When the film Blade Runner, the first Hollywood film by British director Ridley Scott, was released in the year 1982, it was initially met with mixed reviews. People praised the film’s visual effects and the production design in producing a dystopian future set in the city of Los Angeles, California but felt that its story itself was lacking and was thus overshadowed and left behind by the stunning set designs.
However as a decade went by, audiences were suddenly changing their opinions on the film with the release of the film’s new versions ultimately leading up to the release of The Final Cut in the year 2007, wherein Ridley Scott had complete artistic freedom he had not had in the previous versions. The film is now considered as one of the most influential and important films of the Science Fiction genre.
The film has set the standard for how a dystopian future was bound to look like with humongous glimmering and shining advertisements for brands like Coca-Cola set alongside the disheveled, decrepit and dirty streets and buildings of the city, it showed a realistic expectation of what our future would be with how things are in the present, society-wise. The film also showed a bleak fate for the environment. Taking into account as to how we have abused our use of natural resources that was once abundant in this world, it is to not much surprise that having to go to other places (i.e. other planets) to maintain our lifestyles is an all too possible option that was materialised in the film.
The need for artificial intelligence therefore in the form of the “replicants” rose. They were needed to do the tasks deemed to risky for us humans, like having to go to other planets to harvest energy. In the end they were created, similar in our form and make, with artificial memories built into their systems making them vulnerable to human emotions but ultimately having an expiration date of only four years. This whole “replicants vs. humans” thing in the form of Decker, the “Blade Runner” in charge of “retiring” the escaped “replicants”, propelled the film’s plot. This kind of questioning of “What makes a human human?” paved the way for the films of the Science Fiction genre to go beyond their perceived limitations as a film of that genre.
Films of the Science Fiction genre have greatly improved on the standard the film Blade Runner has set. With the success and popularity of films such as The Matrix, making us question the “reality” of everything, Blade Runner has stood the test of time and its message, however vague it might be for some, still rings true and will possibly forever hold true for many more years to come.