LA Depicted: Blade Runner
There is much to surrender to the imagination when it comes to science fiction movies, but when it’s time to measure the believability in flicks that depict Los Angeles in the future, even the least creative features can turn out to be the most implausible. Enter 1982 sci-fi classic, Blade Runner and its perpetual downpour over a city with buildings that occasionally spew fire into the dark and dismal atmosphere of 2019.
The 21st century LA viewer may look upon Blade Runner — based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? — and smile at the past’s obsession with automobiles-turn-flying spacecrafts or ponder why the city seems to have transformed into present-day China but the most unbelievable-it’s-almost-charming aspect of this film is the rain. Los Angeles finds itself lucky if the words “drought” don’t spill out of the weatherman’s mouth too many consecutive years in a row.
However, next to all of the inconceivable LA characteristics in the film, several iconic downtown cameos remind the viewer they are still watching a movie set in the city of angels. First is Union Station. Although LA is hardly known for its public transportation, the tall arches and open floor plan, taking the form of a police station, fools no Downtowner. Next is the 2nd Street Tunnel, famous for its spinal cord of lights lined down the center of the shiny, white 1,500-foot tunnel.
Lastly, The Bradbury Building makes its memorable appearance. Captured throughout the entire latter half of the film, the unforgettable structure resists its camouflage as the creepy inventor’s gigantic house. The film could have been shot in Timbuktu but those dreamy iron railings and strong wooden fixtures of the Bradbury, along with the tunnel and shot of Union Station, are unmistakably LA.
(Images ©Warner Bros.)