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Mary Margaret Guzman 2013-14788 Blade Runner Blade Runner is one of the few gems of film making that

Hollywood has produced among the tons of money-making garbage that it manufactures day in and day out. It is a glimmer of hope that one day mainstream films will evolve beyond carnal entertainment. What makes Blade Runner special is the fact that it achieves balance between the opposing duality of entertainment vs ideological depth that very few films ever achieve. It is what I would consider an ideal film: entertaining enough to make people pay attention and watch but goes beyond entertainment and delves deeper into ideology. Some people might argue that films should put their sole focus on ideology rather than entertainment, but these people imagine an ideal world where people watch films for its artistic qualities rather than for entertainment. This is not the case today. People of my generation watch films mainly for entertainment and many films that have immense depth remain unwatched and forgotten. Ideological depth is important but it means nothing if no one will listen. Anyway, back to Blade Runner. As I have said earlier the film is both entertaining and deep. In terms of entertainment, Blade Runner is a very mediocre film. It is unimaginative and simply employs the usual tricks of mainstream films such as adrenaline pumping action and chase scenes, a manly hero, a beautiful damsel in distress, powerful villains, etc to entertain people. It does not try to innovate or create new patterns but simply stick to formulas established by genres. In fact, Blade Runner borrows so heavily from established forms and structures of genre film that it is borderline predictable. Though, it does try to compensate this by having superb production values, great acting and beautiful direction. Everything from the sets to the camera work is top notch. I also want to specifically praise the use of shadows and lighting in Blade Runner in enhancing the mood of the film. Blade Runner may be mediocre in the entertainment front but in terms of ideological depth, Blade Runner is a powerhouse. Blade Runner does not shy away from asking the challenging questions but rather confronts them full force. In fact, Blade Runner is so ambitious it takes on a great many of these questions all at once. It tries to discuss such a wide range of things such as postmodernism and urban decay, the future of artificial intelligence, the nature of humans and even death, that you are almost sure that it will fall flat on its face, but it doesnt. And it gives way for a chilling and immensely satisfying multi-layered experience. The one ideological discussion in Blade Runner that really impresses me is the discussion human vs. machine. What makes us human? Earlier philosophers might argue that it is our ability to reason. Yet philosophers have already deconstructed how we reason and it can now be coded into machines, thus the rise of Artificial Intelligence. Others may say that it our ability to feel

emotions and indeed the film starts with this premise (Voight-Kampff test). Yet science has shown us that emotions are chemical processes; that happiness is simply our body releasing endorphins. Also, as the film has shown, emotions are simply repeated responses to specific stimuli. Once the Replicants have been given memories and thus emotional experience, emotions became easier to them. Actually, even without these memories the Replicants were capable of emotions such as anger and fear and even, as shown by Roy towards the end, compassion. There are many more and throughout the film the distinctions of a human from a machine is blurred. So, what makes humans human? What makes us different from animals and machines? What makes us so special? NOTHING! Nada! Zilch! Considering that this film was made in the 1980s I have to praise the creators for daring to say that. It takes guts, even today, to suggest that humans are nothing more than highly specialized machines. It is an inconvenient and unsettling proposition no one dares say in the fear of backlash. This is the kind of depth that runs throughout the film. It is uncompromising and says what it wants to say, critics be damned. It does not try to conform to the popular ideology to please its audience but rather it collides with it head on. Truly this is one of the films that uses the system to defy the system. It is the Hollywood film that is the anti-thesis of the typical Hollywood film.