Jun 5, 2009

Visions of the Future


Sometimes I need to let my inner nerd out for a romp. Recently I have been musing - in my head - about science fiction movie archetypes - visual and thematic. So I wrote it down. It's a little messy, but that's ok. Here it goes...

Cowboys and Indians, Starfleet and Romulans, Light and Dark, Logic and Emotion, Man and Nature

There are two distinct and contrasting visual styles of the future; one bright, technological, modern, optimistic, another dark, decaying, organic, ominous. Simply put: Bright and shiny vs dark and grimy. Blade Runner and Star Trek are probably the most iconic examples of each. Another, more crucial distinction between the two is where they take place: One in densely populated city, another in the vast frontiers of space. Frontier stories more likely to feature a group of heroes facing off with fearsome foes, while the in the city it is all about the lone hero searching for answers.


Ridley Scott's 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner stands as one of the cornerstones of modern science fiction movies. It has defined a visual and narrative style that has became a major part of the science fiction cinema language. However Blade Runner did not invent this language, but translated it directly from the Film Noir style of the the 40's and 50's. These films were shot in moody black and white, full of grit, grime, and moral ambiguity. These films themselves were influenced by the hardboiled detective novels of their time, works of Dashiell Hammet, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler. Not only the most iconic ones were directly based on their novels, like The Postman Always Rings Twice (Cain), The Big Sleep (Chandler), but Chandler also worked as scrip writer for many of these now classic movies (Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train).

One very intriguing aspect of these films is that while most of them take place in perpetually sunny California, their visual style is defined by their darkness - most of the action happens in dark alleys, dive bars, seedy motel rooms. As if they were nature documentaries of the ground level of a thick urban jungle where the sunlight doesn't penetrate any more, and the denizens mostly come out at night.

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness." (Raymond Chandler)

Double Indemnity and Blade Runner

The heroes of these stories are usually private eyes, who have problems with authority, they walk more or less on the right side of law, but have an antagonistic, distrustful relationship with the cops. Decard in Blade Runner is full embodiment of this character. He is as likely to be squaring off with a dubious dame as licking his wounds with a glass of scotch in hand as Philip Marlow is. He walks the streets of a Los Angeles that is wrapped in a perpetual night. Maybe the smog has gotten so bad that the sunlight can't penetrate it any more. It's also always raining, and even indoors there is water drizzling from above. This inexplicable wetness has come to represent danger in science fiction movies - a dark cave of our subconscious, with unimaginable horrors lurking in its moist recesses. A perfect example of it is the scene from Alien when we first encounter the fully grown creature: It's a large dark room, with chains hanging from the ceiling, and water dripping everywhere. What is all that excess moisture doing dripping inside a space ship is anyone's guess.

Wet interior from Blade Runner

The wet ship from the alien's point of view

The hero of the Noir style does not necessary have to be an actual detective, it's the element of mystery, a search for answers what's relevant. Dark City is a good example.

The private dick is close relation to the lone gunman of the westerns - another genre that scifi has heavily borrowed from. The most enduring theme that scifi appropriated from westerns is the idea of entering dangerous uncharted territories, "To boldly go where no man has gone before." Many scifi films and shows are westerns in space. Joss Whedon very consciously referenced this theme in his sadly short lived tv series Firefly, and the following movie Serenity. Beyond classic westerns, Whedon's creations have roots in the less idealized, more sweat and dust covered, morally ambiguous world of spaghetti westerns. A not so deliberate, and far more optimistically Utopian iteration of the space western was the original Star Trek and its many follow-ups. Its heroes are the law, their ship is clean, brightly lit, full of crisp uniforms. It's also uplifting, optimistic, a world where law and order prevails. Firefly and Star Trek not only have different visual styles, but represent contrary point of views of basically the same societal structures. Both worlds are tightly controlled alliance/federation of planets, outwardly represented by a strong military, but in one the heroes are the military, in the other they are the outlaws, barely getting by at the edge of known space.


Space Cowboys of Firefly and the original Star Trek tv series

If Captain Kirk and crew are John Wayne and the cavalry marching into the wild vastness of space, Captain Malcolm Reynolds and crew are the cowboys and misfits. The "Indians," i.e. the "other" that they both have to fight and beat are however very similar. In Serenity it is the "reavers," a band of humans driven to extreme madness by a chemical compound. In the immensely enjoyable 2009 Star Trek movie it is a rogue band of Romulans, driven mad by grief and anger. Both are propelled by raw emotion, can't be reasoned with, inaccessible to logic, and bent on destruction. Simply put they are pure manifestations of the Id. The creature from Alien and Aliens can be put in the same category. While we don't really know much of its "emotions," its single-minded drive to breed and kill make it the same type of primal force.

The primal foes and their environments share the same visual language. It's all dark, jagged, wet, sinisterly organic. Not surprisingly, the Romulan ship, the Narada and the reaver armada all resemble deep sea monsters. The dark deepness of space and the ocean are very similar; they both fascinate and frighten at the same time. "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence." (Leonard 'Bones' McCoy).

Narada on the left, reaver ship on the right and an angler fish in the middle.

Star Trek XI contains within it both the bright and the dark visual styles, but they are firmly devided between the two opposing forces of the narrative. In sharp contrast to the brightly lit, ordered corridors of the Enterprise, the Narada's interiors are dark, tangled. In one scene we can see pipes sneaking on the floor, in several baffling inches of water. The Enterprise is shiny plastic and chrome, with a crew in dressed in bright primary colors. The Narada is jaggy, corroding metal, subdued dark greenish grays and browns, it's tattooed crew dressed in worn leather. Similar tones, but even more organic are many interiors where the creatures of the Alien franchise dwell. By nature they take over spaces that are not their own, yet dark and cavernous, obscuring their angular shapes with their own creations. Water here is replaced with sticky goo.

The Narada

The Enterprise

Like Native Americans did in classic westerns, Romulans, acid-blooded aliens, even reavers, come to represent the primal force that you can fight or run from, but can't reason with. Ultimately, they are mother nature in many disguises. Our plucky heroes triumph over their much stronger foe, using cunning and bravado - brains and balls against brute force. And that's what conquering frontiers is all about. Despite of their ideological differences Serenity and Star Trek have this in common. Not Blade Runner however; Deckard hunts down and kills all the replicants, but there is no triumph. Perhaps because he is not on the frontier, but in the city jungle where there are no good guys and bad guys, just different rungs on the food chain.

The lines between the hunter and hunted blur

72 comments:

Margaret said...

Very thoughtful and astute post. Being a desperate-to-believe-the-glass-is-still-half-full sort of gal, I like the sunnier sci fi, like Star Trek, which I thought was a really fun summer movie.

altadenahiker said...

the Simple Art of Murder -- great essay. Of the Chandler movies, I think Farewell My Lovely (Mitchum) is my favorite. I think you can throw some westerns into the hero vs hostile environment mix. Once Upon A Time in the West, a complex, almost kitchen-sink examination of just-because gallantry; valour on a darkling plain.

Vanda said...

I enjoyed the heck out of the Star Trek movie. When the whole world is going down the drain in hand basket around you, you need bright and fun films lift your spirits, especially when they are well done. I was quite blown away, I had no expectations, but did not think it was possible to revive the old franchise.

Karin, you are right. The lone western hero is the grandfather of the big city gumshoe. They both live by the same code.

pasadenaadjacent said...

Vanda the academic. I like it. You've transported me back to grad school and now I'm ready to engage the topic.
With that in mind, I'd like to add Robert Altman to the list. Some excellent dark moments with the lights on. I wonder if gypsies and travelers fit into this picture? Just a thought. Oh, and what about James Ellroy. How about the short lived art California art movement Dynamism!

I've never watch Alien, Star Trek or Star Wars but I have read Joseph Camble and own the uncut version of Blade Runner.

Vanda said...

Hehehe, I always liked writing papers for my English lit and film studies classes.

I think gypsies fit into the misfits category.

I listened to James Ellroy's autobiography when I drove from Indiana to California 11 years ago. He is quite a freak.

pasadenaadjacent said...

He is a freak which makes him interesting. The whole connection to his mom's murder in El Monte as the basis of his perversions. Interesting. My in laws were a part of the El Monte Sicilian Italian thing. His mother's murderer was described as "swarthy man". Could of been my uncle Joe.

Jennifer said...

I've thought about this before as well, but was incapable of putting it into eloquent words that those outside of the confined spaces of my mind would understand. I say: kudos!

I still enjoy these contrasts and considering I have never found any interest in Star Trek but still enjoyed its most recent theatre release gives them some standing with me.

Eric said...

Great read, and congrats on Blogs of Note today (I found you through there).

Dean C said...

I love science fiction to. And I really want to watch that new Star Trek movie, but, I might have to wait until it comes out on dvd.

Señorita Andalucíana said...

Wow this is a rather in-depth analysis of this genre. Kudos to you for being able to see and communicate these concepts so clearly! Really liked the essay.

Dear LA Concierge said...

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Viewliner Ltd. said...

Hi Vanda, Congratulations on being chosen a "Blog Of Note", Richard.

Isaac Yassar said...

The pictures are great! I like them, especially the face on the building.

Vanda said...

Blogs of note wha...?

Dean, don't wait, watch it now. Then watch it again on DVD. ;)

And Hi everyone!

-K- said...

I'm not a science fiction fan (fell asleep watching, I think, the first Star Wars) but I think the Robert Altman version of "The Long Goodbye" is a bridge from old Chandler LA into the darker, creepier LA that is perhaps heading into Blade Runner territory.

But then again, I've never seen "Blade Runner" either.

Lyn Hernandez said...

You are one very interesting individual. I love Pickled Beets and Anthony Bourdain. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Vanda said...

Thanks Lyn.

-K- you must see Blade Runner. I think you would like it. I know the Robert Altman movie you speak of. It's one of my favorite Chandler updates. There were a couple of others too, one with Paul Newman - The Drowning Pool it was called I think.

Jennifer said...

Hey, thanks for the comment. Seems we see eye-to-eye on a few things. :)

curious_girl said...

cool pics there. haven't seen the movie yet though.. seems i always don't have the time. Movies just keep passing me by. Solution-DVDs.

If you have time, please For tips and tricks check out my blog .

Vanda said...

Hi Vanda,

Congrats on getting on the Blogs of Note :O) I don't usually comment on them but just had to to say hello because my names Vanda too and we seem to be very few & far between.

PS. I LOVED the new Star Trek film it was fab.

Montag said...

Wonderful article!
The water in Alien drips from the ore storage compartments under which Harry Dean Stanton is standing - the Nostromo was a mining vessel, if I remember correct.
Where the water came from on that planetoid they had mined is the big question - for us, not for them, apparently.

Raymond Chandler stood at the doorway to our age...it's all Red Wind, man!

CrazyCris said...

Wow, peeked in via Blogs of Note (congratulations by the way!) and was stopped in my tracks by this post!

It's always great to read intelligent, thoughtful analyses on sci-fi, a genre that has sadly frequently lost much of the "intelligence" it was once known for in favour of special effects and wild sensations (not that those aren't enjoyable, I just prefer my sci-fi to be trying to tell me something at the same time!).

Being an optimist I've always preferred Star Trek's vision of the future, but I'll admit to having been enthralled by tales of dystopian futures since they usually have more interesting characters! Not so much the black and white issues but the shades of grey that are so realistically a part of human nature.

Hmmm, I saw the "latest" version of Bladerunner recently, but you've got me wanting to re-visit Alien now! ;o)

cheers!

JP said...

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esse blog é um maximo!!

promethiuse said...

This post made me read cause i loved startrek and its whole franchise was given such beautiful life! super dun movie! i actually watched in four times on cinema! never did that before! nice post and nice blog!
:D

Chris David Richards said...

Very enjoyable post, but then anything that mentions Firefly instantly impresses me. Great stuff.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

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Margaret said...

Hey! You are a Blog of Note! Congratulations!

James said...

I just love sci-fi movies and that was a really fun read.

Jean Spitzer said...

I love sci-fi and mysteries; own the uncut Bladerunner and have seen the most recent iteration of Star Trek. Love your synthesis; very thought-provoking.

Vanda said...

Hi Vanda. (This feels a little weird :P)

Montag, wet ore? Well, I'm willing to give logic a break in favor dramatic effect.

CrazyCris, I'm with you, hard to find quality scifi, though BSG has made me very happy. I liked in this Star Treak movie that the special effect were functional. When they Kelvin was under attack my thought was not "cool special effects," but "that ship is toast."

Promethiuse, we are in agreement.

Thanks for all the responses, I'm a little overwhelmed. :)

CrazyCris said...

Don't get me started on BSG! I could go on and on and on for hours! :P

I'm counting down until The Plan is out and then Caprica starts things up again! :o)

Angels March said...

What an insightful post. I have been a sci-fi fan all my life and I know all those movies by heart.

Iva said...

Congratulations on being blog of note!

DILLY said...

MWEAH!
Star Trek!
Dilly like Star Trek!
(Worf be best!)

¬"

Robin said...

Oh my goodness, you have taken every fragment of a phrase, idea, and concept that I've had about sci fi movies and assembled it beautifully in this post. Thank you :)

I have noticed also the same imagery in futuristic/sci fi movies. When I think of dark vs. light I think back to the original screen Westerns where the good guy wore a white hat and the bad guy a dark hat. Star Wars took that theme as well, dressing Darth Vader in black and Luke in white.

Anonymous said...

very well written

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Vanda said...

Robin, yes! Black hats and white hats!

the dogs said...

hy... like your post,, i wait your next article...hehehe

M.J.Y said...

cool blog.
Your 'inner nerd' -as you put it (i'd prefer Geek Chic as referred to in CHUCK & THE BIG BANG THEORY) maybe interested in my blog on SUPERHEROES (doweneedanotherhero.blogspot.com) - i also cover other topics, feel free to pop by!

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happy to read said...

Great write, Vanda. A+++

Christine A. Mayo said...

Congrats on blog of note, I can see why, beautiful pictures and content!

SoulPrincess. said...

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Petrea said...

Quite an analysis, my friend. I like them all, dark and light. I'd never thought of the wet cave thing, but it's true. Can't believe there are two Vandas, but the more the merrier. Congrats on Blog of Note! You are most deserving.

Michelle said...

I stumbled across this entry and found it to be EXTREMELY fun to read! Thanks!

Carla Wine said...

your pictures are so beautiful!

Kulguy said...

i tend to agree with both kinds of sci-fi. as you stated, they are both different interpretations that need some serious looking into. i particularly enjoyed Firefly too...its sad that it lasted so little...

Kathleen said...

"Fascinating"

The whole water thing drives me crazy. Especially on the Narada. I just didn't get it. So I appreciate you pulling together all the stings from many of my favorite sci fi flicks and tv series.

Great blog!

Cody B. said...

Wonderful post. I love Firefly and the whole space cowboy sub-genre. As a hardcore Star Wars fan, I have not yet partaken of the new Star Trek movie. I'm afraid of liking it.I write that last sentence with a laugh on my lips... It's wonderful to let the inner nerd out for a romp, that's all I ever write about!

Bama said...

contrast and comparisions are amazing. you really hit the nail on the head. you should let out your inner nerd more often

http://flowforthought.blogspot.com

Sara said...

I really like this post. I am not a big Star Trek fan, but my dad sure is! Please check out my blog!

-Sara
the-poet-girl.blogspot.com

Jen said...

Great post! Now that you have pointed it out, there is an obvious 2-sided view on the future. Not sure how I ever missed that. Congrats on the "blog of note".

Vanda said...

Thanks everyone for dropping by. Please don't expect many more essays of the same sort. It was more of a high point than a standard. We are now going back to our regular schedule of ordinary fare. :)

Fred said...

Excellent essay. I really enjoyed reading it and hope to see more like it in the future.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Very nice. I enjoyed that piece. You touched on the Western element as an influence and I was definitely reminded of the apocalyptic. The apocalyptic future of a world depicted well in such films as Mad Max, Jericho or The Post Man just to name a few. Mad Max is certainly the one one to experience.

Vanda said...

In my opinion (post)apocalyptic films deserve their own category, instead of just being lumped in with science fiction. Is it enough just to just place the plot into a specified or unspecified future to qualify them as science fiction? Are Delicatessen or Children of Men really science fiction? How about the movies whose future date we have already passed? Do they get to be downgraded to "fiction"?

Fred said...

That's the problem with categories. They do serve a useful purpose as sort of a shorthand descriptor which gives information about the object in the category. But categories have fluid boundaries, and things shift from one to another, depending upon one's perspective.

As for stories whose "date" has already passed, perhaps putting them in an alternative history category would solve that problem.

Postholocaust or postapocalyptic stories have always been one of my favorite types, and I wouldn't know where else to put them, given the genres present today.

Some critics, commentators, editors, writers, and fans have argued for a Speculative Fiction category which would replace today's SF/F.

What would you think of that suggestion?

Dialog Blog said...

A few thoughts...


Blade Runner plot is propelled by the idea of intense overpopulation. This is the basis behind the off world colonies and the need for androids to, I guess build housing in the environments of Mars or the Moon. This idea is an extrapolation of the current situation in Los Angeles and maybe NY, in that they are very dense populations living in a tiny area, which leads to smog, pollution, crime, etc. The reason behind this is only the rich and powerful can move off colony, likewise, only the rich in LA can afford to live father away, say Malibu.

This leads well to the Film Noir ambience of the film, because such a situation will lead to crime. It is ironic in Blade Runner that the crime is perpetuated by the Androids themselves who are supposed to be part of the solution of overpopulation.


Star Trek is shiny and brighter because it takes place a few hundred years in the future after Blade Runner, presumably humans have worked things out. Overpopulation I would imagine is under control, and money and currency is not used in Star Trek. Androids in Star Trek are also a bit less ambitious and more eager to follow orders (Data), which further enforces a Humanist ideology. So all of this wouldn't make sense in a dark environment.


Metropolis was also a big influence on the look and feel of Blade Runner.

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simoncolumb said...

Utopian and Dystopian - are they not the two comparisons you discuss? Utopia - the perfect society, Dystopia - the dark and grungy undesirable society. It would be interesting to know your views on The Matrix and how it presents both a stable - could you argue - Utopia (the matrix world) created by machines, opposed to the 'reality' of the Dystopia that people live in 'down where the earth is still warm' in Zion...

Vanda said...

Fred, you are right, categories just serve to give us general idea. Speculative Fiction term would work by making the classification wider and more vague. I already have problem with SF and fantasy being lumped together. Isaac Asimov next to something about dragons and wizards. I have no solution however.

Dialog, I don't see it that way. These are not documentaries, but fiction. If you want to tell a certain type of story, you put it into the environment where it fits. The story dictates the backdrop. What fictional date is assigned to it is unimportant.

Simon, most certainly, Utopian vs Dystopian is a very valid discourse discussing scif, though that was not my path here. There is so much that can be - and have been - said about the genre.

I've been steering away from Matrix because I severely dislike it. I have found it silly and pretentious.

Dialog Blog said...

For Vanda


Dialog, I don't see it that way. These are not documentaries, but fiction.

(I agree to a certain extent. Blade Runner isn't Transformers which produced solely for entertainment or profit. I think a function of documentaries is to reveal what's going on in the world and where we are headed. And they make no money most of the time. Blade Runner did those two things. Still, not really a doc, but .....)





If you want to tell a certain type of story, you put it into the environment where it fits. (I agree) The story dictates the backdrop. (Sure)


What fictional date is assigned to it is unimportant. (I don' think you can separate the date from the environment, especially in Blade Runner since we are dealing with a story that involves IA. Blade Runner wouldn't work in ancient Greece.)

Vanda said...

The story of Blade Runner - with a few cosmetic adjustments - would work just the same in the contemporary slums of Rio de Janeiro, 1930's Chicago, in New York City in 2095, or in an unnamed city on the planet Pluto in the year of 3025. If you watch Rome on HBO you see see an overpopulated ancient city teeming with criminals, slaves, moral ambiguity.

Dialog Blog said...

Vanda


I don't think that without the IA element, Blade Runner would still be Blade Runner. IA is only possible in the future, not ROme. There are no Replicants in Rome. The crux of Blade Runner is what does it mean to be human. Thats why the Replicants are tripping when they get implanted with false memories, they ACT like humans. So what is it to be human? I'm sorry, but you can't tell Blade Runner in an environment that predates the possibility of thinking machines. 2001 is another example, you can't tell that story without HAL. It wont' work in Rome.


Plus, its most likely that Deckard himself is a replicant because James Olmos left him that unicorn at the end, which occurs in Deckard's dreams. You can't do pull that trick in a pre 20th century setting.


I do agree that Blade Runner could take place anywhere on Earth, but only during after a specific century.

Vanda said...

I believe the issue is that you are taking things too literally and too narrowly.

Let me circle back. Saying that "Blade Runner plot is propelled by the idea of intense overpopulation" is like saying Maltese Falcon's plot is propelled by the idea of intense overpopulation." That's putting the cart in front of the horse.

What I was exploring how the genre archetype of the lone detective searching for answers in a morally murky urban jungle is one that stretches from hard boiled detective novels to film noir and science fiction. Tiny details of the specifics of one film have no relevance in this respect. Just as Star Trek's brightness has nothing to do with its stardate, but its ideological and narrative foundation.

The essentials of a narrative are much broader than their details. Bridget Jones Diary is Pride and Prejudice, Clueless is Emma, despite of the huge gulf of sexual mores, customs, gender relations, and pretty much everything between their respective times.

The fundamental narrative structure of Blade Runner and its philosophical underpinnings are universal. What makes one human is a topic philosophers have debated since there have been philosophers, long before the idea of androids were conceived. Not to mention that synthetic humans have existed in tales and myths for ages. Blade Runner has a delectable subtext connecting photographs - (personal) narrative - memory - soul. All those details and combinations that make Blade Runner unique do not obliterate all that is universal about it.

shoelass said...

The future is and always will be a fascinating and terrifying concept to all kinds of artists, and can be used appropriately to fascinate and terrify.
George Orwell's 1984 was a hard-hitting attack at the trend Communism was taking under Stalin in the aftermath of the Second World War, and was meant to be bleak. There was no mention of
Star Trek and Star Wars appeal to a wider audience. They talk of glory and virtue and aliens and stuff that people like. But there are no political repercussions. The world (universe/galaxy - insert relevant term here) is in peril, is saved. The only view you have of the citizens of the future is a mob screaming and running wildly in amazingly synchronised terror.
And Back to the Future-type science fiction is just fun. It makes you reflective of topics such as the paradoxes of time travel, and its potential to allow you to create a sexual relationship with your own mother.
Science fiction is a very clever tool, but it is always very narrow minded, and generally only reflective of one point of view. And it always suffices the artists intention.

Dialog Blog said...

Vanda-

Yes I am taking things literally, or focusing on Blade Runner since that's what the post was about to which we all originally responding to. If the original post were about some broader issue about what it means to be human I wouldn't be to tethered to Blade Runner. But of course, I agree that the issue can be explored and has been an infinite number of ways. But Blade Runner can't be told without the IA element, and that cannot be done in a 20th century setting. But let's forget that the original post we all responding too is Blade Runner, yes, course we can talk about what it means to be human in any other variety of settings, envrionments, time periods, etc etc. That itself is very human!

Dialog Blog said...

Vanda



I believe the issue is that you are taking things too literally and too narrowly. (I'm just focusing on a specific issue, and treating this as I would an essay or a debate. I'm not interested in a rant or some broad conversation because then there's no focal point.)




Let me circle back. Saying that "Blade Runner plot is propelled by the idea of intense overpopulation" is like saying Maltese Falcon's plot is propelled by the idea of intense overpopulation." That's putting the cart in front of the horse.

(I disagree. There are many scene in Blade Runner where advertisments for "going off world" To mars and wherever, and the scenes that take place in the city markets show a dense population. The movie itself begins with huge factories blowing tons of pollution. Living near LA, that's how it is, its very polluted and densely populated, now, and Blade Runner is saying that its just gonna get worse. The solution is to move off world, and to facilitate that you need andy's that can build in harsh environments. So without the over population problem, there is no commercial reason to produce andy's and make them so they won't rebel and harm humans (thus the new NExus models with memory implants) I don't see how the over population is not some catalyst for the story. NOw I agree that the over population issue is not a catalyst for the "what is human question")

What I was exploring how the genre archetype of the lone detective searching for answers in a morally murky urban jungle is one that stretches from hard boiled detective novels to film noir and science fiction. Tiny details of the specifics of one film have no relevance in this respect. Just as Star Trek's brightness has nothing to do with its stardate, but its ideological and narrative foundation.

(I agree, though I would say Blade Runner is a lot more than the Film Noir detective thing.)

The essentials of a narrative are much broader than their details. Bridget Jones Diary is Pride and Prejudice, Clueless is Emma, despite of the huge gulf of sexual mores, customs, gender relations, and pretty much everything of the respective eras they take place in.( Yeap!)

The fundamental narrative structure of Blade Runner and its philosophical underpinnings are universal. What makes one human is a topic philosophers have debated since there have been philosophers, long before the idea of androids were conceived. Not to mention that synthetic humans have existed in tales and myths for ages. Blade Runner has a delectable subtext connecting photographs - (personal) narrative - memory - soul. All those details and combinations that make Blade Runner unique do not obliterate all that is universal about it. (I totally agree!!!!)

Ameme said...

Nice to see folks out there making intelligent posts about sci-fi.

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Maya Couzins said...

I love your photos. Blade Runner was one of my favorites followed by Alien. Science fiction is a nice bit of escapism, I just wish there were more movies made in the genre. Great blog, I will be back.