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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Deckard is Not a Replicant. Deal With It.




Yesterday, a friend and I were seeing if we could name actors who have never died in a movie, and when he suggested Harrison Ford, I was stumped. I couldn't think of a movie Harrison Ford had died in, but was sure he must have. So, we took to the internet, and discovered a thread discussing the exact same thing. Naturally, one of the first posts on there said "Yes, he died in What Lies Beneath" (duh), but this wasn't what caught my eye. Instead, what caught my interest was a later post, stating "He was technically never alive in Blade Runner", obviously referring to the suggestion that Deckard was a replicant.

I've heard this suggestion on multiple occasions, and whilst it makes sense that there is a certain degree of ambiguity about Deckard's nature (the film was based on a Philip K. Dick novel, after all), it seems that many people take the idea that Deckard is a replicant as being an absolute truth, as though there is no question about it. And I don't see how they could have come to this conclusion, because looking at the facts:

Deckard starts the film apparently retired. He is roped in by the police to hunt down the four escaped replicants who have come to Earth. There is clearly a suggestion that Deckard has been a Blade Runner for quite some time, and has since been in retirement for quite a while as well. Now, the obvious point to make here is that, if Deckard had a limited lifespan, as most replicants do, then he would not have been able to have been working for long enough to become the best, and then go into retirement for a significantly long period for it to be a shock when they bring him back in. But, I know what your response to that will be "Deckard has had false memories implanted, making him believe he was a Blade Runner before, when in fact he only comes into existence around the point where the movie starts, as a specifically designed Blade Runner replicant". Whilst this argument does make sense; after all, we know Rachael had false memories implanted to make her believe she was human, this still ignores the obvious.

Firstly, the cops all act as though they know Deckard, and speak to him as though they are old friends, and yet, if he was a replicant, they wouldn't have known him. Not only this, but when they discuss his past, they would have to be familiar with the backstory that had been given to the replicant Deckard in order to make their statements fit in with what Deckard remembered. This means that either the cops would have had to have been told Deckard was a replicant, and told the exact details of the false memories he was given, and told to act as though they knew him, and everything in the memories had really happened to him as well, which is a long shot, or; Deckard is a replicant based on a real Blade Runner named Deckard, whose memories were implanted into the replicant version of him, whose colleagues are unable to distinguish from the original. Now, this argument does make sense, but not in the context of the rest of the film. And here's why:

If Deckard's memories of being a Blade Runner prior to the start of the film are fake, that means they were deliberately implanted in his memory. The reason for this is simple: Deckard was designed to hunt other replicants; that is his only purpose. But then, why is he so weak when compared to the other replicants? Think about it; Deckard only kills one of the four escaped replicants without a ridiculous stroke of luck:

Leon - had the drop on Deckard, and would have killed him if Rachael hadn't turned up at that exact second.

Pris - Could easily have broken Deckard's neck, but chose to release him and taunt him rather than just kill him. Not only this, but Deckart only managed to kill her because he got to his gun - he would have stood no chance hand-to-hand, nor if she had really wanted him dead.

Roy - Deckard never killed him. In fact, he had Deckard in a position where he could have killed him with ease, but saved his life instead, before succumbing to the built-in defect designed to keep replicants in check.


In fact, the only replicant that Decker manages to kill by himself without them allowing him to do so is the stripper who he shoots as she tries to evade capture. And even she manages to knock him flying, and get quite a way; and she isn't even designed as a combat replicant - she was designed as an advanced sex toy for off-world soldiers.


So, if Deckard is the most advanced replicant in the world, and was made specifically for the purpose of hunting down and retiring other replicants - why the hell wouldn't he be as strong as even the weakest of the replicants he is hunting? Sure, they wanted to make him appear as human as possible, so that even he would think he was human - but why make him so much weaker than those he is hunting? If Deckard is a replicant, he has to have been designed to be a Bladerunner; there's no other explaination for his memories (without him being human). So why the hell isn't he strong enough to take on the replicants he is hunting? As I said, every one of the replicants in the film is more powerful than him, and he only seems to beat them by chance, so if he is supposed to be a replicant, that is some awful scripting. Besides, what evidence is there that he even is a replicant?

There is the theory that Rutger Hauer saves Deckard at the end because he is a replicant, but this is utter crap. As evidenced by Hauer's last statements before death. Roy Batty tells Deckard of all the wonderful things he has seen, which will die with him when he goes. There are only two reasons for this. Either:

(1) he saves Deckard simply because he wants to be remembered; he can't believe that when he dies, all the incredible things he has witnessed will die with him, and no-one else will understand the things he saw. But by saving Deckard, he saves his own existence in Deckard's memory, and therefore his experiences live on that little bit longer.


(2) he wants to teach Deckard the value of his own long lifespan. Deckard is a tormented Alcoholic with nothing to live for, and yet when it comes to his final moments, hanging from the edge of a building, he still wants to live. When Roy tells him of all the beauty he has seen in his short life span, he is showing Deckard what he can do with his far longer, human, lifespan, and is trying to teach him to value that which he takes for granted, but which Roy would kill for.


And Guess what? Both these theories kind of revolve around Deckard NOT being a replicant.




I know both these theories are strongly contended, but it really is that simple, guys. Deckard isn't a replicant, Batty doesn't save him because he is a replicant - he's just a regular guy, saved by a replicant who doesn't want to leave this Earth without at least leaving some impact upon it.


Now, of course, I haven't seen the original version of the film; I've only seen the Director's Cut, and the "Final Cut" of the film. Yet, I think the evidence shows that Deckard has to be human. Yes, there is supposed to be a small element of ambiguity, but on the balance of probabilities, Deckard has to be human; either that or the writer was too dumb to notice the massive plotholes he had created and the film is actually nowhere near as good as I give it credit for being. Either way, as far as I'm concerned, the suggestion that "Harrison Ford wasn't technically alive in Blade Runner", is utter Bullshit.




Voice

16 comments:

  1. Excellent thoughts, definitely something to think about. I've been in the "Deckard is a replicant" camp, but you make some very good points.

    I just wanted to point out that Pris is the pleasure model, not Zhora.

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  2. Good points but I think he can still be a replicant. When Roy Batty was talking to Tyrell about extending his lifespan, Tyrell said something like since you are superior to a human you can't live as long (You burn twice as bright as other candles so you will die out faster). Therfore, Deckard could be some new model. There is also the scene where Deckard is at the pianno dreaming about a Unicorn. The director Ridley Scott later says in a interview what the scene was talking about and how Deckard was a replicant. There are youtube videos for this.

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  3. On balance, I reckon he was supposed to be a replicant but Ridders was too busy making everything look awesome to notice that Deckard should have been tough. Not the last time that he directed a film that made no sense.

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  4. I saw the original theatrical version on VHS back in the day and I have to say I never once got the idea that Deckard was a replicant. I have since seen both the director's cut and the final cut. I have read many excellent fan theories and arguments for both sides. The author of the book Philip K Dick said definitively that in the book Deckard is not a replicant. Harrison Ford said of the character that he is not, that the movie is about the juxtaposition of human vs android emotions. Ridley Scott has said that Deckard definitely is but has also stated that it is up to the viewer and is purposely ambiguous. Here is the real answer. It depends on which version you watch. If it contains the unicorn scene, Deckard is a replicant. If the scene is absent, he is not. In the original theatrical release, Gaff's unicorn is saying, "I know Rachel is with you but I'm going to let you both go because I know she won't live." The unicorn symbolizes that Rachel won't survive just as the unicorns supposedly didn't survive the biblical flood. This goes along with the chicken, which implied Deckard was afraid to take the job. And the man with the erection, which suggested Deckard was enjoying himself and getting back into the job. In the unicorn dream version, Gaff is saying, "I know about your unicorn the same way you knew about Rachel's spider."

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  5. I saw the original theatrical version on VHS back in the day and I have to say I never once got the idea that Deckard was a replicant. I have since seen both the director's cut and the final cut. I have read many excellent fan theories and arguments for both sides. The author of the book Philip K Dick said definitively that in the book Deckard is not a replicant. Harrison Ford said of the character that he is not, that the movie is about the juxtaposition of human vs android emotions. Ridley Scott has said that Deckard definitely is but has also stated that it is up to the viewer and is purposely ambiguous. Here is the real answer. It depends on which version you watch. If it contains the unicorn scene, Deckard is a replicant. If the scene is absent, he is not. In the original theatrical release, Gaff's unicorn is saying, "I know Rachel is with you but I'm going to let you both go because I know she won't live." The unicorn symbolizes that Rachel won't survive just as the unicorns supposedly didn't survive the biblical flood. This goes along with the chicken, which implied Deckard was afraid to take the job. And the man with the erection, which suggested Deckard was enjoying himself and getting back into the job. In the unicorn dream version, Gaff is saying, "I know about your unicorn the same way you knew about Rachel's spider."

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  6. Excellent work. Totally agree. The film also simply works vastly better and has enormously more appeal with Deckard human (as he clearly is). I am concerned that the sequel is going to stupidly portray him as a replicant and consequently ruin the first film - much like "Go set a Watchman" did serious harm to "To Kill a Mockingbird"'s Atticus Finch. Ridley Scott take note - Do not play with this conundrum because Deckard is human - it will also be clear that Deckard has aged - something replicants don't do.

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  7. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.

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  10. Deckard cries as Roy is dying in the rain just like Rachel cries after being told she's a replicant. That being said, Deckard could be a special type of replicant as well with no expiration date. As much as I like and prefer Deckard as a human, there's that!
    I'd also like to add it's pointless killing soon-to-be-dead replicants!

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  11. The key is in Roy's final speech The first line ="I've seen things YOU PEOPLE would not believe......If anybody would know it would be Batty and the YOU PEOPLE here clearly draws a line between the replicants and humans. Also I like to refer to the deleted scene that I think Ridley Scott deliberately cut out to sell more copies of his newer version .A conversation between Holden and Deckard realizing how dangerous for them the new complexities of the Nexus six had become for easy detection. One line to the effect of saying " it's a wash...They're almost like us" You can find the scene on a youtube search for deleted blade runner scenes. Also if it's based on the book Then Scott is changing the meaning PK Dick wanted you to get = As the Replicants became more human the humans were becoming more like replicants, (the reason Deckard takes the test himself in the book was his fear that he was losing his humanity....) Tyrell's speech about Rachel being a failed experiment seems pretty risky too if you really want to have a nexus Deckard stay under control.

    The Unicorn memory implant ? Think about why would anybody want to give him the dream in the first place. It does not follow the logical sequence of control. Just thrown in as a red herring in my opinion. The Unicorn origami let's him know Gaff could have retired her easily if he wanted to and confirms the line "too bad she won't live" ....Bryant stated that Rachel was also due for retirement. Totally agree with the too weak theory. Even if Tyrell donated them to the police force they are pretty expensive and it's not logical to make a defensive tool that is less efficient that the offensive tool you wish to destroy . Zora was about to strangle him ,Leon threw him around like a ragdoll, Pris tried to spin his head off exorcist style and a metal pipe to Batty's head had him laughing plus the rooftop to rooftop jump with ease for Batty that nearly killed Deckard... To me the Directors Cut meant another paycheck for Ridley but with all due respects this is one of his best movie "series" he has made and I really enjoy watching it.....

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  12. Please don't blame the writers of this film and don't call them retarded. The whole "Deckard is a replicant" thing is only the directors idea. The writers of the film (which Ridley Scott was not one of) NEVER intended Deckard to be a replicant. Nor did the author of the original story the film is based on (Philip K. Dick) It is also not implied that Deckard is a replicant at all in the original cut of the film.

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  13. Really good thread here guys. I've however have to play devil's advocate and take the side of of the relevant camp. First off, in the beginning of the film when he says he's retired it didn't take much arm twisting to get him to change his mind. The cop just said some stupid thing like you don't want to be one of the little people and decker subseviantly said no choice. Sounds like something a replicant who was programmed to do as he was told to me. Also remember when Rachel asked him if he had ever taken one of the tests himself, implying that he too could be one. Also, he was always so shaken up and depressed after killing a replica probably cause he sensed he was doing something immoral like killing his own kind. And lastly, I think he was weak cause if he realized that he was stronger than every other human, he would realize he was a replicant and instead of killing them he would have joined the resistance instead. I'd love to head some counter counter arguments to what I've said if y'all get get the chance...

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  14. I think the unicorn dream is possibly Deckard's thoughts of Rachael, being unique. Although he said he didn't see her incept date, however maybe he did glance at it, without registering it consciously or maybe he suspected as she was a new model with memory implants. I think gaff knew her incept date and the unicorn origami was referring to Rachael and to maybe to cover for Deckhard whilst he escapes with her, as the last thing he said to Deckard, was,'it's too bad she won't live......'. Maybe Gaff even assisted with safe passage for Rachael into Deckhard's apt.

    I also think that the unicorn origami is coincidental to Deckard's dream to throw the viewers into thinking that he maybe a very unusual more human than human replicant.

    I totally agree with the point about Deckard's lack of strength, and he was fortunate not to end up seriously injured after his encounters with all the 4 replicants. I just think that he has very insightful about replicants and has exceptional detective skills As Bryant phrased it,'....I need the old blade runner, I need your magic". Also Deckard demonstrates his depth of humanity in ways such as being physically vulnerable, gets the shakes, a borderline alcoholic as his coping mechanism. I really don't see any strong evidence of him being a replicant with fabrication of his identity via memory implants to convince him he's human so he would be willing to retire replicants (albeit reluctantly at first!) whilst under orders from Bryant.

    I get the impression that Ridley Scott either didn't have a chance to express his idea about him being a replicant in the theatrical cut or he changed his mind for the Director's cut with the unicorn scene thrown in. To me there is clearly a difference of opinion between the writers and R.S.

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    1. Just seen BladerRunner 2049! Love the story line, as it blends in nicely from the final cut. It is artistically and visually stunning and I would even dare to say better than the original Bladerunner in that respect. And I would expect some Oscar nominations in that area. However....

      Contains some weak characters, i.e. Niander Wallance, Joi the VR hologram girlfriend of K (WTF? Although great eye candy ;-), Luv (I know she's supposed to be cold blooded killer but I still think a weak performance.

      However Robin Wright was v. good as Lt. Joshi. Ryan Gosling...not bad. I'm guessing he's supposed to be a little detached being a conditioned replicant who has to strictly obey orders from LAPD/Lt Joshi, hence the VR hologram girlfriend? That said aren't replicants supposed to emulate humans emotionally better with memory implants?

      Rick Deckhard / Harrison Ford - The best and on form especially for a 75yr old!




      Maybe the casting was wrong?

      Also that Hans Zimmer ambient noise (not music) is awful! Its not as subtle, melodic as the original Blade Runner score by Vangelis. Please change it for the DVD/Blue ray release!

      Only tune I like was K's dying sequence music (remix of Vangelis's tears in the rain)

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