In 1992 Director Ridley Scott created a futuristic dystopia which addressed the question what does it mean to be human. The in camera special effects created by David Dryer, Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich set a new standard for visual effects. The movie starred Harrison Ford as a policeman responsible for finding Replicants robots that looked human and were banned on Earth under penalty of death.
The exploration of the moral and philosophical quandaries that would come with computers and artificial intelligence was present in science fiction books dating back to the ’60s and ’70s – including Phillip K. Dick’s 1968 novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” which “Blade Runner” is based on. What made “Blade Runner” groundbreaking was it created the visual look, atmosphere and world of cyberpunk. Ridley Scott and his team of incredible technicians built a futuristic Los Angeles that was the perfect extension of the near-future dystopia sci-fi authors were writing about in their books.
As the role technology plays in our daily lives has grown exponentially since the ’70s and ’80s, the themes of the cyberpunk movement have permeated all aspects of popular culture. As a result, the international film market has increasingly gravitated toward this futuristic setting defined by technology – bleeding into genre re-defining superhero movies (“Dark Knight”), action movies (“The Matrix”) and anime (“Ghost in the Shell”) – for which “Blade Runner” is the visual touchstone. It’s a connection that filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, The Wachowskis and “Ghost in the Shell” visionary Mamoru Oshii readily acknowledge.