Blade Runner's Dystopian World and the L.A. of Today

The original "Blade Runner" takes place in the Los Angeles of November 2019. How does the film’s vision of the city compare with the present-day reality?

1 minute read

November 23, 2019, 1:00 PM PST

By Camille Fink

Los Angeles Skyline

Austin Censor / Unsplash

The 1982 film "Blade Runner" envisioned a Los Angeles of the future—this month, November 2019. The LAist staff takes a closer look at what Ridley Scott’s world looked like compared to real-life Los Angeles.

The movie version of the city depicts a dreary and smog-choked environment that no one talks about. "By contrast, the actual November 2019 is inundated with research, fear, conversation and controversy over the 'untold suffering' that climate change will bring."

And the demographics of the Blade Runner Los Angeles look a bit peculiar. It is, inexplicably, a city populated by Asian people wearing bamboo hats and carrying oil paper umbrellas, with few other people of color. "While Blade Runner doesn't nail the population breakdown, its instincts are right when it comes to its portrayal of a multicultural — and inequitable — future for L.A."

The article also looks at the flying cars, replicants, hyper-dense urban landscape, and housing of the sci-fi version of Los Angeles. While many of these features do not quite match up with Los Angeles as we know it, the influences behind these visions of the future and the ways they diverge from real life are interesting to consider.

Monday, November 18, 2019 in LAist

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