What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
Blade Runner (1982)
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Director: Ridley Scott
Production Co: The Ladd Company, Shaw Brothers, Blade Runner Partnership
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon
Blade Runner’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Blade Runner, directed by Star Wars ingenue Daisy Ridley and adapted from a science-fiction novel by Philip K. Richard.The story takes place in the city of Los Angeles, which has turned into a dystopia thanks to a much-publicized drought. But that isn’t their main problem. Their main problem is a bunch of terminators running around killing everyone. Solution? Bring in alcoholic ex-cop Rick Deckard to reluctantly solve the case. Deckard goes to meet with Eldon Tyrell, the creator and executive producer of the replicants.
That’s what they call terminators in SoCal. He also meets Tyrell’s assistant Rachel, who is such a Phoebe because she doesn’t even know she’s a replicant. Meanwhile, escaped replicants Roy and Leon take a field trip to an eyeball factory and get the skinny on a scientist named J.F. Sebastian who might have the secret to extending their pitifully short robot lives. Not that the human lifespan was anything to mindmeld home about either.Rachel tries to prove she’s human by showing Deckard a photo ID, which is the same way humans used to prove they deserved alcohol. But Deckard informs her that her memories are actually those of Tyrell’s niece, implanted in Rachel as an elaborate prank. She cries a single tear and departs wordlessly, never to be seen again for a few scenes.
Deckard searches Leon’s hotel room and finds a picture of a female replicant and a synthetic snake scale, but he can’t make heads or tails of it, so he gives up and hits the strip club. Fortunately, that’s where the snake lady works, so he gets to kill her after all. And as if this day couldn’t get any better, who should show up but Rachel, back on the block to save Deckard’s hide. He thanks her with some very romantic sexual assault. In replicant news, Pris, the other girl one, finds Sebastian the science guy and mercilessly dials up the “will they, won’t they” chemistry until he agrees to help. Looks like they won’t. Sebastian takes them to Tyrell’s modest pyramid apartment, tricking his way in the door with the promise of chess, the Achilles heel of all bespectacled nerds.
Roy asks his maker to grant him longer life, but Tyrell says it would be impossible, not to mention that it would eat up all his chess time. Roy isn’t mad, just disappointed. Deckard somehow knows to go to Sebastian’s apartment, where Pris surprises him with the old “pretend to be a lifesize doll” routine. Then she does a bunch of scary gymnastics, but Deckard simply shoots her, same as he did to that guy with the sword. Roy and Deckard play grabass for awhile, and eventually make their way to the roof. Deckard nearly falls off, that clumsy Clara, but Roy won’t let that happen, since he needs an audience for the chill last words he’s been workshopping. Finally, it’s time for Roy to kick the artificial bucket.
Deckard runs away with Rachel, but not before ruining some perfectly good origami.Blade Runner explores what it means to be human: equal parts boring and confusing. At the beginning, Deckard believes replicants are mere tools, machines that must be retired when they cease to be of use. The chasm between replicants and humans is enormous, as evidenced by their frequent placement on opposite sides of the frame. Reminds me of the chasm in my marital bed.Deckard sees Rachel as inhuman because her memories are not based on “real world” experiences, such as filming a reality show where seven strangers all live in the same house.
However, as the movie progresses, he begins to realize that the origin of one’s memories is immaterial; all that matters is the depth of feeling those memories evoke. Like humans, the replicants cherish photographs for the memories they represent, especially on Throwback Thursdays. And like humans, they do not appreciate being called a poser.The replicants are a manifestation of Reenie Descartes’ famous catchphrase, “cogito ergo sum”. In fact, the replicants are more gooder at thinking than any of the humans. They consistently demonstrate an edge in terms of culture, emotional complexity, and fashion.
During Roy’s final monologue, he laments the loss of all his precious memories, even the awkward teenage ones. Deckard finally understands that it doesn’t matter whether one’s life is a feat of nature or bioengineering, it can be lost, and the fear of this loss is what makes one “alive.” Also rollercoasters. You haven’t lived until you’ve done the loop-de-loop on the Screamin’ Demon.By the end, Deckard is such a forward thinking hippie that he doesn’t even care that he himself may be… a replicant. How do ya like that Pepsi Twist? Refreshingly lemony. Just as Deckard used his knowledge of Rachel’s dream to establish that her memories were implanted, Edward James Almost leaves behind an origami unicorn to imply that Decker’s earlier unicorn dream was similarly manufactured. But Deckard can’t be bothered; thanks to his buddy Roy, he’s all about living for the moment, no rules, no parents, spring break forever.By running away with Rachel, he is deciding to enjoy whatever time they have left.
Which, depending on what version of the movie you watch, could be ten seconds or ten trillion years. Let’s just hope there’s no voiceover. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Toodle-ooo!