Blade Runner 2049 is the long anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner. 2049 brings Harrison Ford back to the big screen to continue his role of Rick Deckard. However this time, Ryan Gosling is the star of the show, playing K—a Nexus-9 replicant and blade runner. And just to recap, a blade runner is an officer who hunts and retires (kills) rogue replicants.
If you hadn’t already guessed it, Blade Runner 2049 is set in the fictional future of 2049. The world within this film is brutal. The effects of pollution and global warming are undeniable, and the world within this film is very literally built on mistakes—the mistakes which are seen so clearly in the original Blade Runner. Angie Han puts it best when she says that Blade Runner 2049 “reflects our present hopes and fears, as filtered through a dystopian dreamscape that will never come to pass. And it’s a harsh one – all strong angles, towering structures, and rugged materials.”
Despite the harshness and brutality shown throughout Blade Runner 2049, the film is filled with a vast array of colours and brightness which is rarely seen in a film like this. So what does all this say about our future in 30 years time?
In terms of technology, we aren’t too far away from the future depicted within this film. We’re already developing robots which look human-like, though at this stage, they’re not advanced enough to become the threat which we’ve seen within the Blade Runner films. However, it’s extremely likely that these technologies will develop quickly over the coming years as AI continues to grow.
Looking at the world depicted in these films, in my personal opinion, it’s not too far from our current world either. As I write this in 2020, climate change is an ongoing issue which, if changes aren’t made immediately, could ultimately leave us in a world looking like that within 2049. Additionally, the incorporation of Asian culture into Caucasian societies is already happening, with films, styles, and food becoming more normalised. While the latter aspect isn’t a bad thing, it’s an aspect which is important to acknowledge when speaking about future predictions and Blade Runner 2049.
However, I find the future definition of humans to be the most interesting part to me. Throughout this film, many characters (including Joi, K, and possibly Deckard) are non-humans. However, these characters are the ones which often show the most humanity in their actions. Despite this, the society depicted within 2049 generally looks down upon non-humans—even “retiring” those who do not conform to the rules and boundaries set for them.
This brings up a few questions for me. What is it to be a human? Who gets to decide who lives and who dies? And most importantly, who are we to try and play God?
So what does this have to do with our future in the next 30 years? Well, if our world follows in the footsteps of Blade Runner 2049, we will live in a world filled with chaos, brutality, and hate.
I suppose that isn’t too different from our current society after all.