Today, 30 years ago, Blade Runner hit the cinema’s in the US, though its performance at the box-office was lackluster it certainly shined as an example of thought-provoking science fiction. Ridley Scott’s movie had a difficult start in production. The movie is of course based Philip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep’, after its publication there was much interest in producing a film but none really managed to ferment. Strangely enough Gregory Peck had a role in keeping the project alive before it was optioned by producer Michael Deely who tasked Hampton Fancher to write a script, after many rewrites and even a second writer taking over the job the script landed at the Ladd Company where it finally was made into the Blade Runner we know today. If your interested in the difficult history of Blade Runner, read Paul M. Sammon’s Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, it gives an accurate picture of the cutthroat world of the movie business in Hollywood.
As for Blade Runner itself, is it still relevant? It think so.. One of the challenges of today is the ongoing encroachment of Artificial Intelligence, and it is not the fear that one day they would either take over the world or that we would become so feeble for relying on them, but that without knowing how or seeing the moral dangers that we will create artificial beings that have true feelings, emotions and even a soul while treating them as disposable machines with a ‘4-year lifespan’. To me that has always been the true message of Blade Runner, the message that was executed so deftly with realistic sci-fi instead of ray guns and unrealistic utopian worlds.
Now I can only hope that the rumored sequel to Blade Runner will either keep that message or create a new one just as good.