Screen shot from Blade Runner (Image via Warner Brothers)
8. Uneasy capitalism and objectification
As we march closer and closer to the 2019 date of Blade Runner, it can sometimes feel unnervingly prescient. Sure, we are still bereft of flying cars. Moreover, if someone has created beautiful robot friends, they are cruelly (or mercifully) keeping it from the rest of us.
But other, larger themes present in Blade Runner are nowadays a little too close to home. For example: when you think about it, who is at the top of the city’s hierarchy? It’s not a mayor or other government official. Instead, it’s Tyrell, the fabulously privileged head of the Tyrell Corporation. And Tyrell, for all of his chess playing and his odd dream of a corporate building (where he also lives, like a work-obsessed CEO) is a man of capitalism.
Even the gritty, darkened streets of future Los Angeles speak to this. People there are bombarded by ads. And the replicants that evade Deckard there are considered to be not people, but commodities. Tyrell tinkers with their kind, creating short-lived, emotionally stunted creatures because his customers demand it.
If he were to produce something more akin to flesh-and-blood humans, it would destroy his profit margin, after all. No matter that the replicants are clearly sentient and raging against their dangerous and shortened lives.