Disappointment… That is the emotion that Blade Runner first provoked.
No one could have possibly foreseen the impact that this movie would have. It failed at the box office. Some loved it. Many felt otherwise. For same and different reasons I confess to be one of the latter back in 1983.
It was VCC, VHS and Beta that brought back the movie in the 80ś. Few people had seen Blade Runner back then and less seem to remember it. But ever so often you would meet someone who knew about it. New that it was somehow significant. You could always find a worn out copy lying around for sale at a video rental store.
Many label Blade Runner as one of the best movies ever made. Scientific circles in particular. A movie that drew you in with its sights, sounds and settings. These stuck with you like very few others had before. Yet this alone is not what makes this movie so intriguing. There are many reasons why it means so much to so many for so long.
Edge of Human
You may think. Does that mean that you are? The one thing that we all have in common, at this very moment, is that we all exist now.
¨You are somebody. Just like everyone else. But your existence? That seems to revolve around your connections with others¨
If you believe that Blade Runner is an action movie, a thriller, a film noir, a sci-fi romance or some combination of those then you are probably right.
If you care if the main character, Deckard, is a replicant or not then you probably have an understanding of the contemporary story. You have an understanding about what the intended message was and its contemporary inspiration.
But the story consolidates more than that. Its meaning might be a bit more profound than that. At least to some of us.
Blade Runner 2049
¨Do you like our owl? It´s artificial? Of course it is¨
A sequel to Blade Runner? A future future. It’s just another test designed to provoke an emotional response. There is no sequel to this story. 2049 is another story with a perfect cast. Another version of what some believe it to be.
Spoilers? Only speculation at this point. Wallace, Jared Leto, plays a version of Moses and an exodus follows. One that attempts to free our creations from us. Not by their relocation but by our replacement. Replicants are like any other machine…they take part in natural selection process as we all do. That, in part, is the secret that Tyrell left behind. Again, just speculation as of May 2017.
Legally, it’s typically some studio that owns the rights to a movie. Artistically, it’s the director who owns the manner is which the movie is composed and expressed. But it is the audience, the beholder, you, that gives the work meaning. Once a movie is released it is no longer theirs. Its is ours.
¨We don’t own the material, the story, the movie, we own its meaning, its significance¨
Ridley Scott, a film director responsible for some of the most influential productions of this age. He is also behind the movie Blade Runner. A revolutionary work which has influenced and inspired cinematic expression ever since.
But, for whatever reason, since its release in 1982 the movie’s expression has been in an artistic, commercial and technological tug of war with added, deleted, updated and changed elements voiced over. Ever so often a new cut of the movie is then released intended to put more emphasis on what some few believe it to be or should have been.
The earth is over populated and undergone rampant urbanization with an environment ravished. As humans we are left in ecological solitude with only each other. We are left to play with our technology and our creations. That represents the domain of our existence in the story.
Deckard, a replicant or not? Unicorns. A memory that never happened. A memory implanted. Unicorns don’t exist so Deckard himself might not exist. This is an aspect meant to put into question our own existence, our own sense of what is real. It is important to some but it is also somehow irrelevant to others.
¨If Deckard is a replicant or not does not really matter¨
Gaff, played by Edward James Olmos. He seems to have more meaning than Deckard. He is the blue eyed, mixed race personage in the background. A version of the modern human that represents the largest minority. He also seems to understand a lot more about what is going on. An overseer, an observer or maybe even the architect. And, then there is Tyrell. His role has been indulged long enough. He IS a replicant. And, that is important. That is relevant. At least scientifically. He is the interface between human and replicant. The hybrid. He is the hidden secret.
The script was influenced by the works of a novelist named P.K. Dick. He typically wrote stories that dealt with our sense of reality, our perception about what is real and our existence. Are we really who we think we are? Do we really exists or are we playing out the existence, the narrative, of some one else. Blade Runner certainly is this story. Each new release tends to fall back on re-expressing, re-emphasizing this aspect. But Blade Runner is not just about this alone.
¨The story questions the -meaning- of our existence. Not just us as individuals but us as a species¨
Yes, among other things, Blade Runner is a story that relates to questioning our existence. But actually it questions the -meaning- of our existence. Not just us as individuals but us as a species. A species that has reached the edge of its itself. The edge of human. That is what this movie is about, intentionally or not.
Edward James Olmos, Gaff, had an understanding about what was being made during the production of the movie. Perhaps others did as well. Yet, Ridley aside, out of all who worked to produce Blade Runner only one really stands out. He seems to have understood the intrinsic meaning of the story during its making. He seemed to grasp where this was all going. Rutger Hauer. Roy. It was not just the script but what he added to it during the shooting of his scenes and the manner in which he expressed them. In particular his confrontation with Tyrell and in the final scene before his character, Roy, dies.
Humans. We are the best tool makers. This is what separates us from other species. But it seems that what separates us from each other are our stories.
Our stories divide, unite, motivate, inform, entertain and inspire us. They amplify our sense of existence. But most of all they instill our perspective and our identity. They convey and pass on our culture and offer more clarity about who we are, who we were and who we wish to become. Taking our part, our role in the story. Making them our own.
We used to tell our stories. This shaped and diversified ideas from one generation to the next forming a pluralism of perspectives with a singular identity. -Many ways shall be our way-. We journeyed over and around mountains to share, learn and expand on what may bring us closer to what is true.
We then started to write down our stories. This unified and converged our stories from one generation to the next forming a singularism of identity and a plurality of interpretation. -One way shall be your way-. We learned to move mountains and tell others what is true.
Blade Runner seems caught somewhere between this.
The settings, the story, is near biblical but it has nothing to do with religion. And, yet, it has gathered something which resembles something similar.
Blade Runner is like some lost chapter that wraps our future and our past into one. It is the end of one cycle and beginning of another. The evolution of our species. One is which our role has been handed over to another. The creation of one at the forefront of the destruction of another. One in which humans now learn to play with the design, manufacturing and deployment of life itself. Moving mountains was not enough. Now we create ourselves.
Voight Kampff vs Turing Test
¨Science is the discovery of what is already there. Technology uses that to create what was not there before¨
Technology enables us to reflect our interpretation of nature. It proves what we understand about nature. It proves what is true or not. There is something natural about what we make and the process in which we make it.
As humans we evolved and excelled as the best tool makers on the planet. In Blade Runner our technology, our tools became so advanced and diverse that we could create life in our own image. But do we now also have the wisdom to play god? Can we handle that type of responsibility? What if the created finds the creator and asks for more?
In the past we programmed our machines. We now teach our machines. The process is something similar to teaching an autistic child. If we pass on that what makes us us to a machine then who do we become? Is our role still divine to a machine savant? A new world awaits you.
More Human than Human
The life we created, called replicants, are considered synthetic life. -More Human than Human- is the motto of the company that makes them. Yet replicants are less than human by human standards and definition. We see them as machines. They see themselves as slaves. Actually, they may are our evolutionary replacements.
The process of creating life in our own image appears related to our own destruction as a species. It becomes the ultimate legacy of our existence. What we leave behind. Our existence remembered within that what we have created.
The role of the replicant is to do that what humans won´t do or can´t do. Should any of these replicants escape their designated roles and confinement they are then hunted down and killed by special policemen called Blade Runners. This is not considered execution, it is retirement.
Replicants have enhanced abilities which exceed that of humans. But they typically lack the emotional understanding about themselves that you and I take for granted. They are born as adults with the emotional maturity of children. They live for only a short period due to their design and their amplified abilities. This provides very little opportunity for them to discover who they are. Let alone some meaning to what life is about. Up until now we are all that what preceded us. Replicants can´t say the same. They see things just as they are. They see what humans may have become blind to.
¨Did you get your precious photos¨
Roy. King. The prodigal son. He is the flagship product of artificial human life. But his longevity, his life, is set just as other replicants are. His life is to expire very soon. His body will shut down and die.
Roy seeks his creator to ask for more. More life. To demand more from Father or Fucker, depending on which version of the movie you may have seen.
Its not an easy task to meet your maker. But for Roy, your maker is human. Royś maker is not heaven bound. He is a man named Tyrell.
Is this it? Roy asks Tyrell. Is there no more? Can nothing be done to extend my life? Roy asks. You exist now, you have all that is best, what more do you want? Did you not understand what was given to you? Replies Tyrell, the creator. The creators answers disappoint and Roy kills the creator, his maker.
Roy has little time left. Killing his maker changes nothing. Roy is hunted down. Yet gains the advantage over his hunter. But instead of letting him perish, Roy saves him.
Roy´s life was a quest to extend his life. But it is only in his very last moments of life that Roy discovers what it means to be alive. Not just his life but all life, any life. His existence, its meaning, is related to his connection with another. Roy´s experiences, his memories will be lost, he will die. But his existence has now been passed on. He will be remembered.
I was here.
Baseball bats. Filed and Monitored