Blade Runner has been said to have significantly influenced the movie business, spawning countless imitations, setting a standard for how the future might look. It has even played a part in influencing modern architecture in general. Of course it can be difficult to determine what is influence and what is prediction.
But even a film like Blade Runner didn’t appear out of the blue, without any prior influences. It too has its share of “spiritual ancestors”…
- Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)
An epic tale about social injustice and technology run amok, situated in the near-future Dystopia of a towering city-state… Sound vaguely familiar? It should, although its sheer visual brilliance is probably the main link between it and films like BR, Dark City, and many others.
- Story-wise, BR’s roots can be traced back to the Film Noir genre, a style of American films that evolved in the 1940′s and lasted until the end of the 1960′s. Film Noir itself was often based on the sort of stories found in detective novels of people like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, who created now classic characters like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, respectively.
- Heavy Metal (MÈtal Hurlant) magazine and the work of Moebius
The French SF magazine “MÈtal Hurlant”, that eventually spawned an English language counterpart called “Heavy Metal”, has proven to be extremely influential. A co-founder and contributor to the magazine was French artist “Moebius” (Jean Giraud).
The Heavy Metal story “The Long Tomorrow” (drawn by Moebius) in particular – which was originally meant to be sort of a parody on American film noir – was a direct source of inspiration for Ridley Scott, because it had the look that Scott felt the film needed.
Ridley Scott wanted Giraud to work on Blade Runner, but he was under contract elsewhere at the time. Although he was not directly involved, his style was certainly referenced during production.
Other movies Moebius worked on:
- Alien (another film by Ridley Scott) (1979)
- Heavy Metal (1981): A movie inspired by the magazine of the same name; the “Taarna” segment of the movie was based on Moebius’ work.
- Tron (1982) on which he worked with Syd Mead, who himself did a lot of conceptual work for Blade Runner.
- Les MaÓtres du temps (which he also wrote) (1982)
- Willow (1988)
- The Abyss (1989)
- The Fifth Element (1997)
Posted in: 3. Influences