November 13, 2019
In 1982, the film Blade Runner wow-ed audiences with a look into the far future. Well, as far into the future as right now. The infamous "Los Angeles, November 2019" depicted in the opening scene has finally arrived in real life. So, how close did the 1980's depiction comes to the present day? Close — but no cigar.
Wired Senior Correspondent Adam Rogers says even though filmmakers thought technology, like flying cars and sentient androids, might have already arrived today, the vision of life in L.A. isn't far off.
"It's weird when you think about it," Rogers said. "All of the scenes downtown [are] full of life and people on the street. There's street-level retail and restaurants and it's crowded with people, but at the time that's seen as dystopian. Now, that's the kind of downtown we want."
Looking behind the movie's plot, Rogers sees more similarities. He says the metaphor behind the story — people trying to find themselves in a big city — rings true.
"It's a pretty familiar tale of what it's like to come to a city and try to find yourself; to literally find a life in the city," Rogers said.
One thing Rogers commends the film for is its homage to history in a city that so often rewrites its own story. Viewers can see familiar names and landmarks throughout the once-futuristic film.
"The Bradbury building is the famous one, of course, [and] all the little Frank Lloyd Wright tile references …The Plaza is the place where that city began," Rogers said. "So there are these gestures toward the past."
Blade Runner had a massive impact on Rogers and his peers' expectations for future Los Angeles as native Angelenos. The Wired correspondent remembers driving downtown in the dead of night with friends in high school, standing in the emptiness trying to picture what the future would hold. Now he knows.