This being our first brief of the term and also our first real field brief that we’ve been given thus far, it is, of course, vague as hell. In essence, the brief has asked us to do the research project into the concept of future generations, we can go in any direction within this and come out with anything we like; the end result of this brief doesn’t even need to be finished piece as such. The scope for what you could do with such an open brief made it very freeing but also quite confusing; I’m beginning to see a pattern forming, most of our brief seems to be along a similarly vague and impossibly vague vein.
my group for this project has not been the most attentive lot, we’ve had a string of illness and annoying absences, due to this over complicated mess of poor timing and alarm ignoring lie-ins, the bulk of the work and planning has been lumped on just two out of four in our group, namely Zack and me. Rachel, who has been unfortunately very ill and Josh, who’s a pain to try to force into the studio, have been fairly inactive in the group.
So me and Zack threw ourselves into cult sci-fi movies as way of ‘research’ in order for us to turn up at the monday crit and sound vaguely like we knew what we were talking about.
The first movie that we watched was ‘Blade Runner’ (1982, directed by Riddley Scott), at the time we very looking at the possibility of technology taking over our lives and also incredibly fast innervations that each generation seems to expect – the movie is set only 3 years in the future for our current times. Set in an unrecognizable Los Angeles (2019), ‘Blade Runner’ centers around an incredibly advanced future in which bioengineered beings, or replicants, are advanced enough to pass for human, though they only have a 4 year life span. After 4 replicants escape and come to Earth illegally, looking for a way to extend their dwindling life span, it’s Rick Deckard’s (Harrison Ford) job to find and ‘retire’ the replicants before they find their way to the Dr. Tyrell (Joe Turkel).
Replicants are indistinguishable from normal humans, except for the reflective layer within their pupils that appear to reflect light in a similar way to cats and dogs (though this is not expressly mentioned in the movie, only seen). The only way to truly tell replicants from humans is by applying the “Voight-Kampff” test (which is an actual A.I test that can be applied to modern day A.I). As well as the on going search for the 4 escaped replicants, there is a very important sub plot involving Rachael (Sean Young), Tyrell’s assistant, who has no idea that she herself is a replicant until Deckard is asked to test the “Voight-Kampff” test on her in front of Tyrell. she has been given fake memories and is utterly convinced of her own humanity until her suspicions arise after Deckard won’t tell her the results of her test. It is also heavily implied that Deckard himself is A replicant. The ultimate death of Roy (Rutger Hauer)- The leader of the escaped 4 replicants –and the monolog he gives before his death are what define the movie as such a cult classic; expressing the fleeting and fragility of life, as well as how tragic a loss Roy’s life is and how all his memories “will be lost, like tears in rain”.
In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m crazy about this movie: the characters, concepts and cinematography is stunning; it’s easily one of my favorite movies of all time. In addition to my obsession, it is also a very good exploration of what might happen, if we finally become advanced enough to build bioengineered models that can feel and think independently enough to pass as human. The idea that our future generations might have to deal with such a morally ambiguous reality could be possible in a distant future, though it is debatable as to how long it would take for that to happen. In addition, looking at the futuristic landscapes that the movie presents, the future looks to be a very dark and polluted place, L.A is almost always shrouded in dark threatening clouds that are spewed out by countless factories, that are slotted in amongst the towering cramped dirty city. This is not a future that any of us want to see, but one that is entirely possible given our current environmental destruction.
Two other movies, worth mentioning, that both follow a similar concept as ‘Blade Runner’, are ‘Metropolis’ (both 1927 and 2001)
and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (1995)
‘Metropolis’ (1927) is sited as being a major influence on all futuristic Sci-fi movies that came after it, as one of the first true scifi movies. ‘Ghost in the shell’ is one of many modern cult sci-fi movies that has taken similar ideas as both of the above and thrown a new and fantastical twist on it.