I'm now old enough that the dates casually thrown around in the sci-fi of my youth are starting to show up on my wall-calendar at work. Already we've passed the dates of Back to The Future 2
, and - as was impossible to avoid online yesterday - the inception date of Roy Batty, the antagonist (I refuse to call him a villain) of the famed Ridley Scott sci-fi noir android movie, Blade Runner (1982)
. While January 8th, 2016 is a few years prior to the events of the movie, it's also impossible not to note that in 1982, the idea that we'd have off-world colonies for the wealthy and healthy looking to get away from this back-water rock of a planet didn't seem that far-off. Or that genetic engineering would advance to a degree that we'd be on a Nexus 6 version of artificial life-forms.
We do have some pretty good videogame systems, Google can find stuff for your computer and we can take pictures with our pocket computers, so I'm calling it a wash, technology-wise.
I was about thirteen the first time I saw Blade Runner
. I was aware of the movie prior to this time, and, rightfully so, it was considered a bit adult for me to check out and I self-selected against renting it until then. Frankly, I wasn't expecting much, more of a Tom Selleck in Runaway
or even a RoboCop
sort of "we've sorta dressed up the present, put weird ties on people and called it the future" sort of movie. And there's nothing wrong with that, but, much like Star Wars
, part of what makes the thing greater than the sum of its parts is the fully immersive experience. From retro-fitted buildings to flying cars sensibly limited to police prowlers, to overpopulated streets, class-based fashion and architecture, and the monolithic structures - the soaring hubris of progress and wealth. All of it alien, all of it recognizable. That was the work of the artists working on movies in this era, the Syd Meads, David Snyder, Lawrence Paull, Michael Kaplan and just countless others.
And don't forget that score by Vangelis.