The Blade Runner saga: the dystopian future imagined by Philip K. Dick

What is the origin of the Blade Runner saga

The novel on which Blade Runner is based

The Blade Runner movies are based on a book by science fiction master Philip K. Dick. titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Y published in 1968, many of the book’s themes are shown in the films. However, there are fundamentally different things.

The book is a science fiction classic that was nominated for that year’s prestigious Nebula Awards. lost against initiation rite by Alexei Panshin

what is the original book about

Despite not being a very long book, the plot is complex. In it is counted the story of detective Rick Deckard in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco.

Deckard is dedicated to chasing fugitive androids (who are forbidden to return to Earth from the alien colonies, where they are used as slaves), he must deal with his wife addicted to virtual reality, in addition to the fact that maintains the pretense that his electric sheep is real.

Yes really. In fact, this part of the plot is the most interesting thematic element in the novel, because there are few real animals left, and caring for and protecting any kind of creature gives someone a high status.

Stuck in a job he hates and with low self-esteem, Deckard hopes to fool everyone, including himself, about the sheep. If he pretends long enough that his sheep is real, and that he is a decent man, maybe that will come true.

All this affects the fact that, like dunes, the novel has a fundamental component in the portrait of the ecological disaster what the future entails. This is something relevant in the movies too, where details like acid rain or the wasteland that much of the planet has become are dropped.

What is a Blade Runner and where does that name come from?

The real origin of the term Blade Runner

A bladerunner is a term used in the movies to define the members of a special police unit that hunts replicants, beings created in the image of humans for unpleasant jobs. But nevertheless, the concept never appears in the original book and is barely referenced in passing in the film.

In fact, the origin of the expression bladerunner is very curious and was told by Ridley Scott himself in an interview in 1982. The screenwriter Hampton Francher put it as the title of the draft, along with other options, such as Android or dangerous days.

Scott loved it, but the writer admitted that it wasn’t his invention. It is the title of a book by William S. Burroughs called Blade Runner: A movie. They asked Burroughs for permission and used it for the film.

Similarly, the term bladerunner appears in a science fiction novel of the same title and written by Alan E. Nourse.

What movies and series exist?

Original Blade Runner Poster

Although it seems that only two movies have been made of bladerunnerThe truth is that everything is more complicated than it seems. Because of the first film there are many versions and, in addition, there is a series that, probably, you do not even know.

Let’s take a look at all of that, starting with the original movie.

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982)

The one that started it all. bladerunner is a science fiction film that falls under the noir genre or, as the snobs say, the neo noir. The action takes place in a dystopian city of Los Angeles during the month of November 2019.

The film depicts a future in which beings, made from genetic material and called replicants, are used to perform dangerous and degrading work on Earth’s extraplanetary colonies.

Built by the Tyrell Corporation to be “more human than humans,” the Nexus-6 generation is identical to a person, though with superior strength and agility and without emotional responses or empathy, at least in principle.

The replicants became illegal on Earth after a bloody riot and specialized police units, the blade runnersThey persecute and destroy them.

The film tells the story of a bladerunner, named Deckard and played by Harrison Ford, who must find and remove (kill) four replicants who have stolen a ship and returned to Earth to find its creator. However, everything will get complicated when the line between humanity and replication is very blurred, so much so that it makes one doubt who is a person and who is an android.

The film was a box office flop that divided critics, who considered it too slow and complex. They are not without reason, but, over time, the film has been claimed and become a cult piece that has influenced countless movies and stories.

To highlight your eexcellent aesthetics cyberpunk that earned him the Oscar and holds up well Over time.

How many versions are there of the original Blade Runner?

hold on, because there are seven different versions of the film.

The Workprint, the American theatrical version, the international version, the director’s cut and the final cut. In addition, there is also the version San Diego Sneak Preview Cut, which was only shown once in a preview and the North American television version. It is said that there is an eighth version of 4 hours (the early cut that only members of the film studio have seen).

Usually, you can see the international film version and the final cut. If you’re lucky, you can still pick up an anniversary DVD that includes the first five that we’ve told you about.

Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)

Denis Villeneuve was in charge of the titanic task of bringing the universe back to life bladerunner and the truth is that the film was not the expected success at the box office and was one of the films What divided the fans the most? this year. There are those who consider it little less than a masterpiece (no joke) and those who believe it is a disaster.

In the opinion of whoever writes this, it is a film with little soul that ends up failing. It highlights a rhythm that doesn’t quite gel and a Harrison Ford that shows that he hasn’t even bothered to find out what movie he was shooting. That we already know that everything happens and is part of its charm, but here it is exaggerated. We don’t even talk about Jared Leto, because he doesn’t deserve it. In general, I mean.

It does have redeeming qualities though, like a exquisite atmosphere, excellent music, although not Vangelis and some details of the universe bladerunner It would have been nice to explore more. But overall, it’s a desert to cross.

and what is it about Blade Runner: 2049?

For thirty years after the events of the original film (hence the date of the title), a new bladerunner, LAPD Officer “K” (played by Ryan Gosling), uncovers an ancient secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him to seek out Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former bladerunner who has been missing for thirty years.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus, the series

As a curiosity, HBO Max premiered, not long ago and without much hype, this computer animation series.

Set in, Los Angeles, in the year 2032, A young woman with deadly combat skills and no memory hunts down those responsible for her tortuous past. to find out the truth about who he is.

For that, he only has two clues: a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus.

Where to watch Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049

Can see Blade Runner: The Final Cut on Netflix Spain.

In Prime Video you have that same montage to rent for a fee, just like the original version that was released in theaters.

Blade Runner 2049 can also be seen on Netflix Spain right now. In Prime Video you have the possibility to buy it.

The differences between the book and the movies

Blader Runner 2049

We have already been able to see some differences between the original book and the movies. However, it is convenient to review a few more details so that you are an expert in the universe bladerunner.

  • In the book, Deckard is just a bounty hunter, not a cop.
  • The term replicant, like that of bladerunner, it also does not appear in the book, it was coined by the film’s screenwriter David Peoples.
  • The book is set in San Francisco and the movies in Los Angeles.
  • In the novel, most healthy humans have left the ecologically devastated planet and are mated with robot servants (called andies, of androids).
  • Deckard’s motivation in the book is to make enough money to have a real animal, something the remaining humans on Earth become obsessed with.
  • In the movies the plot that there is a religion is ignored, the Mercerism, whose believers use an empathy box to form a collective conscience and commune with Saint Wilbur Mercer.

The main theme of the book, and of the movies in a way, is that empathy. In the novel, the followers of the mercerianism they can share experiences and empathize. That’s something that replicants aren’t believed to be able to do, that’s why they are detected by the Voight-Kampff test.

While, in the book, this test consists of asking 20 or 30 questions, while connected to a device that measures emotional response, in the movies 6 or 7 are enough to discover if someone is empathetic and, therefore, human… or not.

In the end, that’s what runs below bladerunnerWhat makes us people? Luckily there are no Voight-Kampff tests, because seeing what we have agreed to and the effect of social networks, Deckard shoots us all dead and can buy all the sheep he wants.

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