Essay: Science Fiction Films on September

Pages: 7 (2269 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] As for the machines, they have been designed to "free mankind from menial and hazardous tasks, yet their existence implies the threat on non-human control."[footnoteRef:13] For this reason they are not allowed to live on earth at all but only in the space colonies, where they are used for a wide variety of purposes, from fighting machines to sex slaves. [13: Susan Doll and Greg Faller, "Blade Runner and Genre: Film Noir and Science Fiction" (Literature/Film Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1986), p. 94.]

As film noir, with its dark, claustrophobic streets, shadowy men in trench coats, and corruption and violence at every level, the entire atmosphere in Blade Runner generates paranoia and anxiety. Deckard seems to be a seedy, film noir policemen/detective character with an "emotionless, bitter, and disillusioned existence."[footnoteRef:14] He has been ordered by the people running the system to 'retire' the renegade androids and only gradually learns to feel empathy for their situation. Yet the narrative and substance of the movie is also very much part of the science fiction genre, with the replicants hoping that their creator Tyrell can give them longer lifespans than four years. When he cannot do so, Roy Batty, the replicant leader, kills him. Humans fear and hate the machines they created because of their "increasing penchant for developing human emotions and desires," especially Rachael, who did not know she was an android until Deckard tested her and is able to feel love and empathy.[footnoteRef:15] [14: Doll and Faller, p. 90.] [15: Doll and Faller, p. 89.]

On the one hand, the humans in the story wish to believe that the replicants are inferior, lacking souls, memories and identities, seemingly confirmed by the fact that they massacred the passengers and crew of a space shuttle to get to earth. In this sense, they could be dismissed as out of control Frankenstein monsters that must be eliminated for the good of the world. Yet at the end, Batty saves Deckard's life instead of letting him fall to his death, even though his own internal clock has almost run out. Rachael kills one of the replicants who was about to shoot Deckard, and in the end turns out to be his "moral salvation and escape from the urban setting into the beautiful countryside."[footnoteRef:16] Far from being a film noir 'dame' who manipulates and sometimes destroys the detective hero, she actually helps Deckard find his humanity again, while Batty's death is almost Christ-like. [16: Doll and Faller, p. 92.]

Deckard in the end is probably a more interesting and complex hero than Neo, at least within the conventions of Hollywood drama that require individual heroes and positive resolutions. He learns how to be human again from machines that he was ordered to destroy, and also comes to recognize their fundamental humanity. Although he cannot overthrow the system, he can at least escape from it and also save Rachael from the other hunters. In this film, the humans had ended up designing androids who turned out not only to be their equals but their superiors, and a film that started out full of technophobia and paranoia ends with man learning to love the machine. This could never be the case in The Matrix, however, since the machine has already become the master no matter that it regards itself as a benevolent slave owner. Its chief opponent, Neo, has superhuman powers worthy of a comic book hero, unlike Deckard who would have been killed had his replicant opponent chosen to do so. For the real humans in the movie, they have no choice except to defeat the system or they will be exterminated. At the same time, their mission is also to free as many humans as possible, since they are not even aware of the real world at all. As a concept of a future environment gone terribly wrong for humanity, The Matrix inspires more anxiety and paranoia in the audience by far than Blade Runner, and the machines in that alternative world turn out to be far worthier of empathy than Agent Smith and his cohorts.

BIBLOGRAPHY

Doll, Susan and Greg Faller, "Blade Runner and Genre: Film Noir and Science Fiction." Literature/Film Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1986, pp. 89-100.

Kakoudaki, Despina. "Spectacles of History: Race Relations, Melodrama, and the Science Fiction/Disaster Film." Camera Obscura, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2002, pp. 109-53.

Lavery, David. "From Cinespace in Cyberspace: Zionists and Agents, Realists and Gamers in The Matrix and eXistenZ. Journal of Popular Film and Television, Vol. 29, No. 4, Winter 200, pp. 150-57.

Miller, Edward D.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Science Fiction Films on September.  (2011, October 29).  Retrieved June 27, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/science-fiction-films-september/2711471

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"Science Fiction Films on September."  Essaytown.com.  October 29, 2011.  Accessed June 27, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/science-fiction-films-september/2711471.