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May 8, 2017

Blade Runner

Blade Runner dropped into my thoughts the other day in the form of Harrison Ford. I was trying to come up with the names of old Malayalam movies I wanted to watch and couldn’t remember even one. Then for some reason Harrison Ford popped up in my mind. Ford is not a particular favorite of mine. It is a mystery to me how he got himself into the two biggest movie franchises of all time – Star Wars and Indian Jones. Definitely it was not his looks or his animal charm. Some people are just plain lucky.

I might not have watched this Ridley Scott film earlier just because Ford played the main character. Anyway, without many choices last Saturday night, I paired a glass of Cabernet with Blade Runner and some cheese.It was an interesting combo. The casting of Rutger Hauer as the antagonist took away some of my hardship of watching a Ford movie. The rest of the cast was perfect, if you can excuse the 80s hair that seemed to have survived three and half decades of sculpted perfection.

Of all things a movie enthusiast might notice in a cult classic movie the first thing that struck me in Blade Runner's futuristic landscape of 2019 were the neon hoardings of the companies that no longer exist. Pan Am, Atari, RCA - all switched off their lights in 20th century. Later I learnt about the Blader Runner curse

Another observation is the absence of children. I will have to read Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", the sci-fi novel which served as the inspiration to this movie, to see if the introduction of robots nullified humanity's primary task - to procreate and propagate the species.

Watching this 1982 movie in 2017, two years away from the AI-rich dark future the movie is depicting, I am glad reality is considerably slower in pace than science fiction, and hopefully a lot less sinister. Blade Runner's dark and slick set design is quite a marvel. I read that the set design inspiration came from all over - from the Pope's sleeping quarters in Vatican to Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House. In real life 2017 flying cars are still in conceptual stages but Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are ramping up on the efforts. After all cars are only slightly bigger drones and drones are ubiquitous now. 2019 is still two years away to fatten up those drones.

Blade Runner is a movie to watch if you are interested in good old fashioned sci-fi. But then again if you were, you must have already watched it. Blade Runner or rather Philip K Dick's story had anticipated and provided material for lots of movies and TV series that came afterward. The most recent ones of the AI strain I can think are West World (world apart, but a perfect conceptual match) and some episodes of Black Mirror.