Blade Runner Final Cut It’s The Unicorn

Movie review

Date of Release:

Director: Ridley Scott

Genre: Science fiction

Degree of Cyberpunk: Moderate

Rate: 9/10

 

At last, after 25 long years of waiting, Ridely Scott is going to release The Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Obviously, there is a massive difference between the Director’s Cut in 1992 and The Final Cut to be released.

A unicorn.

There is a unicorn dream sequence that can be spotted in the Director’s Cut but now it’s extended and much longer. Deckard’s daydream of a unicorn jumping around, in a super slow motion, in the forest is the pivotal scene that left the audience wanting for more.

Ridley explained this scene before. He said that in the end. Gaff couldn’t find it to like Deckard, and the reason is still unknown. He stated that Deckard’s life span is still unknown and he is slowly becoming a human. Gaff, on the other hand, left behind an origami, a silver paper that people can usually found in a pack of cigarette. Therefore, the unicorn in his dream just indicates that it would be unusual for Deckard to talk to anyone about that thing. However, if Gaff has any idea about this, it’s just his way of telling that he knows everything and read the file already.

Compared to its 1997 version, the Blade Runner film and audio are both impressive. Instead of the original negatives, the digital print of the movie dramatically changes. Also, the 2019 dystopic landscape of Los Angeles is equally impressive. Their opening sequence involves some sort of flames leaping towards the sky from the darkness is a good way to catch the attention of viewers.

The soundtrack is good as well. It was composed by Vangelis and it’s very likable than before. It complements the story very well, all the intense and speedy scenes to the slow and breath-taking scenes, the soundtrack is enough to send you chills.

Notice how the Blade Runner introduces the decaying world where multicultural inhabitants are all struggling to survive. They live mostly in the abandoned office buildings and struggle in the busy city streets as well.

I notice two exotic dancers with hockey masks and a lot of interesting things about this movie—making the entire footage appealing. The scenes are well-played. For instance, the death scene of Roy Batty features a dove flying peacefully in the sky. But there are some scenes that should be included in the movie, are missing. For instance, the first encounter of Gaff and Deckard in the noodle bars. There are also lines that are completely different from the earlier versions. Whether it’s to improve the dialogue or it’s a failed attempt to change some of the story’s plot—that I don’t know. For instance, the line “One of them got friend running through an electrical field” is changed into “Two of them got fried running through an electrical field.”

Conclusion: While it can’t be hard not to compare the earlier version of the Blade Runner, you cannot deny the fact that the latest version is much better. While there are scenes that are removed and dialogue that were tweaked, it’s still a good movie that you shouldn’t miss at all.

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Understanding the Matrix Trilogy from a Man Machine Interface Perspective

Movie review

First appearance: The Matrix

Last appearance: The Matrix revolutions

Creator: The Wachowskis

Actor: Keanu Reeves

Voice actor: Andrew Bowen (The Matrix. Path of Neo)

 

In order to fully understand the matrix trilogy, you must comprehend it through the terms that can be found from the man-machine interface perspective.

Story: Neo is a programmer that runs a highly-recognized software company called Meta Cortex. He is also a hacker as well that steals confidential information and hides under the name Neo. The Matrix refers to the feeling that Neo describes as “there is something wrong with this world.” He spent the next few years trying to understand the matrix. He was given a choice to remove all his memories about the matrix or continue to have an in-depth research about it. It soon unravels revelations that helped Neo to fight back against the Matrix, which, unfortunately, uses the humans in order to have a source for the giant machine.

Just like any other people who have watched the film, the first encounter with this movie will surely blow your mind but it will keep you wanting for more. You know what I’m talking about? Yes, unanswered questions. There are a lot of unanswered questions in the movie and unfortunately, it wasn’t able to fulfill the promise of the earlier film.

This is the perfect time for you to understand the Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective. It will help you to understand and think of it differently instead of arguing with people from online forums about this matrix trilogy.

Some speculations are that Neo is already dead, and if you did not really understand the movie, you would think that he is.

On the Machine City, Neo tries to fight the Matrix. It was an epic battle with Smith to the point where he was almost defeated but then a light erupts from Neo’s chest and he was able to end the war between the machines and the humans. He was kind of resurrected from the destruction.

It can be seen from the movie that Neo has this bandage around his eyes. A girl asked the oracle if she will be able to see Neo again and the oracle answered it in a way anyone else will do. “I suspect so. Someday.”

Conclusion: Overall, it’s a good movie. It just failed to have a clear ending that sparked a debate and arguments from their viewers. They all have different interpretations about the ending of the story. Some believed Neo is dead, while others pressed that he’s not. You may need to watch the trilogy over and over again, pay attention to their conversations, and analyze the plot twist very carefully before you are able to conclude if Neo is really gone or not. Nevertheless, the failure of this movie to convey its plot to the viewers may help you to have fun watching it again and knowing what really happened way back then.

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Who controls your data?

May 16, 2008

Wired’s Bruce Schneier has posted what has to be a must-read op-ed piece for anyone who thinks they control their lives or data. The post called “Our Data, Ourselves” deals with something cyberpunks, hackers, net-advert pushers, and the NSA already know about (or should know about), but for the clueless herds of human cattle, it can be a real eye-opener.

 

No matter where you go, there you are… and so is your data. Before the Internet explosion, your data would have been on systems not linked to each other in any way. This would have made tracking your varied activities difficult. Now, one little piece of personal information can open hundreds or thousands of doors to the wrong people who don’t deserve to have that data. All too often, though, we allow our data to go through the nets without our consent… or knowledge… or so king Duh’bya would like us to believe. Worse yet, many tend to give that data out willingly for the “convenience” of advertisements cluttering their web browsers or choking their mailboxes. Phishing, spyware, malicious sites, warrantless wiretaps, … you know the deal.

Who controls your data?

Who controls our data controls our lives.

But it doesn’t just stop there. That data is often resold to other sub-fecal types who would like nothing better than to further destroy your good name for their profits and “national security.” Identity theft… ’nuff said.

Then you get a whole new can of worms with Big Brother’s shenanigans; Your whole life cataloged in databases that never get erased even if you do. The FBI camped outside your door just because you made one visit to cyberpunkreview.com…

 

A call for action. Bruce Schneier sums up what people need to do in four words: TAKE BACK OUR DATA. He calls for data privacy laws to do the trick:

We need a comprehensive data privacy law. This law should protect all information about us, and not be limited merely to financial or health information. It should limit others’ ability to buy and sell our information without our knowledge and consent. It should allow us to see information about us held by others, and correct any inaccuracies we find. It should prevent the government from going after our information without judicial oversight. It should enforce data deletion, and limit data collection, where necessary. And we need more than token penalties for deliberate violations.

I would prefer to take my data back with an AK-47 with hollow-point depleted uranium ammo. But whatever way controlling our information is done, it ultimately has to start and end with YOU.

After all, you’re not a number in some megacorp database or a terrorist king Duh’bya should know about. Right?

This post has been filed under Essays by Mr. Roboto.

The Four Eras of Cyberpunk

August 17, 2007

The Four Whatsits of Cyberpunk? Sometimes, to understand history better, historians may divide a certain time period by key events or arbitrary dates. This allows them to study easier-to-manage chunks in detail that can then be connected together to show a bigger picture. This is helpful whenever studying time periods as long as an ice age or as brief as cyberpunk’s existence.

My personal knowledge and study of cyberpunk history has led me to make such divisions to create four eras of cyberpunk as described below. While some may say there may be only three eras, arguing that cyberpunk didn’t exist during the “Prototype Era,” I feel this period is relevant since certain key events occur here that do affect the formation of cyberpunk.

And now, to help further your education in cyberpunk, I present the four eras in chronological order:

 

Reel tape drive.
The Prototype Era (Pre 1980)

Key events: Words like computer, robot, cyborg, and punk are created; Computers like The Difference Engine and ENIAC are built, while Pascal, Boole, Babbage, & Turing make contributions; Isaac Asimov creates the Three Laws of Robotics; Alexander Graham Bell invents the Telephone; AT&T rises to become a monopoly; Late 60s counterculture; 70s Punk; Kraftwerk forms and changes music.

So much history to draw from, plenty of material to inspire the movement. But could cyberpunk exist without the invention of computers? Probably not, like it couldn’t exist without the 60s counter-cultural revolution or the 70s punk rage, or even the rise of AT&T to monopoly status. Yet nobody from this era could ever guess that computers, once technology made them small and affordable enough for home use, would come to dominate the future. As such, media of the time would touch on themes of humanity and societal control as seen in works like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, A Clockwork Orange, Fahrenheit 451, THX-1138, The Shockwave Rider, and Metropolis. These would become some of the influential forces that would shape the movement to come.

 

Whistler discovers Janek’s secret
The Movement Era, or The Golden Era (1980-1993)

Key events: Bruce Bethke creates the word “Cyberpunk”; Neuromancer is published, and a movement is born; IBM PC storms home market; Blade Runner in theaters; Hajime Sorayama gives us sexy robots, gynoids, and cyborgirls; Laser Tag; The Golden age of video games; AT&T broken up; AT&T crashes due to programming error; Misguided Secret Service launches “Operation:Sundevil”; The World Wide Web goes online for the public.

When Bruce Bethke invented the word “Cyberpunk” for a short story in 1980, he never expected it to be attached to a major movement; He just wanted to make a memorable title. As such, when the Washington Post used it to describe the group of science fiction writers like Gibson, the name sticks to and becomes synonymous with all that came attached to it… and Bruce is left wishing he had trademarked the word.

It seems that 1981 is a critically important year to the cyberpunk movement. During that year the IBM PC appears on the home computer market (and the market hasn’t been the same since), Kraftwerk releases the album “Computer World” aka “Computerwelt” in Germany, William Gibson’s short stories “The Gernsback Continuum” and “Johnny Mnemonic” are published, and most importantly, Gibson sends Ace Books an outline for a novel called “Jacked In,” which would later become Neuromancer.

With the success of the IBM PC and game consoles like the Atari 2600 VCS in the homes, computer technology would begin ramping up to give better graphics and faster systems to handle them. Could this tech explosion have been the result of cyberpunk sci-fi? Did fans of Neuromancer trigger the information age? Or was the computer revolution an inevitable outcome of technology’s progress? That chicken-or-egg question may never be fully answered, but cyberpunks only care that the technology was advancing and not being used to suppress, oppress, repress, or depress. Besides, they had some cool new toys to play with.

 

Time Magazine’s Feb. 8, 1993 Cover (Click to read article)
The Mainstream Era (1993-1999)

Key events: Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk CD; Time Magazine’s 2/8/93 cover article “Cyberpunk!”; Johnny Mnemonic, Lawnmower Man, Hackers, et al in theaters; Microsoft Windows becomes dominant OS; Web population explodes due to AOL.

Most people probably never heard of the word “cyberpunk” or what it represents, until Time Magazine’s cover article “Cyberpunk” in February 1993 or Billy Idol’s “Cyberpunk” CD in July 1993. That year, the term and the movement was no longer underground; It was now injected into the mainstream consciousness. And Hollywood was quick to take advantage. In 1995, some five cyberpunk movies were released, though most failed only to become favorites among cyberpunk fans. Also in 1995, The Cyberpunk Handbook is published giving the clueless and curious a look into what the movement was at the time.

During this time, something else was happening to the cyberpunk movement… it was slowly dying. Some blamed Billy Idol and Time Magazine, others blamed Hollywood and Johnny Mnemonic, and most blamed the mainstreaming of the movement for its downfall. Whatever the cause, it seemed that stagnation, and possibly confusion, was affecting what was once a vibrant movement. There was a dire need for something fresh… and in 1999, they got a much needed infusion.

 

homelandsecurity.jpg
The Post-Matrix Era, The New Millennium Era, or The Post-Cyberpunk Era (1999-Present)

Key events: The Matrix explodes in theaters; George Bush Jr. steals White House, and America is screwed; 9/11/2001 triggers Big Brother knee-jerk “Patriot Act”; AT&T slowly reassembles itself; AT&T plans for a “Tiered Internet” triggers Net Neutrality debate; NSA & AT&T are found in bed together; DRM is invented… and hacked; Web 2.0 becomes a buzzword; Google flexes its tentacles; Spam, botnets, and other threats to the net grow in power; Robots, nanotechnolgy, and cybernetic implants are closer than ever to reality.

When The Matrix hit the theaters, it gave the cyberpunk genre a new generation of jacked-in fans. During that same year, another phenomenon was occurring that showed how pervasive computers became in society. It was known as the Y2K bug, a problem in programming where only two digits were used to represent the year. Technicians and programmers worked feverishly to correct a potentially disastrous situation. It was feared that when the clock struck midnight on December 31, computers would mistakenly read the year as “1900″ instead of “2000,” triggering global chaos and destruction because of the confusion. It never happened, though there were reports of someone being charged a quarter-million dollars for a video rental due to the bug.

There is another phenomenon happening during this current era. Cyberpunk is no longer restricted to printed pages, it is now a part of real time life as megacorporations, hackers, rapidly advancing technology, and forces seeking total control over society are now daily news makers. Some say that all this is the result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as the resulting “Patriot Act” gave way to FBI and NSA spying programs and the revelation of room 641A in San Francisco, the NSAT&T wiretap hub. There’s also the growing power of megacorporations like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and AT&T (who recently showed that power during a Pearl Jam concert) in their ongoing quests for world domination, Internet control, and total information awareness.

On the positive side, there have been advances in cybernetics, biology, and nanotechnology that have resulted in better medical possibilities, prosthetics that more accurately mimic real limbs, cloning that can replicate new replacement organs, and human-machine interfaces that were only dreamed about during the writing of Neuromancer. If cyberpunk is dead as a media movement, it has a bright future as reality.

 

Individual Results May Vary: This isn’t by any means meant to be a definitive ruling on the history of cyberpunk. There will be some disagreement to some of the dates used, like whether the Movement Era should start somewhere between 1981 and 1984 to coincide with the publication of “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981), the release of the movie Blade Runner (1982), the actual publication of Bruce Bethke’s “Cyberpunk!” (1983), or the publication of Neuromancer (1984). Also, the exact year that cyberpunk went mainstream is questionable; Was it 1993 (for Time Magazine and Billy Idol) or 1995 (for Hollywood’s want to milk a potential cash cow)? A detailed history of cyberpunk can be found on our CyberpunkWiki here if you want to see the whole time line and the key events that made cyberpunk what it is today.

One thing is certain: With word of a Neuromancer movie due 2008-09, if the movie is released it will either signal the start of a new era or the end of the movement. Stay jacked in, the future is yet to come…

This post has been filed under Essays by Mr. Roboto.

AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Films: Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, are IN!!!

June 21, 2007

Blade Runner Screencap

 

In 1998, as part of its 100th anniversary, the American Film Institute presented a list of the top 100 American movies of all time based on factors such as box office success, film making innovations, and cultural impact. Films like Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz made it with Citizen Kane as #1, while Blade Runner was left out. Now, on the tenth anniversary of that list, the AFI counted them down again on CBS. This time around, Blade Runner was joined by 1999’s cyberpunk-action-blockbuster The Matrix as eligible candidates for the big list. With The Matrix Trilogy out on HD-DVD and Blade Runner – Final Cut later this year, fans would love to see both movies on this list, though judging by my informal poll, more would want to see Blade Runner make it. You asked for it, you got it!

BLADE RUNNER – # 97

The venerable cyberpunk classic made it! It barely made it, but it’s on the list! I know many would have preferred to see it higher, like top ten, but just getting on the list is a major accomplishment in itself, as now it can stand along side movies like Star Wars and Citizen Kane as a great American film. If you were watching, you would have heard Harrison Ford (Deckard) call it “urban science fiction” and even seen a commercial for the Final Cut edition. Replicants and sympathizers, rejoice!

 

korova.jpg
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – # 70

The Stanley Kubric classic makes a return to AFI’s big list. This masterpiece of pre-cyberpunk cinema has been warping minds since its release in 1971 when it nearly got an X-rating for its content. If you have the DVD, you have the full X-rated version of the gem.

While A Clockwork Orange still being on the list will come as good news, there is some bad news for the classic: It has fallen from #46 since the first listing, beaten out by films like The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

 

What? No Matrix??: The impact of these films on cyberpunk cannot be denied and deserve a place on the list; Blade Runner giving cyberpunk its look and feel and its transhuman themes, while The Matrix gave mostly technical innovations like “bullet time” that will be copied for years to come, but it also offered cyber-religious themes as pointed out in SFAM’s essay on The Matrix Trilogy: A Man-Machine Interface Perspective. I was certain that The Matrix would have made the list, but it seems the “experts” didn’t feel that it was good enough.

Some might question why films like The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Ghost In The Shell, and Sneakers haven’t made the list. The AFI represents American film makers, so GITS is not considered (it’s Japanese); Sneakers, while a good film, hasn’t had much impact on culture so much as reflecting hacker culture at the time; The Terminator movies, probably because the AFI doesn’t consider action movies “artistic” enough for such a list of legends. :P

 

Future AFI Lists and Cyberpunk Films: Certainly, there will some controversy over the results; Why The Matrix didn’t make it and why Blade Runner came in so low. In ten years AFI will do the list again, and maybe the cyberpunk films will get the recognition they deserve… and could possibly include Neuromancer as well. Hopefully, there will be enough recognition of cyberpunk films by the “experts” to give the genre its due.

This post has been filed under Essays by Mr. Roboto.