Blade Runner, a Science-Fiction Movie?

By Tony Chang

In the movie industry today, it is hard to place movies into one single classification. There are just too many categories to consider, all of which are very broad and have a thin line in the criteria that is required by each. What one perceives to be a dramatic film, another may describe as an action-adventure movie. This diversity is resulted from the lack of discrete definitions in articulating what a particular assortment is supposed to be. So, people are forced to provide their own definition of every individual category and decide whether or not the selected film corresponds. In addition, the filmmakers themselves are placing a greater burden on the viewers, for they do not produce the film to target a specific audience or place their own work into a specific category. Besides, categories are unimportant, for movies should be judged by the quality of their content and the way they proved their theme rather than fulfilling the requirements of a single genera. In regards to Blade Runner, I placed it into a very broad category, science fiction. However, the decision was hard to establish because many aspects of the movie fits into the criteria for a number of different classes. Possibilities that were debated include action, romance, suspense and even classic.

What is Science Fiction?

In today's diverse society, it should be safe to say that not everyone's opinions are the same. In my view, a movie may be categorized as being science fiction if it satisfies three main criteria's. First of all, the movie must draw on scientific knowledge. The whole idea of creating a sci-fi film should be to allow the general public to become exposed to new scientific discoveries through entertainment. Scientific data presented in a movie allows the audience to learn science and enjoy a relaxing break at the same time. In other words, a movie is good if the filmmaker optimizes the accurate use of scientific resources and provides some sort of learning experience. Second, the film must use speculation in an imaginative manner. What this statement means is that the producer must be creative in giving the film a futuristic tone. This is not to say that the actual setting must be in the future. It does not really matter whether the movie takes place during a period in the past, present, future or all three. The important thing is that the film must be produced with a futuristic frame of mind. This way, the movie can be given both a futuristic and a realistic feeling. The purpose is to present possibilities to the public that are feasible and not too outlandish that it will be considered ludicrous. Finally, it must posses the ability to attract all audiences. A good movie will combine aspects of different movies together in a way that will not offend fans of a specific category; and as a result, avoid major criticism. Although it is merely impossible to avoid all objection, providing points that most audiences can appreciate will decrease dispersion. Appealing to different people will also help the producers because a broader audience means more patrons which ultimately results in greater cash inflow.

Blade Runner: A SCI-FI Movie?

In order to judge a movie, one must take the origin of the movie into consideration. A person cannot comment on the quality of a film unless the time period in which the film was released is known. Blade Runner was produced over a decade ago, so times have definitely changed and criteria's for movies have changed as well. Going back to the time of production, 1982, this movie could have rationally been labeled as science fiction. However, in the movie industry today, one can argue against the justification of that decision because of the thin line that now separates filming categories. Putting Blade Runner into perspective today, I would still have to insist that Blade Runner is sci-fi because it satisfies all criteria's previously listed. One, there are many discoveries that were used. The most outstanding is the use of cyborgs. Although we do not necessarily have plastic people walking around in the streets today, we do have a form of genetic reproduction, plastic surgery. Not to say that plastic surgery is equal to creating people, it is a way of modifying the skin. The only difference is that the producers took this concept and manipulated it a bit more drastically in order to create an advanced impression. Two, having genetically reproduced people is still a concept that is attainable today. Therefore, creators of the film were not too eccentric in using cyborgs as the main topic of the film. This movie takes us into the future, to the year 2016. Flying cars and awkward buildings were used to represent what the authors see the world in that time. Today, people do not imagine flying cars anymore; instead, they wonder how long it will take before they are actually out on the road or in the air. We have already produced cars that can be driven in water, so it will only be a matter of time before cars can fly. Blade Runner contains allot of things that were only considered dreams back then; however, all may seem fairly realistic to the minds of today. Last, there are definitely topics in the film that should attract many audiences. There is romance, action, suspense, conflict between good versus evil, almost everything. Take the incident in which the hero falls in love with an enemy and overcomes adversity to stay with her, this is a representation of love and romance. As for action, there is enough explosions and brutality to define the word violence. People must understand that this is a fairly old film and should appreciate the effort the producers must have put forth in creating this movie. This is a great movie, a presentation from the past that is still entertaining today; and above all, a real spectacle to viewers with high standards.

Written by Tony Chang

Copyright Tony Chang, 1999.

Image artwork by Nostrildarmus