City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Page 1 of 5)

Class Discussion: ‘Blade Runner’

This is a space to continue our class discussion of Blade Runner.

Here are the group discussion prompts from today’s class, as starting points (though you can address anything you want in relation to the film here):

Consider the novel & film together. While you should certainly take stock of their similarities and differences, this is only a first, brainstorming step. Your discussion here should not only note key similarities and/or differences but also (and this is the crucial part!) discuss the significance of these similarities and/or differences. Putting two texts in dialogue with each other allows you to create a more nuanced argument about their themes, conflicts, characters, and meanings.

  1. Consider the novel & film together. While you should certainly take stock of their similarities and differences, this is only a first, brainstorming step. Your discussion here should not only note key similarities and/or differences but also (and this is the crucial part!) discuss the significance of these similarities and/or differences. Putting two texts in dialogue with each other allows you to create a more nuanced argument about their themes, conflicts, characters, and meanings.
  1. Consider the scene in J.F. Sebastian’s apartment, where the replicants encounter other automata (his “toys” and creations). In particular, consider the scene where Deckard uncovers Pris (before she attacks him).
  1. Consider the scene in which Roy encounters his various creators (first “Chew” with the eyes, then J.F., and then Tyrell).
  1. What’s up with the “unicorn” dream & origami figure at the end of it?
  1. Consider the theme of “eyes” in the movie.
  1. Consider the theme of memories in this movie.
  1. Consider the setting of the film, and how this contributes to the themes, plots, and conflicts.
  1. Consider the scene near the end, in which Roy and Deckard struggle and fight. How does this battle help reinforce (or complicate) our assumptions about these characters, about the distinction between replicants and humans, and about good and evil?

Also, make sure to check out today’s class notes (once they are posted), for more themes of what we discussed. Let’s engage with the notion of the “cyborg,” and also “prosthesis” (remember to check out the great scene, starting at minute 43, where Deckard enhances his vision to see into Leon’s photography through the use of the Esper machine).

[The Logistics]

Just a reminder that you should make your at least one comment (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by F 11/4. Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments (of course, more are always welcome!) in response by 11:59pm on Su 11/6.

Your comment (reply) can be just a few sentences: provide the quote/citation and a quick explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question (or you can raise questions, complicate issues, extend discussions, analyze a character, or setting, etc. &/or discuss central conflicts/values/themes through the use of your evidence/analysis). Feel free to post multiple comments, and also to respond to others. If you’ve already discussed some of these instances in your previous blogs or in class, you should feel free to draw on that material.The goal is to have some good virtual discussions here to help you think critically about important themes/questions raised by this complex novel, and to find/analyze/synthesize various pieces of evidence in support of claim.

The goal in all cases is to provide specific examples from the film (quotes/scene + citation – use the minute:second format) with discussion/analysis and some connection to a larger claim/argument. You must cite currently in MLA format (in-text citation).

Blade Runner

The movie Blade Runner was excellent to watch. It complements the novel I Dream of Electric Sheeps? very well. The movie actually enhances the novel. Through the movie the book actually begins to make sense.

Through the movie we see less sensitivity from Deckard towards the androids. However it makes perfectly good sense. The movie brings more life, personality, and imagery to the characters that one may not get from reading the book. The androids have a violent, fight, and survival persona. Also the want for not just freedom but longevity for life. This is sensed more in the novel then the book. The persona of the androids in the movie makes sense of the book because you can actually get a feel and a sense of why the androids may have to be taken down. Unlike in the book which you feel more sensitive or seem to sympathize towards the androids.

A particular line in the movie struck me. The line when the android said I do not want to die. Watching the movie verses the book and hearing those lines make me feel as though an android cannot die. The androids place too much emphasis towards themselves. How can something that’s not really living die. The androids are not living. They are what you may call cyborgs and cyborgs cannot die but they can however be destroyed. For example the technology of the house in Their Shall Be Soft Rains the house does not die although the people have died. But it is possible for technology to be destroyed.

I really enjoyed the movie and believe it would have been better to watch before reading the book because it may have made reading the book more interesting. The book could have become more interesting because we would have been able to see stuff more vividly and imaginatively. The book was sort of dull compared to the movie. The only thing we as readers would have had to done was incorporate mercerism and things like that to not lose the essence of the original work which is the book.

Is Humanity Truly Superior?

In the Movie Blade Runner Rick Deckard is forced to continue his old job as “Replicant Hunter”. His assignment to eliminate four escaped Replicants from the colonies who have returned to Earth. A very difficult task Deckard is presented with because these new models “Nexus-6” prove to have high intelligence and unique fighting capabilities. Our first experience with a Nexus-6 is the opening minutes of the movie at the 4:55 minute mark. Leon a Nexus-6 is being interviewed by Holden another “Replicant Hunter”, giving him the Voight-Kampff test to see if he has what humans have the only thing that separates them from the “replicants” empathy. Leon who doesn’t have the intelligence level of his counterparts resorts to violence when he figures out his cover is already blown by killing Holden and escaping with his life. Rick Deckard is then called in to hunt these New types, because he is the best “Blade Runner” around no one is better then him, and he is the only one capable of hunting down and dealing with these new type of Replicants (11:37).  The second run in with these new Nexus-6 types will be at the Tyrell office when Rick gives the test to the Rachel and it took over 100 questions for Rick to conclude she is a replicant, and not the usual 20-30 (21:30). This shows how adaptive the new types are, they are almost undetectable if one would quit the test after the usual 20-30 questions they would continue to pass undetected. Its the tyrell Dream to make them as human as possible “more human than human” (21:40). He built the nexus-6 to be as perfect as possible, he installed a fail-safe of a lifespan of 4 years to combat the fact that they are better then humans, and are  as intelligence as their creators. It was concluded after 4 years they would start generating the only thing that separates them from Humanity, emotions and empathy. It was hinted that these 6 escaped Nexus-6 models were starting to generate empathy, at the 25:03 mark Rick finds pictures Leon took in his apartment of their life, leading up to their arrival on Earth. Roy Batty another Nexus-6 refereed to those pictures as “precious” to Leon. Using these pictures Rick was able to find another Nexus Model Zhora, when he confronts her she was able to easily see through his ruse and nearly kill Deckard but couldn’t only because she didn’t have enough time and ran to escape. After Dealing with Zhora, Deckard is confronted by Leon who; in is anger at the death of his friend by Deckards hands wishes to kill him. Leon’s strength took Deckard by surprise and he would of been easily killed if not for Rachel who ended up saving his life (1:02:01). It shows that these Replicants are better than humans physically, and intelligently when Roy is introduced into the story. Roy was able to easily beat his creator in a game of chess someone J.F. Sebastian said was one of the most brilliant men alive. Using chess and Sebastian he was able to meet his creator and Plead for a longer life, through this back and forth between Eldon Tyrell  and Roy it shows his high intelligence. Eldon Tyrell notices what Roy is going through and offers him solace in enjoying what he has done and appreciate what he accomplished to this point at the end of his lifespan. “The prodigal son…..quite a prize” (1:21:19). It was towards the end of the movie when Roy loses the last Nexus-6 Pris the one he had emotional attachment to, you see his pain when he loses her  (1:37:10). When their life cycle comes close to the end they gain the only thing that separates them from Humanity, empathy. In Roys last moments he performs an act suggesting perhaps that he has gained the empathy that is the thin dividing line between the Humans and the Replicants: he grabs his adversary and helps him up but before saving him he tells him something important. “Quite the experience to live in fear isn’t it, that’s what it is to be a slave” (1:45:18). Roy wanted to show Deckard what they were going through being hunted, then he saved him because he seen that Deckard didn’t want to die, and he also didn’t want to die. In that Moment he understood, and finally shared with Deckard what he seen in his short life, leaving him with a new understanding of the Replicants.

My replica is not me !!!

Blade runner is an awsome movie that I liked, however there is no main similarities between the book Do Android Dream Of Electric Sheep ? And the movie Blade Runner. It is like as if this is a totally different story while the book is also a different story. For example, there was a tv show in the book where it actually made a turning point in the whole story. It was the melting point of the escalating events that occurred. Blade runner in particular has no Buster Friendly or mercerism conflict within.

The idea of the kampoff test was not similar to the one in the book. Or at least I expected the test to be something highly important. It seemed like in the movies it’s just questions randomized to ask robots where actually the androids are not similar to the books characterized andys. The book made the test more interesting by simulating the event happening before and after the test. Preparations, important and plot of the situations makes it very important thing once done all eyes and ears are to be open in full capacity during that moment.

Despite the fact that characters are different and events are mostly different then the book. There was a strange idea where one Andy wanted to expand its life time (1:22:00 – 1:24:00). During the same event in the book I saw no relation to an Andy obsessed with life time except for once or twice mentioning a life time of four years in the book. However it’s a little different in here because the Andy actually wants to expand the time range of its living time.
In conclusion, I believe many things were different that distinguish the book from the movie but mostly the main idea is similar and is to be looked it very deeply.

Creation Gone From Good to Horribly Wrong

So in certain moments when it comes to making your creations, either a machine or an android, you may think that it’s successful and nothing can go wrong. But when the future comes, you won’t be able to predict what’s gonna happen next. After seeing the movie “Blade Runner,” there were some parts that were a little similar to the book “Do Androids Dream a Sheep.” However, most of the scenes and the plot were different comparing to the text. For example, instead of naming the androids just androids, the movie actually named them Replicants. Also, in the movie, the Replicants didn’t have their lasers or guns just like in the book where Rick Deckard fought against that android and he had his laser. But the most important thing that movie didn’t have, unlike the text, is that they didn’t include the word “empathy.” As for making the movie similar to the book, they show a way how the Replicants acted.

Out of all of the Replicants that are crazy and out of their minds, Roy is the most insane Replicant. The way how he does his actions was mad and deranged. For example, when he got to finally meet his creator, Tyrell, he told him that he wants to have more life just like the humans have. But Tyrell then explained to Roy why he doesn’t want to give Roy more life. After that, as Roy got up close to Tyrell and put his hands onto his face, he then stick both of his thumbs inside of Tyrell’s eyes. Making the creator dead by his own creation. This completely shows that as you develop your creation, it will soon then betray you just by killing you. In other words, it won’t be following the master’s orders at all. Not only did killing Tyrell made Roy really insane, but as he saw Pris died by Deckard, he started howling like a wolf and he was chasing Deckard while his pants and shirt were off. As he was running around looking for Deckard, he was laughing maniacally and starting patronizing him by saying “Come out and play! You won’t be able to play with me if you don’t meet face to face.” So as you let your creation go, doing somethings on its own, then sooner or later your creation will become an insane monster in the next level. So if we humans must learn something before the future comes, we must know to always keep an eye onto our creation very precisely.

The One Where I Realize Everything Really Late

Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat.

  • I did NOT like Blade Runner.
  • It was super slow. And this is coming from a guy who enjoys slow burns.
  • Cut out everything that made Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? interesting.
  • But aesthetically, an interesting film. It’s setting and how well it’s realized is easily the highlight of the film.
  • I appreciate that they gave Roy more to do. Didn’t really appreciate exactly what he did with that time.
  • Sebastians creepy toys are…well creepy as hell.
  • Pris’ death is a straight up nightmare sequence.
  • Yes, Deckard’s probably a replicant. Unlike the book, Deckard never takes the Voight-Kampff test to prove his authenticity. So unless Deckard became a completely different person in some cut scenes and talked to Gaff about his dream, that unicorn scene is for sure a confirmation that Deckard is a replicant.
  • I won’t happily do so but I’ll give the film another shot to impress me but upon first viewing, my mind is usually made up. Maybe I’m missing some of the finer points.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way lets get into this thing.

Blade Runner is an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that is lacking. Probably because it’s an adaptation, these things usually don’t go that well. Now Professor I know you didn’t want us to explore the differences between the book and the movie but this is a glaring difference that is begging to be brought to light by moi, and it would be a disservice to America to not address this: What the hell happened to to the andys in this movie?

Not literally. They died. Again Pris’ death is a nightmare. Arguably the greatest thing about the book is the fact that it takes no particular stance on who’s greater human or andy. Countless points in the text show that andys are perfectly capable of acting like a human and humans are perfectly capable of acting like andys. Blade Runner completely throws that out the window except for a subtle nod at the beginning. At the end of the opening crawl(the text, not the whole first act), you see block that says:

“This was not called execution. It was called retirement.”

This is of course in reference to the act of killing an andy. But the text makes sure to remind you that these aren’t humans otherwise it would be an execution. Instead to justify a barbaric thing(read:murder), the humans turn the act of killing into a service and thus a Blade Runner is born. This was a perfect nod at the fact that their classifications in the book meant nothing & that they were frequently in reversed roles, a concept the movie ditched in favor of layering on just how evil replicants can be. I just wish it hadn’t been a nod and been an actual idea explored in the film. In Ridley Scott’s defense, I appreciate the fact that it is their selfishness and their desire to live longer that motivates them to act how they do. I just wish he had made them capable of being more humane, a characteristic that the worst andy in the book, Rachael, shows tremendously in Blade Runner.

It’s a weird film. It includes animals, many in reference to plot points in the book but doesn’t even broach the topic of Mercerism. There’s no real classifications outside of human and andy, which robs the film of some of the texts greater exploration of the ever shifting dynamic of their hierarchy. THERE’S NO DAMN BUSTER FRIENDLY, which ruins the twist in the book that levels the playing field. Oh wait, I have another point.

Blade Runner plays out like a noir film. One of the core ideas of a noir film is usually the moral implications of the protagonists actions and how they weigh on them. This does not exist in Blade Runner.  Deckard is a fairly bland character with very little dialogue, weak motivations, and virtually no conscience. He’s also a good shot but awful in close quarters. Everywhere he goes, replicants die. But this never really does much to him. Outside of being rattled by two particular encounters, he’s the same character whereas Deckard in the book undergoes a dramatic change. The further and further he gets into the hunt, the  more physically, mentally and emotionally drained he becomes. He seemingly falls out of love with his wife, falls in love with an andy, questions his own authenticity and questions whether what he’s doing is really morally sound.

Holy sh…

Wow ok, good job. I get it. Yep, he’s a replicant. Role reversal indeed. Bravo.

Regardless of how I feel, this is a dope shot.

Regardless of how I feel, this is a dope shot.

I’ll watch it again.

It’s too bad movies aren’t like the books. But then again, which are?

I did not get blown away by this one. The Kampff Test was the only thing that reminded me most of the book. It’s setting is nowhere near the post apocalyptic land of empty apartments and animals deemed as the rarest of commodities. It has a more corporate run setting, where the shining lights are meant to deter the poverty in the common areas of Los Angeles. Deckard isn’t married, so he looks like he has almost no motivation to live if he wasn’t a Blade Runner. Mercerism is non existent, so no added complexity to what is considered real and synthetic. The owl is seen for all but a minute and doesn’t seem to have much to it other than Rachael admitted it was synthetic right off the bat (17:12).

Rachael seems to be an innocent being caught up in this mess over illegal androids on Earth. She doesn’t manipulate him nor seem to be as calculating as the Rachael of “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” The Kampff test wasn’t even declared faulty by Mr. Tyrell (aka Rosen), rather he was welcoming to the idea why it took more than 100 questions to figure out if she is a replicant. Roy is explored more in the movie. He takes on the antagonist role while also searching for a way to live longer (a natural human instinct; to preserve life). The androids play a larger part, rather than concentrating on Deckard and his mental state as he “retires” each android.

A character that stuck was Leon. He appeared to be more of a killing machine than an android. Sort of like he represents everything that’s wrong for android existence (no regard for life and only wanting to show others the pain he suffered) In his fight with Deckard (more like an ass-whooping), he asks him: “Painful to live in fear, isn’t it?” (1:02:27). Leon thrashed him about and was prepared to kill him. He is ultimately just a bad android with the intent to kill, no matter who it is, with disregard for the consequences. Too bad Leon gets killed by Rachael and it further shows how close she is to human with wanting to protect Deckard. Overall, the movie was alright but nearly not as thought provoking as the book.

A Parting Gift

Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott is a film adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick, which presents us with a different perspective in terms of the objective that these Nexus-6 androids want to achieve.  The objective of the Replicants was to extend their lifespan, to increase it well beyond four years.  This was something that could not be done, as mentioned by Eldon Tyrell, who says, “The facts of life.  To make an alteration in the involvement of the organic life system is fatal” (1:23:52).  Yet, even though these replicants have not lived for long, they seem to demonstrate so much experience with life.

The first replicant that demonstrates a lot of experience with life is Pris.  As we know, Pris is one of the replicants that escaped the Off-World along with five other replicants in order to escape the life of a slave and to extend her life span.  She demonstrated her experience with life when she first encountered J. F. Sebastian.  Who out of good will offers her a place to stay.  What Pris does seem to know is how the minds of human males work.  She realizes that Sebastian is attracted to her and she decided to seduce him in order to get him to take Roy to Tyrell.  When Roy asked Sebastian if he would help them, he denies at first, then Pris tells him, “We need you Sebastian.  You’re our best, only friend” (1:19:32).  After Pris said this, Sebastian was evidently on board with helping them.  She also uses sympathy from others in order to get people to do her favors.

Another replicant that seems to demonstrate experience with life, is Zhora.  She first appeared in the film as an exotic dancer that wears a considerable amount of body jewelry.  The only way Deckard was able to track her down was because of a photo that he saw, which contained a woman with a snake tattoo that he found in Leon’s apartment.  When Deckard approaches her inside of her own dressing room, he tries to trick her into thinking that he is a government official.  But, it appears that she saw right through his persona and attempts to kill him.  Zhora knows when someone is trying to trick her, as she has done with others in the Off-world.  In addition, she appears to understand the notion of fear, or fear from being hunted.  Which was demonstrated when she was being chased around the city with Deckard as her pursuer. (55:20)

Lastly, Roy Batty who demonstrated to us viewers that replicants can be as diverse as an actual human.  Batty appeared to be the replicant that was the most obsessed with extending his life span.  As he mentions to Tyrell, “I want more life” (1:23:42).  He seems to understand that replicants undergo a life span of four years and he wants to increase that time in order to level with that of a human I suppose.  Within those years, Roy claims to have seen it all.  He also demonstrates to us viewers that he too can feel emotions, as we see him cry, show anger, frustration, somewhat cynical behavior and most of all, he demonstrates assertiveness.  During the final scenes when Roy was chasing Deckard, he chased him not because he wanted to kill him, but to show him how it’s like to be a slave and a replicant.  To live in fear everyday, knowing that one day you will be hunted by a certain Blade Runner. (1:46:22)  Unfortunately, Roy died at the end and lost all of his memories, “like tears” (1:46:58).  He claims that he has experienced moments that no one else has been through, and I assume he wanted to share them.

Overall, the film demonstrated a different perspective in terms of how the androids view life.  The replicants have the ultimate goal of extending their life span as they are not satisfied with living a mere four years.  Even though their lives are short, the replicants have so much experience with life as demonstrated by the number of replicants in the film.  Yet, most of the experience is mainly shown through Roy Batty.  What I enjoyed the most about the film, was the end scene where Batty was able to get such a strong message out to the viewers.

“There’s a part of me in you…”

Following the antagonistic androids (Roy, Leon, etc.) in Blade Runner paint’s a different picture of their intent compared to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Their motives in the film are directed towards attaining longevity, and they believe they can do this through contacting their creators. Throughout the film, Roy sequentially seeks out those influenced in his creation, ultimately reaching his “father” Eldon Tyrell, in a microcosmic reflection of men seeking their own creators and gaining insight in their own life.

Roy starts off by finding Chew (28:45), who’s in charge of designing the eyes of the Nexus-6 units. Eyes, being the window of the soul, is an eloquent way to start Roy’s existential journey of attaining a longer life. And from Chew, he finds Sebastian who is in charge of genetic sequencing of the Nexus-6 units. Sebastian even says “there’s a part of me in you” (1:17:00), reminiscent to the idea that “God created man in his image” or with Adam giving his rib to create Eve. Both Chew and Sebastian have parts of themselves in the androids, which makes the androids similar to humans, but at the same time denotes the subservience that comes with the gift of life; much like how people worship God and serve him through theology and practice.

But Roy is fed with serving man, and thus acts “sacrilegious” because of the limitations that his creators put in place on him. When Roy gets the chance to “meet his maker” (1:23:05) he is essentially asking to prolong his life through various methods and is shot down with every hypothesis he proposes. In a way, this could be reflective of God, how we humans would probably seek answers from him when we have signs of distress or problems that we seek guidance to overcome. Likewise, we expect no “direct” response (like in prayer) from God or we simply interpret it as “God’s will” in determining our fates. Additionally, with the android’s 4 year life span, we have “infinite” life compared to them, much like how God has infinite life compared to us humans. And when Roy inevitably kills his “father” (again, God being the father of all men), he is essentially deciding to pave his own path and completely abandon mankind, the creatures that gave him life.

So does this betrayal to humans mean that Roy is essentially a heretic to those he must worship? Or is he justified in paving his own destiny by killing “god” to save himself by any means necessary? In any case, there is a preconceived idea that chains of command come from who brought onto who. God brought about man, and man brought about machines; man serves God, and machines serve man…or at least that’s how things are expected to go.

Blade Runner, because the real one was too long

So what to do when you want to make a movie based on a book that makes you think about and question things, with layers of complex. The answer is simple, remove everything that made it so and replace with every odd scenes that add up to 2 hours run time. Most of the story has been destroyed from “do androids dream of electric sheep” with only the base idea slightly remaining. The world is not a wasteland, there are people around the city, humans have many colonies, androids are made but they can not be on earth. Deckard however is a “blade runner” which is never explained why he is called that, still did the same thing as in the book hunting replicates because androids is too hard of a word for people to understand it seems. Replicates implies more that they are copies of someone who lives or lived, you can argue that they replicated human life but still was not needed to change the name. Also he used to hunt them in the past but seemed to have stopped at one point in time because he had to be dragged back into hunting them. There seems to be no incentive in for him other then he would be the little people which means he would be open to threats it would seem, even from people he used to work with. This world is very much alive, people crowd the streets, cars are everywhere, bikes, shops, food and everything else in a living city. The existence of a few androids seems to be lost when the world is so populated verse when so little remains. Also there are no lasers because bullets here can blow up walls, yet they also take 4 shots to kill one android. This is a movie, everything was made to be more visual and have less story. It has more action, less though, and less care about the meaning. The ending is the same and yet it is not, along with the path to it. Yes the androids are all killed, rick lives, Rachael lives but how and what happens are different. Here Rachael is almost nothing, she does not manipulate Deckard, she does not lie to him, she helps him by killing one android, and then she wants to stay with him after running away from the company that made her after finding out that she is not real. The battle at the apartment is painful to watch with odd choices on how it progress and the end that leads to nothing. Ultimately the last android dies without ricks help and saves him before passes but only after hurting them, chasing him and almost leading to Deckard dying. It is not told why he did after killing so many on his way to earth and on it.
The visuals speak more than anything else in the film. It is almost always raining, dark and worn out. The streets are awash with people moving and making noise. The lighting is low in many places and the rain just adds to this darker world. Everything is off, stuck in the past but trying to be of the future. At least for us, so much of what is shown is already here in better forms. The current time takes away from the film with very little being shocking other then what people thought would happen with style. Overall the film was more of a loose artistic rendition of the book.
The plot line that was made was more of the created trying to find their creator and asking for more life, which they are given every little of. It feels more like the wizard of Oz then anything. One android lack brains and so had them blown out, the other was a coward who ran and was killed for not fighting, and the last one had no heart but wanted one and died. And Deckard just wanted to go home, like I did after running around all trying to find where to watch this. The film just feels empty, it does not hit like the book, it no longer has a soul, a piece of humanity within it. It just goes overboard with visuals that smack you in the face.

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