Blade Runner Review

This clip, which shows Decker on the way to and inside the Tyrell Corporation, is loaded with information about the world it portrays. What is the nature of the future world shown here, in regards to culture, ecology, social class and the use of technology?

Throughout this film, Blade Runner provides surfaces that entice the viewer and mislead the viewer. Animals we originally believe to be real turn out to be synthetic, photographs are faux-inserted memories, and the massive billboards seen in the vertical city promote refuge to other worlds when in reality, everyone who sees these billboards every day are incapable of leaving. The future world shown in this clip depicts a 2019 dystopian Los Angeles, a time that is considered insightful to the future.

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The first thing one will notice in this particular clip is how the culture is portrayed in the future. There is a clear sense of Japanese culture domination happening in Los Angeles 2019. Back in the 1980s, when this film was produced, there was a lot of Japanese economical advances happening in the United States. Blade Runner gives us a sense of how strongJapan’s presence was back in the 1980s. As mentioned in this week’s lecture, there was a lot of paranoia about Japanese hegemony rising and how there was a fear of the Japanese taking over the world(1). In this movie, one can see how Asian people filled the Los Angeles streets and even replicants—this serves as a great reminder of the social changes that were happening.

The dystopian feeling to the film is easily represented through the use of darkness and gloomy weather. This signified that in the future, the environment of Los Angeles was a complete disaster. Turning the city into a rainy and smog-choked city signaled dangerous transformation to the ecological system of the future. In this weeks lecture, we learned that there was a dramatic environmental degradation that causes something like climate change(2). In addition to this clip, there are more scenes of advertisements presenting new worlds for people to move to. They play on bright and colorful screens, standing out drastically from its surroundings. This shows us that people have a great desire to leave the planet they are inhabiting.

While it’s clear that the living conditions in the future are unbearable, Blade Runner also shows us there is an obvious distinction between social classes. Higher classes of people are shown living above the city while lower classes are living lower in the city. There is also a better distinction between classes of people judging by the colors of their clothing. For example, the higher class people had a variety of colored clothing whereas the lower class people wore darker clothing that were similar to other people in their class.

One of the reasons why Blade Runner paved the way for science fiction was the way they made futuristic projections of 2019. In this particular clip, it’s clear that Blade Runner wanted to come across as authentic. This film takes place forty years prior to the year it was made which truly intensified the sense of unease about the future. In this clip, one can see clearly that technology completely dominates the entire dystopian future.

References

  • Lesson 14: Science Fiction and Postmodern Aesthetics. This World
  • Lesson 14: Science Fiction and Postmodern Aesthetics. Vertical City
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