City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: Blade Runner (Page 2 of 2)

The Significance of Being Human In Blade Runner

The film Blade Runner has definitely achieve the expectations for a science fiction movie of this era. The movie which an inspiration from the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has called my interest not only because of the intriguing plot but also because of the special effects applied to it. The Final Cut version of the film is surely one of the greatest versions as it displays a greater quality image and sound, making it a true classic with few equals. Created by Scott Ridley, the films is set in Los Angeles in the year of 2019(a close one to our era). The city has been destroyed after some nuclear attack erase the major part of humankind. A retired policeman of the Blade Runner Unit named Deckard (Harrison Ford), comes back to action. His mission is to eliminate the new advance in technology, the Nexus 6. Four of these replicants, who are an almost perfect imitation to humans, have killed and escaped the off world colony and disguise among the few remaining individuals in Earth. The only difference they have between human beings is through the fact that they cannot feel any sort of emotions towards other, in other words they are unable to feel empathy. Now that Deckard is responsible for this dirty job, he encounters a series of situations that changes his perception towards these robotic entities. Not only the human characters experience these transition but also androids display some sort of human emotions throughout some scenes in the film. These scenes let the viewers think the question of what does it mean to be human? since robots can also show the same type of emotions and feelings that we, as humans, share.

When detailed examining some of the scenes of the final cut version of the film, we observe that as the film progresses, some of the characters are exposed to different situations that make them view humanity and life with a different perception. One of these characters is exemplified through Deckard (personified by Harrison Ford). At the beginning of the film, we observe that Deckard has a crude and cold attitude not only towards life but, a strong one, towards androids. This is revealed when he is given the task to “retire” the four fugitive Nexus 6 who escaped from the off colony to Earth. He refers to them by saying that “replicants are like any other machine; they are either a benefit or a hazard”(17:34), meaning that he considers the android as any other device created to serve of humankind. He does not display any sort of empathy towards them, on the contrary, he sees them as criminals who violated human rules. However, it is not until his exhibition to the super intelligent and mesmerizing replicant of Rachael, where Deckard starts questioning whether androids can also feel and share emotions like humans do.

Deckard’s encounter with the beautiful robot Rachael marks the main point in the film as it allows him to grow more as a human character and to think about his business of killing them. This idea is accepted when Deckard visits Tyrell’s Corporation, the company responsible for the creation of the androids. Here he meets Rachael and immediately believes she is a human. However, he discovers a major truth when after applying the Voigt Test, he realizes that, in fact, Rachael is also a replicant but does not know it. This is confirmed by Eldon Tyrell who states “We began to recognize in them a strange obsession. After all, they are emotionally inexperienced, with only a few years in which to store up the experiences which you and I take for granted. If we gift them with a past, we create a cushion or a pillow for their emotions, and consequently, we can control them better.”(22:14). Here, it is revealed that memories from individuals are implanted in these androids in order create in them human emotions, and therefore, pass unnoticed among human beings. Deckard reacts to this truth as he starts to sympathize with Racheal to the point that he allows her to enter his apartment and his life.

Not only the human characters but also the androids are exposed to situations that change their perspective of life. These conflicts cause in them to display emotions and feelings just like other human being. We observe how Roy, Pris, Lion, and Rachael, display some sort of emotions towards others and each other which tell us that androids can also be considered as part of the human society. Especially I sympathize with the character of Roy because we can clearly observe the transition from a frivolous, ambitious, cold hearted robot to a more conscious, sentient, emotional individual. At first he displays feelings of revenge and hatred as he desperately tries to acquire the power of immortality. But, we also observe that Roy shows affection to the android Pris (1:17:08) and even cries and gets devastated after Deckard murders her (1:37:31). What it really fascinates me is the turning point that happens between Roy and Deckard. Although Roy feels remorse and rancor after losing his lover in hands of Deckard, Roy unquestionably saves Deckard’s life (1:45:45). He finally decides to accept the fate that his life is coming to an end and uses it to save the life of the human. Before his life becomes oblivion he states to Deckard: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. All those moments will be lose in time like tears in rain. Time to die” (1:47:01). These quote reveals that as any other human, Roy wanted to live a normal human life without slavery and rejection. And the scene that impacted me the most was when after Roy dies, the white bird flies away his hands, to which in my opinion, symbolizes the peace and forgiveness towards the human race.

More than empathy.

Hey all, this week we watched “Blade Runner” a film based of the book ” Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep”. To be honest my favorite part about this film was the amazing settings, with its constant advertisements, Asian culture in the city and  futuristic steam punk look in 2019 Los Angeles. Besides that I found the character Roy Batty to be the second most interesting part. In the book we don’t get to see much of Roy until near the end of the book, but in the movie we get a bigger role as an antagonist from him. Every time Roy appeared on screen we learned a little more about what it means to be alive. Roy shows us that being alive isn’t about physiological details, but how  he desires the more out of life from his new and old memories.

Before we actually saw Roy, we learn that Androids are capable of becoming human like and that is through human experience.  When Rick first begins his bounty hunt we learn that androids are controlled by limiting their life spans.

“They were designed to copy human beings in every way except their emotions. The designers reckoned that after after a few years they might develop their own emotional responses. You know, hate, love, fear, anger, eny. So they built in a a fail-safe device.”(14:00)

The movie’s characters don’t disregard the androids potential to being humans as much as they do in the book.  In the film we see android’s are dehumanized by not allowing them the long life that a human would be given. The desire to live is what makes them human here, coming all the way to earth in order to increase their life span. The film is more specific with what makes them human by not concerning over empathy but desire.

When Roy Batty appears we see a human quality in his strive to survive. Roy tends to act like a sociopath, he barely shows love for others, his biggest concern is the androids life, which is how can he survive pass the four year life span? Roy made it his quest to come to earth and find Tyrell his maker. When Roy speaks to his maker he soon learns that nothing can be done when Tyrrell shares with him that “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very brightly, Roy. Look at you. Your the prodigal son Your quite a prize.”(1:25:30) Here we see the creator Tyrell acknowledging Roy’s four year existence, and that he should be satisfied with the life he ‘s lived. I also feel that since Roy is approaching his end, he is going through something similar to one of the stages of death, specifically denial and bargaining. Roy wants to avoid death as much as he can and even hopes to extend his life. At the end he accepts what happens entering a state similar to that of depression and acceptance.

When Roy speaks his last word, we see a love for life that humans can have, which is connected to himself and everything he has experienced. After Roy and Rick face off he doesn’t end his life but rather speaks his mind giving us more insight in what this maturing android is thinking. He say’s “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulders of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the darkness at Tanhnhauser gate. All those memories will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die.”(1:46:00) Here we see Roy isn’t just a crazy killing robot, but a being who truly loves his life and only wants to keep it going. Roy fears death, and he doesn’t want to be forgotten, he has experienced things no one can imagine and he truly loves his memories. This emotional strife shows that Roy had so much potential to grow into being a human, if only he could live longer.

Do Androids Dream of Blade Runners

Ridley Scott’s depiction of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” titled Blade Runner, the viewer is on a thrill ride of  authentic versus ersatz. In comparisons to the novel, the film follows Rick Deckard on an obsolete quest to eliminate androids (or replicates). Even so, the standpoint of Scott’s depiction is the use of human aesthetics in a dark, futuristic world.

Blade Runner setting is undeniably dark, both literally(majority of the film set at night) and figuratively, as the audience is given a feeling of sinister apprehension. For example, the low lights in the gloomy night, in addition to the use of dark colors to set the mood and the vividness of makeup to set apart each androids. First, Roy Batty is given a cold, spine-tingling look to highlight his savagery. Pris, on the other hand showcased finely as her makeup displayed her eccentric innocence. Meanwhile, Rachael represented beauty and passion as she played the role of Deckard’s love interest. Lastly, the extravagant makeup of Zhora (Luba Luft) showed her interest of the arts, while the gruff makeup enhanced the brute, Leon(Polokov). By doing this, Scott stressed the personality of the androids, ultimately giving the viewer empathetic feel for the character.

Moreover, Scott brilliantly showcased the struggle of Deckard’s frustrations with his job and empathy for the replicates(mainly Rachael). Beginning with Deckard being forced to return to his job as a “blade runner.”(11:05).  Deckard is reluctant, similar to Deckard of the novel he is fed up with his choice of career, but continues out of obligation. In comparison to Deckard of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” he is  hesitant when it comes to Rachael, as both their fascination for Rachael blinds their judgment (31:18). As Deckard continued his duty of eliminating the replicates(androids), he successfully kills Zhora (57:47), and saved by Rachael fighting Leon(1:02:02) he becomes smitten with Rachael. Keep in mind, after each kill Deckard feels remorse as if he lost himself in his job. Even after he’s told by his superiors to eliminate Rachael as well, Deckard refuses because of his fascination for Rachael (1:00:30). Soon enough, Deckard fell in love with Rachael, ultimately putting a blind eye on Rachael being a threat (1:10:00). Moving forward towards the end, the action picks up, here The Shining meets 2000: a Space odyssey with it’s unconventional suspense sequence. After killing Pris (1:33:20) and surviving Roy’s rage (1:46:00), Deckard is momentarily at ease. Until, he’s warned by Gaff Rachael remains a suspect, which causes Deckard to rescue and escape with Rachael (1:50:00). In all, Deckard finds peace within Rachael despite her being a replicate. Deckard drawn by Rachael’s advanced humanly traits, but mainly her compassion and curiosity. Rachael is seen different from the other replicates as she’s believed to have lived a life of a human being.

As a final thought, the novel and film share very similar aspects, still many important details are missing in the film. For instance, in the film there isn’t any discussion of mercerism or Buster Friendly as both played a huge role in the novel being a voice of divinity. Another being the betrayal of Rachael towards Rick as this moment drives  Deckard to realization all androids lack real emotion. Also, the role of Resch, due to the fact his part in the novel changed the dynamics of the story. Keep in mind it was the cruelness of Resch who Deckard realize his dislike for killing the androids. Overall, Blade Runner did an excellent job of capturing the personality of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” as he audience receives a visual to a cult classic.

 

Myopia

Ridley Scott’s futuristic noir film Blade Runner beautifully creates an alien world brimming with life. The film’s antagonists, the replicants, make a desperate and violent plea for more life; and Deckard is brought on to dole out their deaths. As Deckard carries out his task, the replicants impart him with the gifts of sight, introspection, and proffer questions about life.

Batty’s retribution for his cursed existence begins by menacingly repurposing a poem by William Blake, immediately it is evident Batty is a person of immense acuity, greater than anyone else.  He interrogates the eye designer and remarks “Chew, if only you could what I’ve seen with your eyes.” (00:28:50). It seems oddly fitting that Roy later kills Tyrell by gouging out his eye and Leon later attempting to do the same to Deckard. As though they do not merit their eyes, they are gifts being squandering. The world is blinded by perpetual darkness and ceaseless rain. Tyrell himself in fact wears immense glasses, and probably has poor vision, literally and metaphorically. Deckard on the other hand makes an occupation of staring at people’s eyes for long periods, but looking for the absence of life.

Zhora is built to be a weapon; however, she is more than the sum of her parts. She chooses to live as a human and enjoy her short life, making her retirement all the more tragic. When confronted by Deckard, she doesn’t quickly dispose of him, she flees. All the other replicants fight back, she doesn’t.  Her retirement is tragic and reeks of murder. Deckard get through the days by leaning on his sly smile, he is terse and hides behind quips. After shooting Zhora however, his countenance expresses deep sorrow and regret. A police officer inspects her lifeless face, and a drop of water rolls off her eye. (00:59:20)

Throughout the film, Roy’s hands act as harbingers of death. “Time…enough.” (00:25:14) Roy Batty whispers as he forcefully grips his hand.  His hand reminds him of his own impending death. As he toys with Deckard, his stabs his right hand to reinvigorate himself for a few more minutes of life, as well as leveling the playing field. Having broken Deckard’s fingers on his right hand, the two now share the same pain, the same stigma. Moreover, as he playfully pursues Deckard, he howls and frightens him, but never really hurting him. Deckard is now they prey, he has a taste of the replicant’s existence, a life of fear. Yet, Batty is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, playing at vulgarity when really he is quite noble. His final words are resplendent; they belie his sorrow and boundless depth. Perhaps finally Deckard understands the consequence of his actions and may lay down his arms as well.

Batty had the opportunity and all the reason to give Deckard his just deserts. However, Batty is magnanimous; he gives the executioner life in lieu of death. Deckard is freed by Batty’s action. He sees himself and the world clearly, and sees it brimming with life.

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