Blade Runner and Architectural representation in SCIFI

while Blade Runner (1982…and later versions) owes a great deal of its architectural imagination to earlier films such as Metropolis, to the drawings of Moebius and the SF magazine Métal Hurlant where his drawings were published, it did, in turn, become quite an iconic model for a many movies to come.


7 Responses to “Blade Runner and Architectural representation in SCIFI”

  1. Christine Kircos Says:

    Whenever I encounter Blade Runner I am always mesmerized with its visual style and appeal. I have often heard or read the film being regarded as one of the most influential and stunning films from a purely visual standpoint and I can see why. What amazes me is that the film originally came out in 1982, but it does not really seem to be dated, especially from the perspective of taking the film’s visual style into account.
    The presentation today at one point touched on how the city is devoid of nature and of animal life, which I feel is significant. This plays into the artificialness of the future society and helps to get across the idea of pollution the society that is clearly industrialized and human made. The architecture too gives off this sense through the crowdedness of the buildings and the lights. This is juxtaposed to Tyrell’s building which seems above the chaos of the city below and reaches for the sun, away from the darkness of the city the audience is immersed in. Again, the presentation today connected this to ancient architecture, which I thought was interesting. The architecture in Blade Runner communicates the marriage of a possible future with the past and as the biography clip in class suggests the architecture and the city serve as a character in the story of Blade Runner that is being communicated.

  2. mary Crandall Says:

    I agree it is unbelievable that this film came out in 1982 as the special effects do not feel artificial or detract from the story by being laughable in the year 2009. While I was watching this film I kept thinking of all the other movies that have tried to imitate the architecture of the city. I find the set up of the city with the flying cars/ships are very aesthetically similar to that of George Lucas’ Attack of the Clones.

    At around the 2:53 mark you are able to see most of the city as Anakin flies around

    It is ironic that the effects and the look of the city in the more recent star wars film is more dated than that of Blade Runner in 1982.

    I think it is important to note that Blade Runner was able to create the beautiful and grand architecture before cgi, and Attack of the Clones relies heavily on computer graphics and seems subpar in comparison.

  3. interesting comments! yes, it looks like Blade Runner constitutes the perfect marriage between the future and the past. some critics have suggested that it represents a sort of third space (Soja), a space that doesn’t exist in reality, but that, nonetheless, contains a lot of our social, visual imaginaries.

    as for the reference to Star Wars: I wasn’t aware of that. that can be added to our list of “citations”. I don’t think that city was just designed randomly, there must be some tribute to BR!

  4. I think that one of the more under-looked aspects of analyzing this film is this notion that there is this “societal decline”. In other words, there is this sense, again, of the reliability and uncontrolled technology as what may have originally been seen as ‘progressive’ or an ‘advancement’ in society, actually can be harmful. We can see this in Blade Runner, as the city and and its technology has polluted the earth and, in a certain sense, seized control of the city. There is this overall sense of automation of technology.

    Interestingly, the city presented in Blade Runner significantly reminds me to the ‘Machine City’ [1] in the Matrix, and specifically, “Revolutions”. The city, which similarly has a dark atmosphere with many lights, its also in a sens “controlled” by technology, or robots in this sense. In Blade Runner, the technology of the city plays a huge role in how it affects the characters, and thus, can be said that technology seizes control of the city–just like in this scene of The Matrix.


  5. Also, I found an article that is a great read that essentially discusses the contributions of Blade Runner to the landscapes of the Twenty-First century.

    Here is an example, and an interesting quote I found from his analysis:

    If his solution seems far-fetched, consider what the present century has already accustomed us to: purge trials and personality cults, Mutual Assured Destruction; the technologies of mass production applied to genocide…. Attempts to selectively re-engineer all of Creation are still comfortably beyond the limits of technology, but should a more capable technology someday become available, it isn’t difficult to imagine a future General Motors or Pentagon willing to experiment with it.

  6. Ariel Kroon Says:

    You know, I like how Harrison Ford’s three big movies/franchises all have that “real” feel to them. The glossy look and feel of modern CGI is completely absent from the original Star Wars, the original Indiana Jones, as well as Blade Runner. In the original Star Wars, space actually looks gritty, the spaceships are dirty, everything is just that much more real, and it’s one of the reasons I so despise the new ones, because they look fake.

    Blade Runner’s lack of this is also what draws me to the movie. It’s grubby and smoky and fits the story perfectly.

  7. This view of the future is now commonly used, I never realized it. I think these scenarios are the best though, it shows that advancements in technology can take a downfall. It gets to the point where society is now fighting the very thing they created. The dark, depessing look of the city helps to emphasize this, along with the fire which could possibly represent hell or something.

    On another note, i really enjoyed the music as well. It seems like something you would hear on one of those 20 minute Pink Floyd songs…haha.

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