Friday, September 21, 2007

Past imperfect

Next week we're going to the New York Film Festival unveiling of the latest, and said-to-be-last, incarnation of Blade Runner, which now exists in at least seven different versions (five of them are being collected in a DVD box set that Warner Home Video is issuing in December. This definitive-as-of-now version is scheduled to play New York's Ziegfeld beginning Oct. 5). I've always been partial to the international cut that I've owned on Criterion laserdisc for almost 20 years, but I'm interested in what this new cut will hold. (Ridley Scott's last stab at it, in 1992, comes across as underfunded and not quite there.) Lora, a big fan of TV's Battlestar Galactica, hasn't seen the film in any version, and that is an oversight for any science fiction fan that can easily be corrected as the vastly influential film celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Blade Runner gets so much right it's easy, and I think necessary, to overlook the details that stand out as 1982. The Los Angeles of 2019 may yet be as dark and polluted as the one in the film, but it's pretty much a cinch that no one will be flying spinner vehicles in 12 years. (And the likelihood of android replication is equally small.) The foibles of futurism are the amusing subject of Paleo-Future, a new blog dedicated to prognostications that haven't quite worked out, like abundant options for space travel in 2007, microprojecting credit cards (which may not be all that far off), and videos of a "classroom of the future," circa 1987. True, there has been tremendous change in technology, represented in its own humble way by this very blog. But what was it again that had everyone thinking that by 2000 we'd be up, up, and away in ways we're still just dreaming of?

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