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As of Wednesday, Blade Runner is no longer set in the future

Flying cars!
Flying cars!

It’s Nov. 20, 2019 and flying cars have yet to become a thing. I can’t believe Blade Runner would mislead us like that.

The beloved 1982 film — based on the Phillip K. Dick sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? , directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford as a “blade runner” — was indeed set in Los Angeles in November of 2019.

That date has sent Twitter ablaze for weeks leading up to Wednesday, with most social media users commiserating over the fact that we haven’t become quite as technologically advanced as the film promised.

While we certainly don’t have flying cars or robots that blend in so well among us we can’t differentiate them from humans, the film did get it right in a few other key and less exciting areas: the effects of pollution and climate change, and a more pronounced disparity between the rich and the poor. As we’ve also witnessed with a massive increase in sales for dystopian fiction over the last few years, there’s a pervading sense that we might slowly be approaching a true apocalypse in one form or another. That premonition is no longer just the stuff of science-fiction. (Fortunately, crying in the rain has always been in vogue.)

As far as technological advancements go, we do have digital billboards, video calls and digital personal assistants of the Siri variety, but phone booths have mostly become relics. Social media and the internet, however, were never predicted by the film and probably would have been useful resources for Ford’s Rick Deckard as he searched for replicants.

While Blade Runner ‘s very specific fashion made a massive impact on the runway over the years (ex. Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier), its cyberpunk style and affinity for neon didn’t quite translate to the streets.

What we can be thankful for not having, however, are violent robot refugees visiting from outer space hell-bent on doing whatever they can to find their creator and prolong their “lives.” So perhaps not having flying cars isn’t that bad of a trade-off.

We should probably consider ourselves lucky for not actually living in the world Blade Runner promised us way back in 1982. Then again, just give it some time.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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