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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

8 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.

    ReplyDelete