Science fiction cult classic is a must-see for college students

Alex Brinkhorst

As one of the grandfathers of all of modern science fiction movies, Blade Runner started a trend and has a compelling plot, interesting characters, a classic and memorable opening title crawl, and it stars Harrison Ford.

Blade Runner is the 1982 science fiction cult classic based on the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” The movie stars Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer, and it is directed by Ridley Scott. It follows Ford’s character, Rick Deckard.

During the movie, Deckard is sent after four “Replicants” that have returned to earth. Along the way he meets Rachel. Not much can be said without spoilers at this point, but we are then treated to a neo-noir plot with a cyberpunk twist.

This movie is a must see for science fiction fans and those interested in deeper philosophical themes. Themes of humanity are the key factor to ask the question, “What is human?” As Rachel once states, “Have you ever retired a human by mistake?”

Part of Blade Runner’s success was due to the popularization of the cyberpunk genre. The idea of advanced technology and human advancement is curbed by greedy corporations with sinister plots or governments beginning to breakdown. To quote Mike Pondsmith, the creator of the tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020, think “High tech, low life.”

Other famous cyberpunk works include Neuromancer, a novel by William Gibson, and the 1999 film, The Matrix.

The setting and design of everything in the movie is what really drives the movie home; for example, the beautifully created skylines of the 2019 Los Angeles, the Tyrell Corporation pyramid, and the interesting technology that seems as if early tapes and other analog devices somehow advanced more than our digital ones have. Ridley Scott knows how to build a compelling science fiction world due to experiences with the movie “Alien.”

With this setting, people and especially students can seriously relate to many of these cyberpunk themes, including powerful companies and government corruption with vastly expanding technologies that can be used to monitor and take control. This created control seems to eventually spiral out of control and into chaos. This feeling of corporate suffocation is something that many college students can relate to. When was the last time you haven’t been exposed to Facebook, Amazon or Disney?

With all of its upsides, Blade Runner has its flaws. The main romance, while short and brief, feels forced, and depending on which cut of the movie you watch, Ford’s narration is exceptionally bad. However, these minor details are made up for by compelling and sympathetic yet terrifying antagonists.

Overall, Blade Runner is one of the most interesting and unique movies to watch, and with its sequel, Blade Runner 2049 being released on DVD, Amazon Prime and other streaming services, it is surely a film worth watching.