Media Assignment: Bladerunner Essay Sample
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Media Assignment: Bladerunner Essay Sample
The science-fiction film Bladerunner is set in Los Angeles in the year 2019 after a nuclear war. There have been many scientific changes after the war. For example there is no plant or animal life and there is no sign of the sun. The entire city of Los Angeles is very heavily industrialised. After the nuclear war the climate has changed dramatically, which has caused the sky to become gloomy and the rain to fall all the time.
Bladerunner contains the following elements of film noir: a smoky and shadowy background, fans rotating, murky and dark atmosphere, usually a blue light, a detective searching or chasing someone showing there is a mystery to be solved. There are also beautiful but dangerous women who sometimes help and sometimes hinder as they make the planets habitable for humans. The replicants are from the Nexus 6 Series. Early in the 21st Century, The Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into the Nexus phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.
The Nexus 6 Replicants were superior in strength and agility, and at least equal in intelligence, to the genetic engineers who created them. Replicants were used off-world as slave labour, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets. After a bloody mutiny by a Nexus 6 combat team in an off-world colony, Replicants were declared illegal on earth – under penalty of death. Special police squads called Bladerunner Units had orders to shoot to kill, upon detection, any trespassing Replicant. This was not called execution. It was called retirement.
The Nexus 6 robots are so advanced they have developed human emotions and exhibit them in genuine love and loyalty towards one other. The protagonist of the film is a character called Deckard who was a former Bladerunner and his job was to hunt down and kill the Replicants. The chief detective calls Deckard to his office and tells him that he has to become a Bladerunner again to catch the escaped Nexus 6 robots, which make the planets habitable for humans. The Nexus 6 has found out that they are not humans and are desperate to live for as long as possible.
They want to meet they creator to ask whether he can expand their life span. The first scene opens up with a wide angle shot of Los Angeles city. The panoramic shot of Los Angeles shows us that the city is very heavily industrialised, which indicates it is set in the future. There is also an extreme close-up shot of an eye which has the very heavily industrialised city of L. A. reflected into it. This shows us that man is like God looking down on his creation. The character however shows no emotion. A low angle shot of Tyrell Corporation shows a man standing in the middle of the shot.
This room is very smoky and there is a blue light and a fan is rotating. This is one indication that the film contains elements of film noir. The smoke from the cigarette of the man standing in the side of the shot also adds to the smoky atmosphere. Another medium shot of the room is shown, however the man is now standing on the right and there is a small-looking machine on the table. This makes our attention focus more on the machine which is the voight-kampff and makes us aware that the machine is also of great significance in the film.
The voight-kampff machine has a touch light panel at the top and also on the side of the screen. Here is a dial which records fluctuations of the iris. The machine itself is similar in height to that of a music box. In this scene Holden, a Bladerunner is questioning Leon. Leon is part of the Nexus 6, in this part he looks like a cop or an accountant. The room itself is quite hazy, as it is full of smoke. The fans are rotating which cut through the blue luminous lights. As Holden begins to speak, Leon starts to ask questions which clearly indicates he is anxious.
Holden behaves like an automaton ignoring Leon’s anxiety and continues by asking him the first question. Holden notes the dials in the Voight-Kampff. One of the needles quivers slightly. Holden has asked Leon about his mother. It’s around this point that Leon quickly pulls out a gun and aims towards Holden. Holden is thrown back against the wall and lies dead. In Scene 9 (Chew’s Visitors) Roy Batty and Leon are trying to find Tyrell. Tyrell is the man who created the Nexus 6 Series. They go to a science laboratory, where eyes are made for The Nexus models.
Roy Batty wants to meet Tyrell because he is the only one who can extend their lives. A man called Chew works on developing eyes. There are blue smoky lights as the Nexus 6 robots enter, which creates a menacing atmosphere. There is a close-up shot of Roy Batty who recites the poem “Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled around the heaven. ” The poem, which Roy Batty recites, indicates we should compare the robots to the fall of Lucifer. The replicants are like fallen angels indicating that they are superior beings who are rebelling against their maker.
As the music builds, Roy Batty pulls off Chew’s protective jacket, which has pumps going into it to keep him warm and protect him against the extreme cold. Chew cannot survive in the hostile environment of his lab because of the extreme coldness but both Leon and Roy are able to do so. Extreme close-up shots are used to show the difficulty Chew is having and this also shows us that the robots are physically superior to humans and are not affected by the cold. Roy does this to put pressure on Chew to force him to tell them how to get to see Tyrell.
Close-up shots are used to show how Leon intimidates Chew by placing eyes on his shoulders and to show the fearful facial expressions of Chew. The Nexus 6 robots don’t have to hit him, just be there to frighten him indicating he is aware of their power. Leon also places his hand into a container of freezing liquid that stores eyeballs but his hand is undamaged. Chew cannot believe what Leon has just done and realises that they are not just ordinary humans but the Nexus 6 series. Roy Batty and Leon show no concern about the death of Chew. They are more concerned about getting information so that they can meet their creator.
Close-up shots show the unconcerned and rather mocking facial expressions of Roy and Leon as they watch Chew die. The director presents the Nexus 6 series here as they are much more intelligent and superior than humans but they are not. By Scene 17, the replicants are presented in a more sympathetic way. Deckard finds Zhora, who is one of the femme fatales in the film Bladerunner. She is also one of the replicants who Deckard has been appointed to kill. Deckard pretends to be a morality inspector but, after talking for a while, Zhora becomes suspicious and quickly works out Deckard is a Bladerunner.
To save herself she tries to kill Deckard but some of the other performers of the club enter the room and Zhora can only run away. Whilst Deckard is chasing Zhora she is filmed in blue lighting. The streets are packed full of multicultural people. It is rainy and foggy. In this scene long shots are used when Zhora is being hunted down by Deckard. The use of close-up shots reveals Zhora’s fear and desperation to escape death. Furthermore the use of a hand-held camera makes the viewer feel like they are part of the action. The replicant is shown in this scene as a victim and we feel sympathy towards her.
This is due to Deckard chasing down Zhora in order to shoot her down in cold blood. He shows no emotion until he looks down at her body but then we see that he seems to be unhappy with the task he has been given. There is a suggestion that ‘retirement’ feels more like murder. In this scene 32 the situation is reversed, instead of Deckard chasing the Replicants, they are chasing Deckard. The Bladerunner is being chased by Roy Batty, who is fuelled by the desire to revenge Pris’s death. Deckard is no match for Roy as he is the most powerful and intelligent of the Replicants.
There is a close up shot of Deckard holding onto the gargoyle by the rooftop. The close up shots of Deckard shows that Deckard is struggling and also he isn’t as strong as Roy. A low angle shot of Roy is used before he jumps across one building to the one from which Deckard is hanging, which emphasizes his superiority over Deckard. At the end Roy becomes the saviour as he saves Deckard who is about to fall. Here, extreme close up shots are used to show facial expressions on Deckard’s face. This shows us that Roy isn’t malicious but rather that his experiences are vastly superior to human experience.
Roy’s reaction to Pris’s death seems very human-like. The tears in the rain emphasise that losing The Nexus 6 humans have lost invaluable experiences and memories but are unaware of the significance of the loss, because humans see the Nexus 6 merely as a threat. At this point Roy lets go of a dove which is the only sign of real wildlife in the entire film and also the sky here is shown as blue. The symbolic references seem to be religious with the dove representing Roy’s soul. After that Roy dies on the rooftop next to the exhausted former Bladerunner, Deckard.
To summarise the science-fiction film Bladerunner, robots are shown as much more superior than humans. During the film there are various scenes when the robots seem to be more intelligent than us. The robots also seem to have a better awareness of their feelings. In the scene ” Leon’s emotional response” when the Bladerunner is asking Leon questions we are shown that he has no feelings as he the Bladerunner cuts into Leon’s sentence. In the film the robots are seen as positive. For example, they do our dangerous chores like making alien planets habitable, which as humans would find very difficult.
In the film Bladerunner we see man as the creator looking at his creation. His creation is a heavily industrialised polluted city. The character however shows no emotion and certainly no remorse for what he has done to the Earth. The humans do not give the Replicants respect. Humans treat the robots as non-humans and so think they don’t deserve respect. But in the film these replicants are like humans in every way but they are treated as worthless people who are our slaves, who were designed in the first place to do the mans chores and to make planets habitable for humans.
Despite of these problems the director uses special camera techniques to prove that these robots have human-like emotions and feelings. The relationship between Deckard and Rachel, the second femme fatale show this. The director uses close up camera shots to show the facial expressions of Rachel and Deckard when they are talking or making love. Also the reaction of Roy Batty towards the death of Pris is very human-like which show they are just like humans in that they too have feelings and emotions.