Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rick Deckard is Human: The End of a Silly Debate

In 1982, my dad and I went to the movie theatre in Forest Hills, NY to catch the Harrison Ford (i.e. Han Solo) flick: Blade Runner.

It was a vision of the future with the lilt of Vangelis' music behind it. Look at Los Angeles Cityscape of 2019:

Los Angeles in 2019.  When will my city look like this?

It seems almost every Harrison Ford sci-fi character has some controversy.  To the original Star Wars fans, there is only one thing that happened in the Cantina: Han shot Greedo first.  Yes, George Lucas was wrong in his re-makes.

Now with director Ridley Scott's threat of making a sequel (Ridley, don't.) , let's go back to a silly debate throughout the Geekosphere.

Some folks argue that Deckard is a Replicant.  No, no and NO!

Those same folks need to understand that Hamlet in Klingon is not really Shakespeare.  Nor is Klingon a real language.

And also, directors sometimes mislead their audience to get people to re-watch their films.  (Do you hear me, Ridley?)

Here are some very simple reasons Deckard is a human being (some meta-references may apply [Spoilers Ahead]):

1) In the very early edition, when Deckard was doing the film noir voiceover, he talks about an ex-wife calling him "sushi,"  No replicant remembered any exes.  They only understood the here and now.  Their pictures and false memories showed childhood, not adulthood.

2) The Replicants all looked slick with the edge of Punk; Deckard look haggard and tired.  Come and see:

Zhroa (Joanna Cassidy)

Leon (Brion James) 

Pris (Daryl Hannah)

Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer)


3) Deckard felt pain when he was attacked.  Remember Leon's "Wake up! Time to die!"  speech? Deckard got hurt (after he chased and was almost beat up by Zhora).  Pris nearly killed him before Roy broke his fingers.  Replicants don't feel pain.

4) Going back to Leon's attack: Leon knows his time is limited (Roy Batty's quest within Tyrell Corporation), but knows that Deckard can live longer.  Also, why would a replicant try to kill another Replicant? (Rachel did kill Leon protect Deckard following Asimov Three Rules of Robotics)

5)  When Deckard went to Tyrell Corporation and met Eldon Tyrell, Tyrell would know his own product (i.e Rachel and Roy Batty).  He did not know Deckard.

6) Read the opening crawl.  Replicants were banned from Earth following a rebellion off-world (hence the creation of Blade Runners!).

7)  When Roy saves Deckard on the rooftop, if he saves Deckard the human, it is redemption of his own Electronic soul (hence the "Tears in rain," speech); If Deckard is a replicant, there is no redemption.  

My question: Can you prove to me that Deckard is a Replicant? Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:54 PM PDT

    I'll give it a (late) shot!

    1. The voice-over was forced on Ridley Scott by nervous producers -- the same kinds of producers who'd also be nervous about an intellectually challenging story and an ambiguous ending. If you think the director is the final arbiter of what a film is, as I do, then the voice-over is apocryphal (and, as he has said, Deckard is a replicant -- but I'm getting ahead of myself).

    2, 3, 4, 5, and 6: clearly Deckard thinks he's human. If he's a replicant and he thinks he's human, then Tyrell wanted him to think he was human, and would have made him as convincingly human as he could (hence the ability to feel pain and slovenly appearance), and may have even orchestrated events to reinforce that idea, at least as far as his own meeting with him. Maybe Leon doesn't know Deckard's a replicant (which is possible because, assuming the premise that he is, Deckard can't recognize other replicants by sight either), or maybe he's just acting in self defense.

    7. It's pretty clear to me that Batty let Deckard live not to redeem himself -- redeem himself for what? To his mind, he was the victim -- but so that he could live on in Deckard's memory. The tears in rain speech was his last testament, and he wouldn't kill its bearer.

    But the most conclusive piece of evidence is the origami unicorn. If Deckard isn't a replicant, then how did Gaff know about his dream? And what was the point of leaving it for him?


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