Blade Runner: More Human Than Human

Blade Runner’s perspective on human nature is that we long to fully understand our purpose and meaning in life, and that we all are seeking some sort of truth about ourselves and our humanity as a whole. This was particularly evident with the noticeable amount of biblical imagery in the film, such as Roy inserting a nail through his hand and holding a white dove, symbolizing himself as a Christ-like figure.

We also are forced to question ourselves on what makes a human, human. If a man-made artificial being possesses the levels of emotional intelligence and cognition that are equivalent to a human being’s, are they not classified as a human because man created them?

Furthermore, do they deserve to be treated as slaves, beneath the foot of man? All of which are questions we are left to ponder throughout the film. Ultimately, I did not find it all that surprising that despite the overwhelming human like qualities the the replicants had, humanity as a whole still saw them as inferior and slaves to their will. The Humans in Blade Runner wanted to be able to control their technological creations; viewing them as mere tools and nothing more.

Blade Runner’s replicants are robotic entities that are indistinguishable from humans to the naked eye. These replicants, while created for a specific purpose, have an advanced artificial intelligence with cognitive reasoning ability, comparable to that of a human’s. The replicants are identical to humans in nearly every physical aspect. In fact, a replicant’s artificial intelligence and programming are so advanced, that they themselves do not know they are replicants. In the case of Rachel, she was an experimental replicant with implanted memories and was given pictures to reinforce these memories. While in reality, these memories were that of Tyrell’s niece. The replicants even bled and could feel pain, which makes the viewer empathize with their plight even more. These features fully reinforced the Tyrell Corporation’s motto, “More human than human”.

 

Placing the film into the historical context of the time, in the 80’s we had begun to see a wide scale emergence of Sci-Fi films and culture. The genre was beginning to become more popularized and accepted which lead to a convergence of new ideas. Couple this with the emergence of the personal computer and the ability for the common citizen to own such a revolutionary peace of technology for the first time in human history, it was evident that filmmakers would begin to create visions of the technological future. Sci-Fi culture produced a robot with artificial intelligence and combined it with biochemical engineering, effectively giving birth to the concept of a synthetic human. Naturally this brought about all the moral complications that would arise from such a creation, particularly the issue of what makes something human.

Naturally, the possibility that one-day the machines we created could potentially become self aware and even revolt began to sprout as a seed of paranoia within the 80’s culture. The culmination of this being the Y2K scare that by 2000, there would be a systemic collapse of all technology. Overall, it seems to be one of the qualities of human nature that when you cannot understand something, the majority will develop a fear culture around it, even work against their own creations seeking to have them banned or heavily regulated. This was particularly evident in the film when once the replicants became aware of their existence as machine, their use was made illegal on Earth and they were hunted down and “retired”. In the eyes of humans, it is much more efficient to put down a wild beast, rather than rehabilitate it.

Harrison Ford Shot First(In Blade Runner)

 

Why’d It Have To Be Snakes?

How it took me 20 years to see Raiders of the Lost Ark, I will never know. Honestly, I tried a few years back and it couldn’t keep my attention and stopped maybe half-way into it. After watching it in full now, I think I understand why I didn’t enjoy it my first time through. The film has a pretty old school feel to it; the travel sequence is straight out of Casablanca, not to mention the use of shadows to show people’s entrances and their deaths. When I was younger I got no enjoyment out of old movies, so it makes sense I wouldn’t enjoy Raiders. But as I’ve come to like and appreciate the classics, I can finally appreciate the classic, if not a little cheesy, feel to this film.

What really cracked me up is the whole Clark Kent thing Indiana Jones seems to have going on. In class we began to discuss how the lighting in the opening sequence shows Jones as having two sides to his character; his costumes say the same thing. As a professor, Jones dresses in a nice suit, wears a bow tie, styles his hair all slick, and (my personal favorite) wears large glasses. With the exception of his stubble, there’s not much adventurous about this guy.

Somehow, when he’s out treasure hunting, jumping over large ditches and spotting booby traps, he suddenly has no need for his glasses. There is a clear dichotomy to his character, though we only see Clark Kent for a couple of scenes. Superman is the one selling the tickets after all.

The movie turned out to be exactly what I figured it would: a big budget popcorn flick, full of action and lacking in depth. And, while I’ve never been a huge fan of Spielberg or Lucas, I did enjoy Raiders, and I’ll definitely have to check out the other films in the series.

…Well, maybe not Crystal Skull…