Editor's Article

By Tor Inge Skaar

The launch of Blade Runner Director's Cut in 1992 provoked many discussions on which version was the original version, and what the differences was. Most people agreed to that the 1992-version was the best, because that was how Ridley Scott in the first place had planed the film to be like. Scott made a finished version already in 1981, but Warner disliked the film so much that they almost recreated it. And this is one argument used by the ones that support the idea that this and only this is the version that is meant to be the original. But as I have been trying to say, this it not the time nor the place for that discussion. It's endless.

Interesting things have been said about Blade Runner, analysis etc. And I've realized that the replicants are a very popular subject. That the highly advanced creations of genetic engineering in the film are doing a revolt against the humans, because they're treated as slaves, and has been taking away the opportunity to have a life, despite the fact that they are as advanced as the humans, or more so. As the creator Tyrell said: "More human than human - that's our motto". And all the problems surrounding the replicants can easily be linked to the present conversations and debates on biotechnology, artificial intelligence and genetic-engineering.

More on the previous subject, or at least related to it, is the problem to separate the real from the unreal, the natural from the artificial. It's quite obvious that these two counterparts presuppose each other of existence. In Blade Runner this paradox is presented in a rather exciting way, because it's the human that's obtuse and cynical, while the advanced replicants are so busy trying to "capture life", or less trying to get a story, that their point of view at life is totally different; it's in another way more valuable than the human's. This is the definition of the Deckard-Batty meeting in the end, were Deckard is humanized and the presentation of the quandary in Deckard's relationship with Rachael. One thing is that she's a replicant, verified by Deckard himself in a Voight-Kampff test, but Deckard has been given orders to retire Rachael by Capt. Bryant. A great turning-point in Blade Runner is when Deckard realize that the fact that Rachael being a replicant is irrelevant, the only thing that matters is his emotions for Rachael.

Emphasizing another view at the question if "the natural" is centralized in the urban areas in which the action takes place. Is there any genuine objects of natural origin at all? That is objects not touched by humans. No, of course not. The lack of resources has created a market of recycled upon recycled products. And the film-makers have used this situation when designing the props. For instance, all the equipment in Chew's (the eye designer) laboratory is made of old dentist facilities, and the urban view is mostly dominated by old buildings and structures. And the point they're trying to make is that LA, in 30-40 years from now, is the same LA we know from today. It's only in awful SF-movies you'll find triangle houses and elliptical cars driven by humans in silver dresses.

The common description of Blade Runner has usually been a dark and gloomy one. And I quite agree, if you're only looking on the surface. Huge social differences , chaos, pollution and perhaps the most important; the belief in a better future is gone. But this scenery is also, from another point of view, quite fascinating. All those opportunities.

One point that has not been given much attention, is how Blade Runner continually expresses the eyesight's decisive importance in the understanding of man itself. The Voight-Kampff test examines the results of pupil and iris fluctuations and involuntary dilations. So it's actually these small nuances in the eye, which separate humans from replicants. And this is what we have to rely on, it gives us a certain survey. But it's impossible to get a general view in L.A 2019. There is nothing which could permit the idea of a completely image. I suppose that's why Blade Runner is characterised in a post-modern way.

Deckard, aka Harrison Ford, interprets the part very professional but that's not the only factor involving Blade Runner's success becoming a real science fiction cult film, its composition as an SF movie is what has really hit the spot. By changing time and place, it becomes a metaphor to present time. Ergo; "Blade Runner" will in the future be a stand on how people in 1982 thought of certain important problems. Blade Runner is not about 2019. The year 2019 is just a literary effect, and it has nothing to do with lack of imagination or clichès, as some critics asserted back in 83. But it is a reminder that our understanding of the unknown always is based on what we know.

It's unknown to us how much Tyrell actually know about "the little people" down on the dirty streets of L.A. But it's probably as little as they know of his existence . The problems they're facing every day, the injustice and the class distinctions, could be a result of the fact that nobody actually sees one another. Only temporary in a connection changing every moment. It's difficult to see the road clearly. As Roy Batty, the leader of the rebellion replicants, said to Chew about Tyrell: "Not an easy man to see, I guess" . And it's the eyes Roy crushes when he kills his maker in the end. Because that is the most horrible death Roy can imagine. That is also Leon's last thought, just about to crush Deckard's eyes.

Eldon Tyrell is a hard man to see, and he who can't "see" can not understand where he came from or have any memories, nor a personality . You can see when Pris hides among Sebastian's toys, that she has painted black around her eyes. That's because she doesn't want to be seen, but also to show that she won't see everything we humans take for granted. The replicants are at the end of their four year life span, and this provokes a struggle and a search for own identity and a chance to extend that life they had just began to discover. That humanistic gesture Roy Batty does when he saves Deckard apparently for no reason whatsoever, is his way to express his respect of life which Roy has caught a glimpse of, despite the fact that he now realize that it is time to die.

Written by Tor Inge Skaar