For many, Ridley Scott's 1982 movie Blade Runner created an unforgettable view of sci-fi that would last for generations. Both fantasy enthusiasts and occasional movie watchers can agree that this was, and is a film masterpiece. Now, in 2017, there is a new kid on the block: Blade Runner 2049.
While you may have the urge to rush and appoint the more modern version the best, you must first stop and consider each movie's aesthetics and contribution to the games and filmmaking community. In this article, we will do just that by comparing the different aspects of these versions.
Style: 1982 Blade Runner Vs 2017 Blade Runner
1982 Blade Runner:
The 1982 Blade Runner is based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Phillip K. Dick. It tells a story about a chaotic future filled with action-packed scenes, Replicants, and contemplation of ethics.
The original Blade Runner's style remains unmatched by even modern films in the sci-fi genre. Utilizing a cyberpunk theme, it skillfully depicts an industrial dystopia in a familiar Los Angeles-like setting. In the movie, synthetic creatures are more human than their creators and even as technology advances, promises made to society are seen as never fulfilled.
From the high tech cars that hover polluted cities to the rather scratched surface of an intercom, there is pessimism and isolation, but no one seems to complain. It raises the question as to whether more artificial intelligence and technology is actually the answer to our problems.
2017 Blade Runner:
The 2017 version, Blade Runner 2049, attempted to stay true to its original counterpart. However, it no longer bases its aesthetics on Los Angeles and incorporates thematic undercurrents. Whereas the original Blade Runner clearly questions whether Replicants have authentic human emotions and what it means to be alive, the newer version comes across as "lacking".
Blade Runner 2049 introduces ideas - should people be subservient if peace is achieved? What defines free will? Will modern society be able to cope with economic injustices- that are not pondered enough to resonate to the end. Though its visuals are exceptional, its storyline is nowhere near that of the original.
Movie Pace: 1982 Blade Runner vs 2017 Version
1982 Blade Runner: Even upon first glance, you can see that the original Blade Runner has a well-paced storyline that is more than just shiny objects and striking back against robots. It portrays the overlooked link between humanity and technology, and a society where people are trying to make sense of who they are. It draws viewers in by allowing them to get a glimpse into another culture with a different set of habits that, although distinct from our own, we can still relate. It's a classic in the cyberpunk genre.
2017 Blade Runner: Though the newest Blade Runner has better visuals due to modern technology and is perhaps more palatable, it is not nearly as enticing as the original. It tells a great story but does not have viewers on the edge of their seats the way the 1982 version did. The 2017 version holds your hand as you watch, but the original uncompromisingly forces you into it.
An Implied Meaning?
Dystopian stories could very well be a criticism of the present; they are trying to warn of the future consequences of what humanity is doing right now. I believe both original Blade Runner and the newer one do just that. Of course, there are those who think all of that philosophical conversation about a fictional work is pointless because "fiction is not reality" as if fictional stories existed in a vacuum and their only purpose is simply to entertain.
In many aspects, we see the movie directors trying to make the mundane remains of a devastated society into visual poetry. Fragility is everywhere: the raindrops running on the characters' faces in a poorly lit night, the blasé expressions of the passerby, and the Replicants begging for their lives. It all cautions of a gloomy fate. Many things in the past that were "fiction" are now commonplace. The present progresses into the future, and it is important that we mind what we do now so we do not have to regret it then.
I think that the capacity of a movie to relate to so many aspects of real life is exactly what makes it a good art piece. I am talking about the great movies that will keep you thinking about them long after you have left the movie theatre. I had that experience after watching the original Blade Runner from 1982. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Blade Runner 2049, with which I had a completely forgettable experience upon its release in the beginning of October 2017.
Some games inspired by the 1982 version
The 1982 Blade Runner movie served as inspiration for many games, such as the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, Mean Streets, and Snatcher. However, there are only a few games specifically tailored to the film: a 1985 Blade Runner shooting game and a 1977 Blade Runner simulator.
Blade Runner Shooting Game: Perhaps a classic that you came across in your childhood, the Blade Runner shooting game focused primarily on the action sequences of the movie. It was created by British game company CRL Group PLC and was released to consoles in 1985. Unlike conventional shooting games, the 1985 game does not host typical robbers and killers as villains, but took inspiration from the movie and used artificial intelligence that wanted to live. It is a game with a deep meaning from an even deeper movie.
Blade Runner Simulator: This simulator, developed by Westwood Studios and Published by Virgin Interactive, was released for PC play in 1977, focused on storyline and narratives, and allowed users to explore an authentic, high-tech Los Angeles setting. It greatly incorporated aspects of both the movie and the book (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).