Movie: Blade Runner

Re-watched Blade Runner — first time in a couple decades at least. I remember loving it when it came out, even if it was a bit noir.

Doing so, 30 years later, I’m reminded first how young everyone looks, but also of all the things it got wrong.

There were CRT’s everywhere (portable electronics/etc), when they had flat screens back then and they should have known those were the future.

Everyone smoked, just as the anti-smoking fascism was getting started (they should have predicted that).

Since 1980’s was anti-Japan (Japan’s taking over the world) phase, they figured street slang would be munged Japanese — but they failed to predict that there are a lot of Chinese and Indian people in the world, or that the Keynesianism Japan was trying would be as big a disaster for them as it was for us in the 1930’s (or everyone else that’s over-used it).

And for placing it in 2019, they had us having cloned cyborg-slaves, flying cars, mega-corps, space colonies. (But they didn’t advance in basic communications as they still had pay-phones. They were poor quality video phones, but still). It shouldn’t have taken a lot of brain-power to figure out that in 30 years, we weren’t going to advance that much — or that personal communications would. I think they were just sloppy — borrowing the basics from the story, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", and not updating it in the 14 years that passed between it’s authorship and final release.

Still, while I wasn’t thrilled with the dark and dreary filming style (and like when does it ever rain in L.A.?), slow pacing, and minimalist dialog — it had a mood. And it was still a really good story. It touched on some important things: the temporary nature of our lives, remembering our humanity/compassion/empathy, love, and undertones reminding you to live every day like time is precious.

So I’m not as in love with the film as I was when I first saw it. But to me, it was a better movie than many others that get more credit for ground-breaking Sci Fi: 2001 a Space Odyssey, Logan’s Run, E.T., Close Encounters, Star Wars, etc. I should make the short list of classic Sci Fi, and one of the best of the 70s or 80s.

I felt like the movie just borrowed from a short story that was written in 1968, and didn’t update it based on what they knew in 1982 and were sloppy (on the sci fi / tech aspects). It doesn’t seem like it would have hurt to place it in 2050 or 2100. So it was a human story, wrapped in some bad futurist backdrop, instead of a TRUE sci fi — which tries to think about how technology will change the culture (and is sort of the point). But I liked the human story.

The other thing was the buildings were huge and decrepit. So they both looked like 100 years in the future, and like they’d been there for 50 years (and were decaying). And you don’t get both of those in a mere 35 years from filming. Sci Fi is about continuity with the timeline and universe you create. This sort of failed.

So I buy retro excuses for some films. I just didn’t for this one.