Every decade has a different vision of the future, but for one reason or another I am particularly fond of the 80s. There’s just something really special about 80s films like Blade Runner and Back to the Future, especially when we look back at them today.
The art direction in Blade Runner is particularly amazing and the technology is a mix of digital and analogue. There were two particular devices in the film that caught my eye, the Esper photo analysis machine and the vid-phone.
The Esper photo analysis machine is a device that can extract remarkable levels of detail from a photograph. It turns a regular photograph into a hi-resolution image that allows Deckard to not only zoom into detail but also pan around objects almost limitlessly. Probably imagining that in the future you could take a photograph with 3D information, like Google maps street view but in a single photograph. Regardless of the legibility or practicality of it, seeing Harrison Ford use it to find clues was really exciting. It was great to see him interact with it and hear the type of voice commands he used to operate it. Part of the reason why it was believable was that we saw how it worked, rather than have the scene cut short and rushed through.
As for the vid-phone, it’s just so simple and looks great in the grungy setting. Love the back lit display, the colours (red, white, pink and green) and the sound effects.
It was a shame they didn’t elaborate more on how the Voight-Kampff Test worked to identify Replicants, having it been such a big part in the book. Although Ridley Scott probably would have had a hard enough time translating the story into a 117-minute film.
If you like retro-future detective stories…