Blade Runner

January 14, 2006

Year: 1982

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Written by: Philip K. Dick (Novel), Hampton Fancher & David Peoples

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Key Cast Members:

  • Rick Deckard: Harrison Ford
  • Roy Batty: Rutger Hauer
  • Rachael: Sean Young
  • Rating: 10 out of 10


    screen capture

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die…

    Overview: If you read a lot of the reviews from others about movies on this site, you’ll find that over half of them reference Blade Runner in some way, other in the visuals or issues discussed. Along with Gibson’s Neuromancer, Blade Runner did more to establish cyberpunk as a genre. The fact that Blade Runner came two years prior to Neuromancer is rather interesting. Truly, this film set the standard for the near-future film noirs sub-genre we call cyberpunk.

    Not too dissimilar to the wrath that greeted Metropolis’ release, Blade Runner was not an instant hit. Instead it grew from being critically panned to a cult classic, to now, where its well on its way to being considered a timeless classic.

    screen capture

    Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell. More human than human is our motto

    The Visuals: The visuals in Blade Runner are simply stunning. We see corporate pharaohs ruling a society containing manufactured slaves from their Egyptian style pyramids, while we see rot and decay on the streets below. Noir-style beige and blacks dominate the screen, but are often supplanted by shocking neons. In Blade Runner, we see and Earth in ruin – a place that people are eager to leave. Only the poor and problematic are left on this rain-soaked dystopian planet that has been raped of any semblance of natural existence. The Earth is now almost completely devoid of trees and animals, which are now replaced with artificial ones for the pleasure of mankind.

    The Story: Technology and corporate power are clearly the cause for this downfall. Genetic engineering has run rampant, and is combined with advanced organic computing technologies. It is in this world that we find a cast of flawed characters. Nobody is pure, nobody pristine. They are all a product of the environment they live in.

    screen capture

    Replicants are like any other machine – they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.

    To augment humanity’s needs and desires, replicants, or genetically engineered humans imbued with artificial intelligence have been developed. They serve many important roles including protection, pleasure slaves, and hard labor for the most dangerous environments. While replicants start out as rather straightforward and useful machines, over time, they start to develop awareness – their own personality, and eventually, free will and a desire for self-preservation. Because they are defined as property, Replicants are given a 4-year lifespan, which is enforced upon inception, and is irreversible.
    screen capture

    My mother? Let me tell you about my mother!

    It is in this world that we encounter Deckard (Harrison Ford), a Blade Runner. Blade Runners are cops who hunt down Replicants. At the beginning of the movie, we find that Deckard has supposedly retired from the business.I say supposedly here, because if he is a replicant, then really, he has been imbued with false memories as well, and in fact has never been a blade runner prior to this. Really, he is just filling in as a laborer fulfilling another job that is too dangerous for humans.

    Deckard is brought back in to “retire” 4 runaway “skin jobs” (replicants) who have murdered humans off-world and have escaped to Earth. Apparently, they seem to be interested in coming back to their creators – the Tyrell corporation. The story expands from there, and truly touches on some wonderful questions concerning ethical dilemmas that most certainly will arise in the future.

    screen capture

    Are these questions testing whether I’m a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?

    I’m not in the business. I AM the business…

    Deckard encounters Rachael (played wonderfully by Sean Young), a replicant who during the movie discovers her true nature. Blade Runner does a masterful job of exploring the questions and emotions surrounding this. We see Rachael’s theme echoed in Natural City, Armitage, Thirteenth Floor, Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, Malice@Doll, the Animatrix, I, Robot, and others. This question about what degree artificial life forms are human is a central theme of the cyberpunk genre.

    screen capture

    What is Human? While other movies have been terrific in exploring this, Blade Runner still sits at the top of the list, both for Racheal, and for Roy Batty, the leader of the renegade replicants. Roy’s monologue near the end (see the quote at the top), which was supposedly adlibbed by Rutger Hauer, captures in a single moment the ethical dilemma with creating sentient life. If they have freewill, can they really be considered property? And if they aren’t property, what are they, exactly?

    Blade Runner uses mannequins and toys as its set piece for representing this dilemma. In Blade Runner, corporations create these glorified toys – moving mannequins if you will, to meet the needs of society, yet while the toys themselves are clearly a product of the society just like all the other noir characters, are they truly nothing more? And if we do consider them to be on par with humans, what obligations do they have to their creators, who invested time and money in their creation?

    screen capture

    The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.

    The Bottom Line: On top of all this philosophical questioning, we get some great noir-detective-like action and suspense. Roy Batty is truly a badass. Deckard’s pursuit of him is a very fun engagement, as is the climax. Its flat out terrific. The pacing is wonderful, the visuals are astounding, and the story is enthralling. By now I’m guessing most have seen this cinematic masterpiece, but if not, you are truly in for feast!

    screen capture

    Page 2 – More Screen Captures–>>

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review

    <span class=”iTitle”>Overview:</span> If you read a lot of the reviews from others about movies on this site, you’ll find that over half of them reference Blade Runner in some way, other in the visuals or issues discussed. Along with Gibson’s Neuromancer, Blade Runner did more to establish cyberpunk as a genre. The fact that Blade Runner came two years prior to Neuromancer is rather interesting. Truly, this film set the standard for the near-future film noirs sub-genre we call cyberpunk. <br>
    <br>
    Not too dissimilar to the wrath that greeted Metropolis’ release, Blade Runner was not an instant hit. Instead it grew from being critically panned to a cult classic, to now, where its well on its way to being considered a timeless classic.

    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner02.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    <div class=”quote”>Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell. More human than human is our motto</div>

    <span class=”iTitle”>The Visuals: </span> The visuals in Blade Runner are simply stunning. We see corporate pharaohs ruling a society containing manufactured slaves from their Egyptian style pyramids, while we see rot and decay on the streets below. Noir-style beige and blacks dominate the screen, but are often supplanted by shocking neons. In Blade Runner, we see and Earth in ruin – a place that people are eager to leave. Only the poor and problematic are left on this rain-soaked dystopian planet that has been raped of any semblance of natural existence. The Earth is now almost completely devoid of trees and animals, which are now replaced with artificial ones for the pleasure of mankind.
    <br>
    <span class=”iTitle”>The Story: </span> Technology and corporate power are clearly the cause for this downfall. Genetic engineering has run rampant, and is combined with advanced organic computing technologies. It is in this world that we find a cast of flawed characters. Nobody is pure, nobody pristine. They are all a product of the environment they live in.

    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner07.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />
    <div class=”quote”>Replicants are like any other machine – they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.</div>

    To augment humanity’s needs and desires, replicants, or genetically engineered humans imbued with artificial intelligence have been developed. They serve many important roles including protection, pleasure slaves, and hard labor for the most dangerous environments. While replicants start out as rather straightforward and useful machines, over time, they start to develop awareness – their own personality, and eventually, free will and a desire for self-preservation. Because they are defined as property, Replicants are given a 4-year lifespan, which is enforced upon inception, and is irreversible.
    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner00.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    <div class=”quote”>My mother? Let me tell you about my mother!</div>

    It is in this world that we encounter Deckard (Harrison Ford), a Blade Runner. Blade Runners are cops who hunt down Replicants. At the beginning of the movie, we find that Deckard has supposedly retired from the business.<i>I say supposedly here, because if he is a replicant, then really, he has been imbued with false memories as well, and in fact has never been a blade runner prior to this. Really, he is just filling in as a laborer fulfilling another job that is too dangerous for humans.</i>

    <br>
    Deckard is brought back in to &quot;retire&quot; 4 runaway &quot;skin jobs&quot; (replicants) who have murdered humans off-world and have escaped to Earth. Apparently, they seem to be interested in coming back to their creators – the Tyrell corporation. The story expands from there, and truly touches on some wonderful questions concerning ethical dilemmas that most certainly will arise in the future.

    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner06.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />
    <div class=”quote”>Are these questions testing whether I’m a replicant or a lesbian, Mr. Deckard?

    I’m not in the business. I AM the business…</div>

    Deckard encounters Rachael (played wonderfully by Sean Young), a replicant who during the movie discovers her true nature. Blade Runner does a masterful job of exploring the questions and emotions surrounding this. We see Rachael’s theme echoed in Natural City, Armitage, Thirteenth Floor, Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain, Malice@Doll, the Animatrix, I, Robot, and others. This question about what degree artificial life forms are human is a central theme of the cyberpunk genre.

    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner12.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />

    <span class=”iTitle”>What is Human? </span> While other movies have been terrific in exploring this, Blade Runner still sits at the top of the list, both for Racheal, and for Roy Batty, the leader of the renegade replicants. Roy’s monologue near the end (see the quote at the top), which was supposedly adlibbed by Rutger Hauer, captures in a single moment the ethical dilemma with creating sentient life. If they have freewill, can they really be considered property? And if they aren’t property, what are they, exactly?

    <br>
    Blade Runner uses mannequins and toys as its set piece for representing this dilemma. In Blade Runner, corporations create these glorified toys – moving mannequins if you will, to meet the needs of society, yet while the toys themselves are clearly a product of the society just like all the other noir characters, are they truly nothing more? And if we do consider them to be on par with humans, what obligations do they have to their creators, who invested time and money in their creation?</p>

    <img src=”/images/Bladerunner13.jpg” alt=”screen capture” />
    <div class=”quote”>The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.</div>

    <span class=”iTitle”>The Bottom Line: </span> On top of all this philosophical questioning, we get some great noir-detective-like action and suspense. Roy Batty is truly a badass. Deckard’s pursuit of him is a very fun engagement, as is the climax. Its flat out terrific. The pacing is wonderful, the visuals are astounding, and the story is enthralling. By now I’m guessing most have seen this cinematic masterpiece, but if not, you are truly in for feast!

    <div align=”center”><img src=”/images/Bladerunner16.jpg” alt=”screen capture” /></div>
    <p align=”right”><a href=”/blade-runner-page-2-more-screencaps/”>Page 2 – More Screen Captures–>></a></p>cyberpunk movie review

    This post has been filed under Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Memory Modification, Dystopic Future Movies, 10 Star Movies, Android Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, Cyberpunk movies from 1980-1989 by SFAM.

    Metropolis

    January 14, 2006

    Year: 1927

    Directed by: Fritz Lang

    Written by: Fritz Lang (Script), Thea von Harbou (Novel, Script)

    IMDB Reference

    Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

    Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

    Key Cast Members:

    • Maria (cyborg): Brigitte Helm
    • Johhan ‘Joh’ Fredersen: Alfred Abel
    • Freder Fredersen: Gustav Fröhlich

    Rating: 10 out of 10


    screen capture

    Overview: Most people probably think cyberpunk started in US in the early 80s. I say it started in Germany in 1927. Metropolis all but disapeared after its initial release, but slowly gained a following in drops and drabs, and then with the early 80s restorations, it began to truly take hold in the minds of most as something special in movie making history. Is it a coincidence that Metropolis gained prominence right around the same time as the cyberpunk movement took hold? I think not. If you’re interested in seeing the first movie with replicants, use of computers, cybernetic body parts, full corporate control over society, a robust underground, and a massively negative impact of technology on society, look no further than Fritz Lang’s expressionist masterpiece, Metropolis. You think not? Hopefully my review will sway your opinion.

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    The Story: Metropolis takes place in an extreme dystopic future where a society is clearly divided into the workers and the elite. The elite live above ground in this truly wonderful city called Metropolis that has gardens, fascinating architectures, advanced transport systems and sinful night clubs. The workers live underground, in a dreary non-distinct, undifferentiated set of buildings. Their whole existence centers around keeping the machinery going that powers Metropolis.

    Johhan Fredersen, the corporate CEO, does not see the workers as people, but instead sees them as no more than specialized parts in his grand, clockwork-like machinery. This point is struck home in that the workers life is organized in 10 hour shifts. They work 10 hours on, than have 10 hours off. In other words, their sense of time is not dictated by night and day as it is in metropolis – they live underground so they rarely if ever see the sun. Their time and life is fully guided by the needs of the machinery – the 20 hour days ensure they are fully disconnected from anything natural.

    screen capture

    In this world, the son of the corporate CEO (Johhan), Freder, accidentally is exposed to and falls in love with Maria, a woman who has made it her mission to give hope to the working class. Freder takes the role as a working class member and pursues her down to the underground city and takes the role of working class member. While there, he works a grueling 10 hour shift in the factory, and begins to understand the inhumane way they are treated. He later attends a secret meeting in the catacombs where Maria is giving hope to the working class through spreading the word of peace and Christianity.

    Unfortunately, Johhan finds out about this worker uniting, and wants to stop it. He does so by enlisting the aid of a mad scientist named C.A. Rotwang. Johhan asks Rotwang to create a replicant of Maria and schemes to replace her in order to incite the workers into revolt so that Johhan can crush the leaders. The story progresses from here, but the short of it involves betrayal, romance, action and suspense.

    screen capture

    Futuristic Thoughts: While Metropolis was made prior to the computer age, its interesting that the idea of gauges and governors for machines, and a central machine that combines all the inputs and provides it to the executive is already envisioned. A never ending stream of information is sent to a control panel in Johhan’s wall that gives him a constant stock market-like update of the status of the machine. Additionally, Johhan has instant access to anywhere on the job floor by a videophone. In short, Johhan has instant access to the workings of his machine whenever he wants.

    screen capture

    Cyberpunk Visualized: The Replicant C.A. Rotwang modifies to turn into Maria required that the real maria be captured so that her “essence” could be transferred to the robot. By a process unexplained, the robot then has its outside appearance modified to “become” a replicant of Maria. This, in essence, is the precursor to the storyline in Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, where real humans have their ghosts copied and transferred to android dolls. Because Maria’s “ghost” has been replicated into this android, the evil android Maria exudes sexual energy to the point that she instantly enchants the entire worker city and incites them to rebellion.

    In this scene above, we see that energy and information are almost synonymous. Maria’s ghosted soul is being transferred into the evil Maria android. And here all this time, I mistakenly thought Frankenstein originated this look! Truly, C.A. Rotwang’s laboratory would have worked perfectly for Dr. Frankenstein.

    screen capture

    C.A. Rotwang, the evil scientist, has a prosthetic hand that functions as a real hand. He has effectively merged his machinery with the human mind to allow it to function as a part of him. While the word cybernetic body part has not yet been invented yet, the implication is clear – in Metropolis, where machines dominate all aspects of life, it is indeed possible to replace body parts with cyborg limbs.

    screen capture

    In short, Metropolis portrays a technology-driven culture that devalues and devolves the humanity of the workers, while at the same time, allows the elite to lead perverse and sinful lives. The technology strips us of our humanity both in removing us from a natural existence, integrating us as replaceable parts in a machine, and even allows us to replace people with Replicants!

    The Bottom Line: So OK, fine, its possible to look at Metropolis as a cyberpunk film. So why watch it? Answer – because its a terrific movie! If you get the Kino version (you MUST!!! the other cheaper versions don’t follow Lang’s script), you will be viewing a masterpiece of early cinema. Metropolis has replaced Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928) as my favorite silent movie. And truly, its influence on the cyberpunk movie genre is surpassed by only one film. If you get this, you won’t be disapointed.

    Page 2: Additional screen captures–>>

    This post has been filed under Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Utopia Surrounded by Poverty, Security-Surveillance State, Proto-Cyberpunk Media, Hot Cyberchicks Kicking Butt, Dystopic Future Movies, Android Movies, Awesome Cyberpunk Visuals, 10 Star Movies, Man-machine Interface, Cyberpunk movies from before 1980 by SFAM.