Monday, November 11, 2019

The Future Is Now, NOW!

Everyone and their dog has already pointed this out by now, but why not jump on the bandwagon as well? As of this month we are now living in the incredibly far-off "future" of November 2019, as seen in the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Longtime readers of Bob Canada's BlogWorld (all six of you) know all too well that this is one of my biggest cinematic pet peeves. I absolutely hate it when a movie features a radically different future filled with impossibly-advanced technology, but takes place just twenty years from now.

Blade Runner's a favorite of mine, and one of the best thoughtful sci-fi movies ever made. That said, it's definitely marred by its far-too-close-to-the present-day setting. It premiered in 1982 and its story takes place a mere thirty seven years in the future. Even when it first came out I knew that was far too short a time for any of the movie's technological advances to come to pass. Would it have killed them to have set it in 2119, for corn's sake?

Even though I hate it, I understand why filmmakers do this. Films set centuries from now require hundreds of futuristic costumes, props, vehicles and locations. All those things need to be designed and built from scratch, which costs millions. Setting a sci-fi movie a couple decades is exponentially cheaper, as most things won't have changed all that much in twenty or thirty years.

Just because I understand it though doesn't mean I have to like it. 

Let's take a look at the various advanced technology we should have by now, according to Blade Runner:

Androids/replicants: Artificial beings (not robots) that are nearly indistinguishable from actual humans. These androids are basically a slave race, designed to perform jobs too dangerous for humans. They also have a built-in life expectancy of three years, to prevent them from organizing.

These androids are so advanced that the only way to detect one is by use of a bone marrow test (!) or a Voigt-Kampff machine, a device that measures empathy.

To make matters even worse, the replicants seen in Blade Runner are described as Nexus 6 models. That implies there've been FIVE previous versions in the series. We are WAY behind schedule!

This may be the movie's biggest blunder— the entire movie revolves around these replicants, but it'll be centuries before we're capable of developing such technology. If ever.

Animoids: According to the movie, by 2019 most of the world's animal species have become extinct. Owning live animals is against the law, so we'll replace them with robotic replicas that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

Again, nothing even remotely similar to this in the real world. Unless you count Sony's AIBO dog.

Blasters: Deckard's weapon of choice looks like an ordinary handgun, but it appears to fire some sort of high-energy blast.

The Army's been doing R&D on energy weapons, but of course they're nothing like the ones seen in the film.

Advertising Blimps: We already have airships of course, and some of them— like the Goodyear Blimp— are even used for advertising. But not to the extent seen in the movie. So far I've not noticed any obnoxious neon-lit blimps hovering over my house, blasting out loud music and commercials.

In this case I'm actually glad our tech is behind that of the movie!

Flying cars: The dream of every rush hour commuter, and another of the fim's biggest misses. Compact flying automobiles are still decades away, if they ever happen at all.

The main question is SHOULD they ever happen? We can't even keep from crashing into each other here on the ground— imagine the collateral damage that would occur from a mid-air auto crash.

• Mega Buildings: Again, we have plenty of large buildings here in 2019 (Burj Khalifa, anyone?). But nothing as massive as the city-sized Tyrell Corporation Pyramids seen in the movie. According to online sources, the building contains over eight hundred floors, and is 8,172 feet tall! That's 1.5 miles high! Now that's a building!

Mega Cities: Yeah, we have large cities, but nothing like the vast megalopolises seen in Blade Runner. According to director Ridley Scott, the film takes place in San Angeles— a city formed from the merger of San Francisco and LA, that's four hundred miles long and takes up most of the California coast.

It'll be a long time before anything remotely close to that happens in our world. Again, if ever.

Offworld Colonies: Next to the replicants, this is easily the second worst of the film's miscalculations. The movie features numerous ads and billboards urging the populace to start their lives over on the offworld colonies. HAW!

We couldn't even get back to the Moon today if we had to, much less set up a self-sufficient colony on another planet. And there don't seem to be very many other hospitable worlds in our solar system, so these colonies would have to orbit other stars light years away. There's no way a project of this magnitude will happen in the next 100 years, much less 10.

To make it even worse, at the end of the movie, replicant Roy Batty monologues, "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

That little speech implies that the colonies— as well as routine space travel and interstellar war— have been around for decades! 

• One thing that's conspicuously absent from the movie— cell phones and the internet. Whoops! Those two things seem to have been consistently overlooked by virtually EVERY sci-fi movie of the last two or three decades.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter