Dicks’ Androids and Scotts’ Replicants
Philip K. Dick has written over fifty novels, and is considered among some of the greatest experimental writers of the 1950s and 60s, such as; William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Thomas Pynchon.(Star 34) He has written science-fiction and regular fiction. His fiction usually spoke of people trying to figure out who they are, or what they are supposed to be. He is best known, however, for his work in science-fiction, and this represents the majority of his work. He has, also, won awards for two of his science-fiction novels. He won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (Brians 1).An opera has been based on one of P.K.D. later novels, Valis (Brians 1). One of his short stories, We Can Build It For You, was made into a movie recently. The movie was Screamers, starring Peter Weller. He has also had two of his novels, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (Total Recall), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner), made into movies. Of the two, Blade Runner (B.R.) has had the greatest impact. B.R., however, differs greatly from Dicks’ original novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (D.A.D.O.E.S.)
Blade Runner was released in 1982 under the direction of Ridley Scott, who also made another sci-fi classic, Alien.
The film begins in the city of Los Angeles. The year is 2019. The city of Los Angeles is overpopulated, teeming with all sorts of humans. Japanese ADs are all over the place.The Japanese input was strictly the director, Ridley Scot’s. Scott saw the future world being controlled by the Japanese. Philip K. Dick did not mention this. The planet is recovering from World War III, although I’m not sure they actually say this. In the book, the war is clearly stated and was called World War Terminus. The effects of the radiation has mutated some people. Only the ones who had not been disfigured or altered genetically by radiation from the nuclear bombs could emigrate, (leave the planet earth). Some, who were perfectly healthy chose to stay, however.They stayed because they were stubborn and wanted to die on the planet they were born on. The chickenheads had to stay, it was law.Chickenheads is Dicks term for the disfigured or the genetically altered. They are also referred to as specials. There are no chickenheads in the movie. None of this is made clear in the movie, but this is what is explained in the novel.
The ones who do emigrate to other planets receive one free worker to help them with their settling of a new home. The worker is not human. It is an android. In the movie they are called replicants or skin-jobs. These are the newest versions of androids, which were created by the Rosen Association. They are Nexus-6.Nexus-6 mimic humans in every way, except in one thing, they have no empathy.
Empathy is the ability to feel for another. For example, if you cared for a puppy that was beaten, skinned, and then left to die, that care would be empathy. Androids don’t have this trait. They would watch the puppies’ skin be removed without a blink in their eyes. They can pretend to feel, but they’d have to know first there was something disturbing about the skinning of a puppy.The nonexistent empathy of replicants is never discussed in the movie, but it is pretty obvious in the way they kill or try to kill. This lack of empathy scared many humans on earth, so a law was passed that didn’t allow androids on the planet.
In the novel, this is where the bounty hunters come in. Their job is to retire (kill) the androids, who have somehow escaped to earth or just were never weeded out from the other humans.
You might be wondering why I said bounty hunter instead of blade runner? Well, the term blade runner is never used in the novel. Apparently, Ridley Scott wanted a specific name for the people who hunted down the androids. He didn’t want to just call them bounty hunters.Scott was told of a William Burroughs book named Blade Runner: The Movie. The book was never a movie. Burroughs just had that in the title. Scott liked the way blade runner sounded, so he bought the rights of the Burroughs novel (Blackwood). That is how he came up with the title and a name for the hunters of the replicants.
The way a blade runner can know if an android is a human or not is through the Voight-Kampff test. This is shown in the movie, although not used as much as in the novel. The test consists of the tester setting up several scenarios and seeing the testes’s responses. The responses are measured through dilation in the eyes and the blushing of cheeks. The blushing is recorded by a device that is placed on your face and the dilation of the eye; by a laser that shines in your eye. An example of something that Deckard or whoever was administering the test would say was: “You are watching an old movie on TV, a movie from before the war. It shows a banquet in progress; the guests are enjoying raw oysters.”
“Ugh,” Rachel said; the needles swung swiftly.
“The entree,” he continued, “consists of boiled dog, stuffed with rice.” The needles moved less this time, less than they had for the raw oysters. “Are raw oysters more acceptable to you than a dish of boiled dog? Evidently not.”(Dick 45) A human would react more to the dog than raw oysters. This showed that this particular subject, Rachael Rosen, was an android. It wouldn’t just be one question though, it would be many. All would be something along these lines, though. After, he found out for sure; the android, ( or in the movie: replicant), would be retired. The Voight-kampff test is only shown at the beginning of the movie when Dave Holden is administering the test to Polokov, a replicant.
The main character of the novel and movie is Rick Deckard .Deckard is played by Harrison Ford. He is a blade runner (bounty hunter) that has come out of retirement. Rick is hired to track down four androids: Roy Baty, Pris, Luba, and Polokov. The original number of replicants had been five, but one of his colleagues, Dave Holden, had already retired one. The name of the retired replicant is never mentioned.The original five had killed their human masters on another planet, stolen a ship, and illegally come to earth. In D.A.D.O.E.S., the original number of androids is eight and Holden retires two, leaving six for Deckard.Holden was only able to kill one; because he is paralyzed by Polokov, while administering the Voigt-Kampff test. This, also, is what happens in the novel: Polokov shoots a laser through Holdens’ back.So, Deckards’ search begins, and the hunt for the replicants’ (androids) is on.
The remaining part of the film, is Deckard tracking down and killing the renegade replicants.
When first released, B.R. was not a commercial success.(Star 39) Some audiences members loved it, but others didn’t think it was so great. The box office showed the latter: not very good. The film made little money. But, one thing that almost all people did enjoy from the film was the scenery and the visionary background. The set designs were wonderful. Roger Ebert, a critic of the Chicago Sun-Times said, ” It looks fabulous, it uses special effects to create a new world of it’s own, but it is thin in its human story” (Ebert 1) Ebert gave it an overall rating of three stars. His opinion, though, summed up the majority opinion of the few people who went and saw it at the theater. The special effects and background were great, but the plot was weak. It was just another action film, with a lot of violence; nothing unique about it.Even though the movie did not make money at first; over the years, it would become a cult classic.
The late interest was most likely sparked by a new version that would be released years after the original release of the movie. The version, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut, was what the director, Ridley Scott, originally wanted (Scott). Apparently, the original movie that came out at theaters in 1982 had been tainted by Hollywood producers, with editing (Berry 16). They said the film was too confusing and didn’t have a happy ending. “Preview audiences found this ending too ambiguous and bleak” (Smith 2) You have to have a cheesy happy ending in Hollywood.
The 1982 release has Deckard and Rachael, (a replicant that is an exact copy of the daughter of the President of The Rosen Association; he falls in love with her), at the end, riding off into the country.Supposedly, these scenes were out takes from The Shining (Smith 2) The producers didn’t like Scotts ending. In Scott’s ending, Deckard and Rachael enter an elevator, and then the movie abruptly ends. Too unhappy.
The producers also thought the movie was too confusing and not clear, so they added a voice-over; someone narrating the story (Berry 16). The narrator was Deckard (Harrison Ford).
Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut, returns the original scenes. The happy ending is gone, and there is no more voice-over. This changed the effect of the movie. In the 1982 release it gave you the feel of an old Bogart movie. In the new version, a new mood is brought out, and a better effect is created. The narration was totally unnecessary. The movie becomes more enjoyable.
The followers of B.R. grows; as the sparks of interest touch them with this improved movie. This is how the director had originally created it. B.R. should have been released this way, originally. Proof of this is shown just in this newfound interest. Remember, the movie originally bombed at the box office, but now people loved it.
The second director’s cut, however, would fan those sparks of interest up into flames.
There had been rumors, that in the original screenplay, it was quite obvious that Deckard was a replicant. Deckard, the replicant hunter, was a replicant himself!Blade Runner: The Directors Cut II confirmed this rumor.
Evidence is plentiful that Deckard was actually a replicant himself. First, is the glowing eyes (Bitnet 22) When he(Deckard) goes to meet The President of The Rosen Association to discuss the knowledge of any replicants on earth, there is a replicant owl and if you watch when the owls’ head turns, you can see an orange glow in its; eyes.The glow is also in Rachael eyes, and can be seen in Roys’ when he is first introduced in the movie. Later, if you watch closely, you can see that same glow in Deckards eye in a scene where he is talking to Rachel of someday someone will hunt her down. When he turns his head, you can see the glow. You have to be watching extremely close to notice it, and it he