Blade Runner is an all-timer as far as sci-fi movies go. Ridley Scott's classic adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick has gone on to become one of the shining examples of what can be accomplished within the genre. Released in 1982, the movie, like most great sci-fi, was set in the then distant future of November 2019. As those who care to look at today's date will note, we have officially breached the Blade Runner timeline. The future is now.
The movie opens with a text crawl setting up the plot. Robots have become commonplace in the future world depicted in Blade Runner. Known as Replicants they were merely a part of day-to-day life. But a certain group of Replicants led a bloody uprising that put a stop to the whole thing. Here's the opening crawl text, for those who may need a refresher.
"Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell corporation advanced Robot evolution into the Nexus phase, a being virtually identical to a human, known as a Replicant. The Nexus 6 replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Replicants were used off-world as slave labor, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an off-world colony, replicants were declared illegal on earth, under penalty of death. Special police squads, Blade Runner Units, had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing replicant. This was not called execution. It was called retirement."
Just after this crawl wraps up, a card pops up declaring that we are picking up in Los Angeles in the year 2019 during the month of November. That means we're in it now. Though, as anyone who has visited LA recently will surely note, the masterful Ridley Scott wasn't exactly spot-on with his assessment of what the future would look like. We don't have advanced humanoid robots. Holograms still aren't a thing, and the fashion in 2019 certainly doesn't resemble the world of Blade Runner. Though, Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard sure could rock a jacket.
Blade Runner, at the time of its release, was something of a bomb at the box office. Ridley Scott battled with the studio over the cut and, ultimately, didn't get his way. Years later, Scott would release the "Final Cut," which prompted a reevaluation of the movie and helped cement it as a stone-cold classic.
In 2017, a sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was produced, which saw Harrison Ford reprise his role as Rick Deckard, alongside Ryan Gosling in the lead. The movie was praised and went on to win cinematographer Roger Deakins a sorely deserved Oscar. But its massive $150 million production budget unfortunately got in the way of it being profitable for Warner Bros. Be sure to check out some of the comments on Blade Runner day from Twitter below.