consisting of Han Solo and Indiana Jones, is no small feat. Originally, critics missed or were confused by the philosophical questions the movie posed but as more people saw it, the movie’s brilliance was gradually realized. The questions Blade Runner posed about the future of computer intelligence were far ahead of their time. A major issue of the movie is that, if AI ever became human-like, would it be accepted as a work of genius or feared as a threat to humanity’s uniqueness.
Blade Runner is set in dark and depressing 2019 Los Angeles. America has evolved into a decaying, totalitarian police state. An interesting thing to note about the setting is the high degree of multi-culturalism visible6. There are as many Arabs and Japanese as Caucasians. The Japanese seem to be the dominant economic class, an allusion to the rapid expansion of Japanese industry and culture into western California in the 80’s. Along with decay and dilution of cultural identities, another constant in the movie’s background is the promise of ‘off-world’ colonies (colonies on new planets). Giant zeppelins float around the cityscape, advertising “A new life, a chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity an adventure”5. The general idea of the setting is that the Japanese rule a decaying LA thus forcing people to flee in rapid numbers.
The main character is a retired ‘blade ...
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...tish Film Institute, 1997.
2. Bignell, Jonathon(editor) Writing and Cinema (article: Stephen Lacey -- Preserving Machines : Recentering the Decentered subject in Blade Runner and Johnny Mnemonic). New York City: Pearson Press, 1999
3. Kerman, Judith B. Retrofitting Blade runner: issues in Ridley Scott's Blade runner and Philip K. Dick's Do androids dream of electric sheep? Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, c1991.
4. Sammon, Paul M. Future noir: the making of Blade runner. New York City: HarperPrism, 1996.
5. Fancher, Hampton K et al. Blade Runner: Screenplay. Hollywood, California: Script City, 1990
8. Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid. New York, New York: Basic Books, 1979.
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