As the long-awaited sequel to “Blade Runner,” “Blade Runner 2049” draws near, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the corporations depicted in what was in 1982 the far future Los Angeles of 2019 either no longer exist or have been significantly altered. The movie and its new sequel remind us that the future is not what it used to be. Since some of those depicted futures were dystopias, that fact is reassuring, to say the least, from the perspective of the 21st Century.

The Los Angeles of 2019 in ‘Blade Runner’

Blade Runner,” directed by Ridley Scott, featured the adventures of a particular type of law enforcement officer named Deckard, played by Harrison Ford.

Deckard’s job was to hunt down artificial beings called replicants who had escaped from interstellar colonies and found their way to Earth. Even though the replicants only have a four-year lifespan, Deckard’s job was to hunt them down and kill them.

The Los Angeles of “Blade Runner” was an urban nightmare of teeming masses living in a perpetual rainstorm while their corporate masters lorded over them from massive edifices that dominated the landscape. The police tried to keep order using flying cars. Neon advertising touted an escape from Earth in interstellar colonies, where opportunities were said to be limitless. One got the impression that the reality was somewhat less appealing. Replicants, artificial people, served as slave labor for these colonies.

The real Los Angeles of the 21st Century

The year 2019 is fast approaching but we can be sure that Los Angeles is not going to resemble the Los Angeles of "Blade Runner." Drought, rather than perpetual rain, seems to be the typical weather of Southern California.

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The real Los Angeles is nowhere near as vast as the city depicted in the movie. As Jonah Goldberg points out, corporations do not dominate civilization. California’s primary problem is that big government has taken on too much control. Interstellar colonies and replicants to build and maintain them do not exist. Flying cars are still in the development stage where they have been for the past couple of decades.

Predicting the future is hard

What “Blade Runner” and indeed every other movie that tries to predict the future proves is that we cannot fully grasp what life will be like 30 or so years hence. The advance of technology can take twists and turns that are hard to comprehend until they happen. Societies tend to change in unexpected ways as a result of unexpected technological advances. With “Blade Runner,” a movie that did not do very well in its initial release but since has become a cult classic, the lack of accuracy is all for the better.