In the 1980s, 2019 seemed so far off that several high-profile sci-fi films of the decade set their stories over three decades into the future on this very year. Ridley Scott's cyberpunk neo-noir film Blade Runner, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action sci-fi film The Running Man and Katsuhiro Otomo's groundbreaking anime classic Akira are all set in 2019, and each displays dystopian or post-apocalyptic visions of their relative future.
However, as Back to the Future Part II showed with its predictions of 2015 in 1989, accurately forecasting 30 years into the future is a cinematic impossibility. To each of these films' credit, that was not their primary intent. Instead, the filmmakers presented a future that best suited the sci-fi story they were respectively trying to tell. But as outlandish as the cinematic depictions of this year turned out, there are certain elements where each of the three of them were relatively on point. But before we go what each film were able to get right about 2019, here's a brief refresher on each of these popular, and very different, sci-fi movies.
1982's Blade Runner is set in a dark, dystopian version of Los Angeles where commercialism, overpopulation and pollution have taken a visible toll on the world. A loose adaptation of the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film follows LAPD cop Rick Deckard after he's tasked with hunting down and terminating synthetic humans known as replicants that have gone rogue on Earth. As Deckard hunts the rain-soaked streets of LA for the replicants, the film explores themes of self-identity and the very nature of humanity.
1987's The Running Man is also set in a dystopian vision of California, with Schwarzenegger in the role of helicopter pilot Ben Richards. Loosely adapting Stephen King's 1982 novel of the same name, Ben is falsely accused of massacring innocent civilians during a food riot and is forced to participate in a popular reality television series that has him fight government-funded gladiators to the death in a booby-trapped arena for the chance of a full pardon.
1988's Akira is an animated adaptation of Otomo's manga of the same name, and is set in the post-apocalyptic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo. After Tetsuo Shima develops powerful telekinetic abilities following a motorcycle accident, his new powers threaten to engulf all of reality with as his best friend and biker gang leader Shōtarō Kaneda finds himself on a collision course with his childhood friend.