Blade Runner

by Alec Rudolph

I almost never see new movies, particularly action and sci-fi. It seems like countless films that fit those genres have been made over the last few years.  The short reason is none of them appeal to me. The long reason is this: there is always too much focus on visual effects and big booms and not enough focus on the characters and the actual story. A great example of this is Jurassic World. A film with so much potential, it was ruined by completely unrealistic and over-the-top action sequences and sinfully poor character development. The movie failed to connect to the audience. I anticipated the same experience with Blade Runner, especially with the idea of some bounty hunter in the future whose job it is to “retire” strange life forms that come to Earth. It felt like too much.

What I instead found was a futuristic masterpiece which I should have expected from legendary sci-fi director Ridley Scott. Not only was the movie visually appealing, but it had the character development that makes a film great. The action was not over the top, rather  most of the scenes were intense and filled with emotion, and emotion is what develops characters. The audience is able to identify with their emotions, especially in scenes such as the Voight-Kampff machine test. In that scene, not only is Leon presented with a situation intended to spur emotion, the audience is as well. This is one example of the “human” aspect of the film that makes it great.

This “human” aspect is something that is missing in many films today. It is what Blade Runner does differently. After all, the movie is based upon finding what makes us human, finding what distinguishes us from all other forms of life. That is how humans find replicants. But when we attempt to find what makes us human, we discover that there may not be anything that makes us human at all.

This is where a steady uneasiness comes from in the film. We should expect the humans to act more human so we can distinguish them from replicants, but they do not. The civilians on the streets are all dressed the same and are all walking in an orderly fashion. The replicants act more human than humans do. Rachael is proven to be a replicant by Deckard, but we cannot help but see the emotion in her eyes more than anyone else’s.

Although replicants are supposed to be the non-human life form, Scott shows that there really is no one thing that makes us human. Replicants and humans are essentially the same. Our memories will forever be “lost in time” when we die.  We all die at some point, leaving our precious memories behind, no matter what kind of creature we are. So is there something that makes us human, or are we just like all other forms of life, spawned here to live out our lives with no particular direction then die? This underlying question far surpasses the visual effects and futuristic setting of the film, and that is what makes Blade Runner great.

Blade Runner

By Michelle Boca and Amy Clerkin

After watching the film that depicts a future involving genetically manufactured humans, I found the movie very interesting. The replicants were created to be “more human than human.” Although the replicants had superior strength and agility, they lacked emotional responses and empathy. It is as if they are robots. What makes us human IS the ability to feel emotions and to feel things towards other people. The only thing that is good with the replicants is their amazing ability when it comes to physical strength. But what they do not have is the heart that makes us human. They are machines. Machines and robots do things humans cant do but humans also do things that machines can’t do, and thats to feel.

Creating the “perfect human” is relevant today because there are new scientific procedures that allows us to design our own genes to create the perfect baby. This is called “designer babies” where specific genes and traits are taken and put together to create a baby that is to our liking. This type of procedure is controversial because we are not letting nature do its own job. Although the babies created are still regular babies and will grow up to be regular human beings, the step that science has taken has advanced faster than expected.

After reading “Blade Runner Legacy” and watching the movie, we agree with what the article says about the film. The article discussed the significance of different aspects of the film such as the ambiguity of Deckard and the setting of Los Angeles. “Blade Runner Legacy” also mentions the impact of letting technology “take over” and get out of hand. The article also touches on the influence of the film and how it is still relevant to this day. It is especially relevant today with the constant development of new technology.

 

Blade Runner

After watching The Blade Runner and reading “Blade Runner Legacy”, I would say that I agree with what the readings had to say about the film. The text mentioned the ambiguity of the characters within the film including Deckard himself, and how it has led to new depictions of morality within the sci-fi genre in general, which I think many people can agree with. The reading also talked about Rachel’s character in the plot as a femme fatale and how it ruptures a mostly male dominated film which I can agree with.

I think The Blade Runner has been so influential and critically acclaimed in Sci-Fi circles because not only does it present a world and society we could easily evolve into; it also forces us to question what makes us human as we continue to advance technologically and work side by side with machines. We’re constantly furthering our own intelligence and therefore our computers intelligence so it is entirely possible that we may have to draw the line at how far artificial intelligence can go in the future, which is an intriguing thought.

With regards to humanity and ethics, the film is full of comments, blatant and subtle. The main character Deckard is clearly shown as being distraught each time he has to kill a replicant, even though he knows they are not human. This behavior clearly shows that Deckard is unsure if what he is doing is ethical as he begins to question what makes us human and if the replicants really aren’t so different from us. His complicated relationship with Rachel makes it clear that he has empathy towards the man made robots even though he doesn’t like it. The bleak and dark environment on Earth in the city portrays humanity as a grim population that has outgrown its planet and exhausted itself to the point where humans look to robots for compassion.

The movie poses the question of what makes us human is many different ways. The test Deckard and the blade runners would perform on the replicants involved analyzing emotional responses to hypothetical questions in order to determine if a subject was truly human. One of the questions asked had to do with a situation involving an animal in need of help which shows that the filmmakers viewed empathy as a critical human characteristic. When the replicants began to show empathy for each other and Deckard started falling for Rachel it furthered the question of what defines us. I don’t think the question is relevant today because so far there are many defining human characteristics and no technology has come close to replicating us entirely.

The Blade Runner

By Samantha Schultz and Kate Mills

The underlying moral question of the movie could be what makes us human? How does the move pose this question? Is this question still relevant today? How so? Give some examples?

Los Angeles 2019, is portrayed as a dark and depressing metropolis, filled with urban decay. Richard Deckard is set to find and kill these so called “replicants” which are a group of four who are trying to take over society. These replicants are humans who have been manually created to have no emotion or feelings. The movie setting goes along with the underlying question of the movie “what makes us human.” Since the replicants have no emotion and the rainy mood sets a tone that in the futuristic world many people are just going to live through the aspects of technology and not appreciate the actual world around them. Instead of being naturally born someone is creating that perfect life for you without any hardships or fear. Not having to worry about anything seems like the perfect life, but is one actually living if they have their life destined from the start.

What makes us human? The definition of a human is a representative of or susceptible to the sympathies and frailties of human nature. To be a person in today’s world is to have compassion and emotion. The “ fake people” in the movie didn’t know where they came from or have any feeling towards people. The main character of the movie Rick Deckard was able to pin out these “replications” when he asked them a series of questions, and if they had no emotion, then they were a “replicant.” Their whole testing system is to try and tell who is human and who is being created. 

This is something that is very relevant today. People today can create their children to make sure that they get the traits they want. A scientist named Luhan Yang a Harvard recruit from Beijing is trying to develop a powerful new technology for editing DNA called CRISPR- Cas9 “By editing the DNA of these cells or the embryo itself, it could be possible to correct disease genes and pass those genetic fixes on to future generations. Such a technology could be used to rid families of scourges like cystic fibrosis.” This is just like what they did in the movie, creating people to become the perfect human.

Controversy Over Video Game Ratings

By Amy Clerkin and Michelle Boca

Violent video games has been getting into the hands of those that should not be playing them. While video game rating seems helpful, they can often be deceiving and is not fully accurate. When young children play games that are not suitable for them, they are exposed to a lot of violence as a result of playing those games. Because of this, parents are concerned about what their children is experiencing.

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Video game ratings have been highly controversial and debated since the beginning. This became especially problematic when gamers discovered “cheat codes” that allows the player to access material that was above the rating. The Senate, spearheaded by NY Senator Hilary Clinton, began an investigation of RockStar Games, the developer of Grand Theft Auto. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Clinton wrote, “We should all be deeply disturbed that a game which now permits the simulation of lewd sexual acts in an interactive format with highly realistic graphics has fallen into the hands of young people across the country.” Clinton enforced regulations pushing for more stringent enforcement policies to ensure that children couldn’t get their hands on adult rated games.

“The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the organization responsible for rating video games. ” https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/the-controversy-over-video-game-ratings

 

The ESRB utilizes the following rating symbols which can be found on the front of a game box with content descriptors on the back of the box:

EC (Early Childhood) – content that is suitable for ages 3 and older; contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

E (Everyone) – content that is suitable for ages 6 and older; may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence.

E10+(Everyone 10 and older) – content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older; may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.

T (Teen) – content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older; may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood and/or infrequent use of strong language.

M (Mature) – content that may be suitable for ages 17 and older; may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.

AO (Adults Only) – content that should only be played by ages 18 and older; may contain prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

This controversy affects everyday Americans who play video games but it directly affects those with children. Ensuring that video games are rated properly makes children safe.

maxresdefault.jpgGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas is rated M for mature which meant that the game was meant for ages 17 and up. Gamers discovered a code that allowed them to enter hidden areas of the game that was much more sexually explicit and was extremely violent. As a result, parents got worried. Questions such as “does the current video rating system work? Do video ratings actually inform parents as to the content of a game” have risen.

“Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence towards women. Critics argue that these games desensitize players to violence, reward players for simulating violence, and teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.”  An example of when a video game was blamed for a school shooting was the massacre of 13 people at Columbine High School in 1999. The two teenage shooters were revealed to be avid players to a shooting game called Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.

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Violence toward women is a big concern in violent video games. In Grand Theft Auto, women are portrayed as strippers and are treated badly. They are used for their bodies and the game also allows the player to kill prostitute and take their money. actual_1385081357

ESRB has been accused of not rating video games accurately enough for violence and other harsh related content. Critics have stated that “some games only received the M rating rather than the stricter AO rating because of the commercial effects of such a rating.” This means that if a video game was rated Adults Only, it would dramatically affect sales. With a Mature rating, more people can buy the video game thus more profit for the makers of said game. Video game publishers would edit a game in order to meet the requirements for the M rating.

Michigan Senator Fred Upton and another U.S Senator Sam Brownback placed bills to governmentally oversee on aspects of the ESRB rating process, and make it illegal for publishers to misrepresent the playable content of a video game to a ratings board; Upton proposed a bill known as the Video Game Decency Act, explaining that developers had “done an end-run around the process to deliver violent and pornographic material to our kids”, and that the bill would “[go] hand in hand with the mission of the industry’s own ratings system.”

The stated aim of the proposed legislation was “To prohibit deceptive acts and practices in the content rating and labeling of video games”.

Brownback proposed a bill known as the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, which would have also forced the ESRB to have full, hands-on access to games instead of just video footage, and have initiated a government study on the “effectiveness” of the organization and the possibility of forming a ratings organization independent from the video game industry.

 

Blade Runner

Blade Runner, preserved in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, is regarded by many critics as one of the all-time best science fiction films. It is hailed for its technological innovation, as well as its production design, which depicts a highly original “retrofitted” future. Blade Runner’s investment in the interrogation of technology’s dystopian tendencies and incorporation of detective genre motifs into a science-fiction setting bring viewers’ nightmares about urbanization to life. As a film, it operates on multiple dramatic and narrative levels, but the questionable moral outlook of Deckard – including reflections upon the nature of his own humanity – is the most prominent.

A paranoid aura pervades the film: the corporate power of Tyrell looms large; the police and their spinners are omnipresent; vehicle and warning lights probe into buildings; and the consequences of huge biomedical power over the individual, especially the consequences of implanted memories for replicants, are explored. Environmental Control also takes place on a vast scale, hand in hand with the absence of natural life, evidenced by artificial animals roaming in place of extinct predecessors. This oppressive backdrop serves as explanation for the frequently-referenced migration of humans to “off-world” colonies. These dystopian themes and the recurring motifs, such as eyes and manipulated images, call humans’ ability to accurately perceive and remember reality into question and provide uncertainty for Blade Runner’s central theme of examining humanity.

In order to expose replicants, the Voight-Kampff machine (an empathy test) with a number of questions focused on the treatment of animals – seemingly an indicator of “humanity” – is used. The replicants are compassionate and concerned for one another, juxtaposed against the mass of humanity on the streets that lacks empathy and is impersonal. The film goes so far as to put in doubt whether Deckard is human, and the audience is forced to re-evaluate the meaning of “being human”. As I watched Deckard’s unicorn dream sequence, coinciding with Gaff’s parting gift of an origami unicorn, I began to believe that Deckard is, in fact, a replicant – as Gaff could have accessed Deckard’s implanted memories. However, I also began to ponder whether the unicorn imagery was being used to convey that the characters, human or replicant, share the same dreams and are finally recognizing their similitude.

Nevertheless, the ambiguity and uncertainty of the film, as well as its textual richness, have permitted viewers like myself to gather their own perspectives on the underlying moral question and formulate their own ideas on “what makes us human” for over 30 years.

 

 

Blade Runner

By Maria Vazquez

Blade Runner (1982) is a film about a dystopian Los Angles where humans created artificial intelligence that was smarter than the human race. It is impossible to distinguish the “replicants” from adult humans. When a group of Replicants escapes from an off world planet the government calls in the “blade runners” who essentially hunt them down. There are 4 replicants of the nexus-6 model which means they only have a four-year lifespan. Since it is very difficult to distinguish human from replicant the protagonist can’t trust anyone.

Did you agree or disagree with what the readings said about the movie?

I have to agree with the readings because when I finished watching the film I was left asking many questions that the movie did not provide answers to. I thought the film itself was confusing then I went onto the web and the plot of the film became clearer. Many of the essays from the readings focus on how there are many different stylistic influences and how the film set up a sort of revolution for the sci-fi category. I thought it was interesting how people had many ideas on how the film and the novel that was the basis for the film were different, or how some people thought the film was not as good as the book or vice-versa

Why do you think The Blade Runner has been so influential and critically acclaimed in Sci-Fi circles?

I have to agree with the readings because when I finished watching the film I was left asking many questions that the movie did not provide answers to. I thought the film itself was confusing then I went onto the web and the plot of the film became clearer. Many of the essays from the readings focus on how there are many different stylistic influences and how the film set up a sort of revolution for the sci-fi category. I thought it was interesting how people had many ideas on how the film and the novel that was the basis for the film were different, or how some people thought the film was not as good as the book or vice-versa

Why do you think The Blade Runner has been so influential and critically acclaimed in Sci-Fi circles?

I think that the movie itself was a completely new approach to sci-fi films. I also think that the film has many themes that could be a serious concern to today’s society. For an example, the idea of artificial intelligence is a “reoccurring” theme in society.

How does the movie comment on humanity and ethics?

Essentially it implies that it is hard to distinguish real humans from non-humans. It also suggests the underlying question of if we make something so human-like should we kill it?

 

Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson Boobgate

By: Samantha Schultz and Kate Mills

The issue at hand is that during the 2004 SuperBowl Justin Timberlake ripped Janet Jackson’s top off exposing her breast. This is controversial because her breast was not censored and since it is national TV all body parts are supposed to be blurred out.

The internet, however, can not censor their products due to freedom of speech. This is important to note that the web can post whatever they want. Marjory Tv companies might not be able to, but if you go under a different user, you can claim that is your right to be able to post whatever you want.

During the SuperBowl CBS did not cover Jannet’s breast being exposed because they didn’t have someone that was paying close attention to the performance. When TV companies go live they often have a 5-second delay in case people slip up and say “ F**k, Sh*t, or any inappropriate word. Or in this instance, if someone’s boob comes out during a performance.

The future of this issue is to regulate what is being shown on television and make sure that they do not have another slip up like this on national tv. Not only CBS but other channels as well. However many people were very offended and actually sued Jackson and Timberlake for having “to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury.” This was taken very seriously and CBS now has a reputation to uphold, and to not have this incident happen again. 

Blade Runner

By Joey Martino and Jack Walzer

After reading “Blade Runner Legacy” and watching the film Blade Runner, we agree with the what the reading had to say. The reading took a look at plenty of different aspects of the film and looked at why they were like that and what it meant. The essay looked at things like the setting of Los Angeles, the morality of the author, and even the feminist value of Rachel. After reading the article, all that was said seems to make sense in regards to the film. You can see the Legacy the movie has left behind, with countless articles written analyzing it, a video game made based off it, and even a sequel to the film coming out sometime this year.

This movie has been so influential and critically acclaimed in sci-fi circles because it is a very possible movie. With the way society is going, technology advances further and further every year. The basis of this movie, the replicants, is a concept that is not far from what could actually happen. As technology advances, everything we use gets more life like. Some technology can talk to you and some can even recognize your face. As technology continues to improve, we don’t want it going in the direction of Blade Runner.

The movie comments on humanity and ethics showing how the way technology is going is ethically wrong. It makes a point that humans aren’t always thinking ethically when it comes to technology and can make many wrong decisions. It continues to show that as we make robots and technology become more and more human, we are taking our human value away. Deckard falls in love with a replicant, because in the beginning he couldn’t even tell that it was not a human. Technology should never come to this point.

Blade Runner poses the question of what makes us human by showing how close the replicants are to humans. What truly should make us human is our emotions and how we feel. The question of what makes us human is not very relevant in society today. Even through sexism, racism and many other problems going on today, we feel like every still is aware that all humans have value, whether some peoplle show it or not.

Blade Runner Analysis

By Elizabeth Banquer

Blade Runner (1982) directed by Ridley Scott is a futuristic and technological thought provoking film that takes place in the year 2019. The film focuses on the concept of what it means to be human rather than non-human. The film parallels between real and synthetic characters and the overlaying theme of humanity versus technology is apparent.

The film follows main character Rick Deckard played by notorious actor Harrison Ford. Deckard is a former blade runner and the film follows his journey and constant altercation with technological enterprise Tyrell Corporation, while dealing with the newest replicant technology the Nexus 6 model.

“The Blade Runner Experience: The Legacy of a Science Fiction Classic” written by Will Brooker discusses how Blade Runner is a science fiction cult classic film and paints it in a positive light, writing how it’s futuristic themes make it a fan favorite film.

This film was an interesting concept and allowed viewers to question what the future will be like when technology is more dominant and can cause fear for the future. Overall the film causes viewers to think about the future and ponder if the movie’s setting and concept can actually occur. I believe it’s though provoking themes and setting allows the film to have its mass fan following and the cult-classic title.

The movie focuses on the theme of humanity; the film has numerous synthetic characters and discusses what it means to be human versus artificial. Several characters are the new Tyrell Company Nexus 6 models and how they act and the other characters act and deal around them is the questionable theme of ethics. Ethics is the principle of what is seen as “moral” or “good” in a situation so how the synthetic and artificial characters and themes are represented and reacted to add to the theme of humanity and ethics.

The underlying question of the film is “what makes us human?”, this question is fully represented in the film. In Blade Runner there are 3 synthetic characters, one of them is named Racheal, and her relationship with main character Deckard especially at the end of the film proves that even though she is not human by nature, how she acts and her relationship with others is what in fact makes her and others human.