Earth and Its Virtualism
Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner creates a fully existent world that sails beyond cinematic escape. No matter how many decades have passed, it enters the realm of prophetic futurism. The film visualizing deep realism can ask an important question about perception and humanity. The screen story follows a book that Philip K. Dick wrote and predicts modern-century dilemmas such as genetic engineering, global warming, and mass globalization.
On the other hand, Scott’s visuals sweep away darkness and gloom, supported by special FX that boldly captures the essence of the novel. Apart from the scenario diverting from the author’s plot, some of Dick’s gloomy dystopia he uses as a blue screen for background. In the eyes of Dick’s visuals, he saw a black sky where dust and nuclear enveloped his worldbuilding. The peaks of industrialization and huge buildings that one could not imagine always reached a tattered atmosphere.
In addition, flying vehicles always glide at the height of the metropolitan city skyline, which is more like a postmodernism building design mutation in vertical range. Humans have left Earth and colonized other parts of the galaxy due to environmental reasons. However, the remnants of the humans who guard the Earth are still running. People who have lost their sense of direction are marginalized people who live in empty buildings.
Through Earth’s virtualism, nature no longer exists because humans have destroyed it. In Dick’s book, the genetic engineering of animals is everywhere. The view of the city and the view of the world is never gloomy until it traces the blackened sky.
The Sense of Sight
Most science fiction films always present a world that is complicated in emphasizing the visible differences from the world that people live in. Such genres of artists design in questioning the Earth both in terms of technology, humanity, and idealism. Scott overlays Blade Runner with an eye-catching visual structure. The sense of sight cannot be measured either aesthetically or philosophically.
The film creates a cinematic world that doesn’t just question the world. However, it’s also about everything people feel. Apart from the director, people know Dick, on the other hand, thanks to his views on creating a world for himself both qualitatively and quantitatively. Paranoia and schizophrenia as well bothered him. He suffers from hallucinations that inform fiction until his personal life becomes complicated.
In essence, he is an expert in creating such a world either accidentally or intentionally. On the other hand, he writes about views of what he sees in the film’s marketing materials, even though he has never seen the film in full. According to him, the world in the film is where he lives, and feels that he is in that world. The world that people live in now will be a world that every viewer as well will live in.
Regardless of not going to be personal, the world in which anyone would go to the theater to sit down to watch the film is powerful. In conclusion, it will be difficult for everyone to get out of that world and have to adjust to the changing times.
Blade Runner tells the story of Rick Deckard, a former elite bounty hunter whom people know as a blade runner. His task is simple, namely to hunt down the Replicants, genetically modified humans that humans created for labor and colonization of the outside world. Deckard takes to the field to find and “kill” four rogue Nexus-6 brand Replicants who returned to Earth. They descend to Earth hoping to extend their limited life span.
Leon and Zhora are two other Replicants immersed somewhere in Dick’s coherent but expansive vision of the future. On the other hand, their leaders Roy and Pris were Deckard’s two main targets. Both take refuge with engineer Sebastian, who has a relationship with their maker, Tyrell. As the protagonist, Deckard has stopped many retired Replicants. His remoteness and brief demeanor are symptoms of a man when it comes to existential crises.
He fears what the Replicants represent in the way they force him into questioning the nature of humanity. Underneath the surface, he also came face to face with them, reacting violently and quickly, to the point of being experienced in the dangers they posed. In the audience’s interpretation, they often wonder why Deckard remains on a filthy Earth along with depraved, abandoned, but sick people.
They were all ineligible for an out-of-world colony. At the same time, he was very reluctant in continuing to stop the Replicants because he no longer saw them as clones. However, Deckard is not a Replicant who likes to show lust for life, torture, killing and pacing as a whole. What keeps him on Earth is that he is a Replicant (debatable) who lives and enjoys their short life span. In such a moment, he witnessed Roy die when his expiration date was due.
By executing them on the spot, Deckard systematically tracks and investigates every Replicant until they are all gone.
The Concept of Futurism
The world is troubled Blade Runner is set in 2019 in Los Angeles. Scott is expertly designed by Dick, embodying and demonstrating the oppressive burden on humanity and nature. On the other hand, Scott has also so elaborated the film that costumes and architecture seem like components of a tolerable dystopian future. In Los Angeles, police presence is present 24 hours, not counting flashing sensors, advertisements, scanners, and surveillance planes.
The intense air of congestion turns such a complex urban landscape into an almost irrational space. Urban culture and multiculturalism in films have long grown worse and out of control. The world is very familiar yet futuristic because very foreign and modern cities like neon-filled Hong Kong inspire designers. When the residents’ only hope is to leave Earth, urban planners have given up on reducing the urban landscape.
By justifying the many mentions of ideal colonies out of the world as well as airships floating above cities, the quality of life is reduced. As a concept of futurism, the film remains precognitive but makes sense. It is far from fantasy and manages to chronicle how humanity becomes blurred when technology disproportionately replaces the human role. Societies have destroyed themselves and overpowered themselves as architecture and technology became wilder.
Such a representation of the world has come within the imposing yet monumental setting of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis of overcrowded urbanism. It serves as a breeding ground for human alienation. Technological dreams come true turning into nightmares. Such a view of the city brings to the cinema a variety of dystopian elements. On the other hand, Blade Runner has plenty of room in a city that still feels crowded.
It offers cities that almost people leave behind to take up an idea of the city’s capacity for further seclusion.
More Human Than Human
In the world of Blade Runner, humanity and existentialism are the major themes. It is more emphasized by the film when Roy interprets the Tyrell Corporation’s proverb which reads “more human than human.” He said how the angels fell, thunder rumbled around the shore, and it burned the fire of the orcs. Tyrell on the other hand firmly emphasized the superiority of the Replicants over humanity.
Their perfection is one small example of the superior humanity that Roy calls himself an angel. He identified himself as a being like a god and superior to humans. However, somehow, he felt lacking. While humans themselves often consider angels to be greater than humans, in essence, they do not have humanity itself. Roy touted a statement of rebellion, about turning a holy angel into a fallen angel to signify the death or fall of an angel.
It is more in line with the terminal state of the Nexus-6 Replicants. In essence, the film presents a great link between man and the artificial. In one interpretation, the Replicants are not rebelling against an institution. Instead, they rumbled and feared fatally death because they had no hope of preventing it. On the other hand, society isolates Deckard’s humanity for being less than human.
They looked at him more as if killing him. In a metaphorical sense, he brings himself closer to death by killing the Replicants who desperately want life instead of the Replicants also trying to gain life. As if living a potential part of the average person’s life into a personification’s form of man himself, Replicants are just a summary of the traditional man. On the other hand, artificially become more than human because it manages to appreciate life.
By destroying such a system, Deckard destroys himself using extensions.
Replicants and Voight-Kampff
Briefly, a period of several years limits the life of the Replicants. Engineered by the Tyrell Corporation to be the perfect example of humanity, people cannot recognize Replicants by sight alone. They were simply faster, stronger, and smarter than normal humans. In considering the limitations of what it means to be human, Dick likes to use the example of engineered beings as a philosophical tool.
As Tyrell explained, a light flashing twice as brightly would burn half its length. It is determined that consciousness denotes humanity or briefly life. Roy and the other Nexus-6 Replicants rebel against Tyler’s intended goal of the bliss of consciousness consuming them. What man has created is not artificial. They struggle to expand it so the limitations weigh on them. At such a moment, Deckard uses the Voight-Kampff exam, which includes pseudo-lie detection for Replicants.
It works by asking questions about human empathy. Read inadvertent redness of the skin, and pupil dilation, to indicate an emotional response that occurs naturally in the life of animals and humans. The test is the only way to find the Replicant other than an incomplete profile on each of Deckard’s four targets. The results of the Replicant will be different from humans. When Deckard identifies the rogue Replicant, his boss assigns himself to kill it without empathy.
It confuses the idea that feelings indicate humanity. Ironically, the test provides a counter-argument to the Nexus-6 group’s claim of existence through human emotional and physiological imitation which is incomplete.
Of Humans and Replicants
Blade Runner isn’t just about a world whose inhabitants are just specks of human existence. It is not also about a world that has dragged humans into a sad and hopeless life that barely resembles humanity. However, it is also about a world that acts as the difference between humans and Replicants. At the spice of reluctant romance that develops between Rachel (Tyrell’s assistant) and Deckard, he begins to question himself.
Through Deckard’s example that he obscured; humanity had become an aspiration. Especially with awareness, he can imitate it if memory plants and genetic engineering don’t perfect such things. In strange dreams floating in the subconscious, a unicorn prances through the beautiful forest. The camera shoots old photos, the music plays smoothly, and it glows softly. If someone who is born naturally makes and engineered better, it doesn’t make them into humanity.
It might make humans human if not experiences and memories. If Deckard kills the more human Replicant, it makes him a killer and the opposite of the bounty hunters the police support. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean Deckard’s role as a blade runner is paradoxical if so. Besides being undoubtedly left on Earth due to his limping, Gaff plays the officer who has a mysterious intermediary between the protagonist and his leader, Bryant.
As if they had meaning, Deckard explores origami pieces throughout the film. In another memory and thought, he made a paper figure in the shape of an animal. His dream of a unicorn that Gaff knows the audience can cultivate. However, Gaff had placed an origami unicorn on his outside the apartment door. Such insight is by no means absolute by the events in the film. Oddly enough, Deckard in a different interpretation is a Replicant himself.
Rachel’s relationship with Deckard explains the statement. Apart from their self-awareness may show humanity, replica consciousness does not suspect the apparatus. The Blade Runner hero’s romantic sympathies are in himself. When he gives Rachel an assignment, he doesn’t discover Rachel is a Replicant. Remaining a straightforward, cold, but obedient noir protagonist, Deckard administers the Voight-Kampff exams on non-engineered humans like Rachel.
For his own sake, Tyrell had engineered Rachel to be oblivious to the construction. He exists with the emotions and memories that humans instill. When Deckard’s personality and consciousness have come to realize where he is working to deceive even the Replicant himself, the film often wonders what humanity is all about. Despite that Rachel had all these characteristics, she wasn’t human.
But, of course, is in dreams, memories, self-awareness, and self-preservation. As trivial as such a life, according to Dick, technology also has a “life.” For example, when Rachel begins to suspect herself, she confronts Deckard that he has ever taken the test himself. When confronted by Rachel, Deckard’s eyes shone in the light. Like Rachel’s eyes to the artificial owl in Tyrell’s office, for the first time, the film opens to question the protagonist’s humanity.
In the film, the general science fiction concept explores such an atmosphere in full color. Human protagonists discover that they are not human, as Dick extensively explores in most of his novels.
When it comes to emphasizing visuality, films like 2001: A Space Odyssey inspire Scott’s explorations fantastically. Specialty FX companies such as Entertainment Effects Group also partner and assist the director. The effects work left production in directing the film itself in favor of MGM. For the film, it once again makes for an image in which movie characters will be amazed. Apart from reducing the effect to a negative 35mm, it keeps an eye on making sure its usual method.
For example, the film shoots effects on 65mm film stock in a resolution that people are up to. By supervising the use of a computerized camera that controls movement on complex miniatures, Panic over miniatures Scott needed to integrate sets seamlessly. The special FX reel that Scott extended also exposes the fog that gives the entire film a look such as noirish as well as a matte painted spinner flying car.
On the other hand, Dick’s visuals praise the scenes he shows. Despite his insistence on the making of the film, he considered that the film could create a unique form of graphic and artistic expression. It’s something people haven’t seen at the time. For Dick, by popularizing it for mass consumption, the film became more than just a thread about lasers or robots. The film revolutionized the audience’s conception of what is science fiction.
More than that, the film can also act as a prediction depending on people’s behavior patterns. Dick died of heart failure just before the studio hit theaters. Readers of Dick’s works always find his material in the pursuit of intellectual entertainment. On the other hand, his philosophical approach raised his works to legendary status after his death.
The Form of Film Cognition
Blade Runner requires an active visual participant. Its subject must be willing from whom the film demands. Through such cognition and careful observation of the film, it then forms the audience’s perception of what has appeared on the screen. In many ways, the distance between artificiality and humanity is about perception. It becomes a theme that appears in imagery related to sight or the eye with so much in the film about visuality.
As such, eyes also play a major role. Beyond many details, the film acts as a kaleidoscopic accumulation in occupying its frame. For example, the genetic engineer character caught the attention of the Tyrell Corporation in designing Roy’s eyes at Eye Works. The close-up opens up one of the first shots, of open eyes looking up at the spire of the fiery metropolis. Tyrell wears thick lens glasses and without them, he would be blind.
Ironically, in the test’s eye scan on the other hand Deckard sees a video screen image that explodes the eye perfecting it. At such a moment, Roy poked out Roy’s eye, contrary to the axiom about the audience must see for them to believe. Deckard sees a photo of Rachel as a child next to her mother. The images come alive in his hands regardless that nothing seen in the film represents the truth.
Illusions and false meanings are often read by people everywhere. It includes false dreams, fake photos, memory implants, artificial humans, and artificial animals. When Deckard scans the photo on a computer, it reveals the truth and hidden layers. Although people often regard photographs as tangible evidence of an individual’s history, it acts as intangible thing.
- Sammon, P. M., Dick, P. K., & Scott, R. (1996). Future noir: the making of Blade Runner (p. 0). New York: HarperPrism.
- Senior, W. A. (1996). Blade Runner and cyberpunk visions of humanity. Film Criticism, 21(1), 1-12.
- Williams, D. E. (1988). Ideology as dystopia: An interpretation of Blade Runner. International Political Science Review, 9(4), 381-394.