Blade Runner Essay

982 words - 4 pages

Texts in Time

Texts embody paradigms corresponding to their social, economic and historical contexts. The capacity of thematic concepts to transcend time is manifest within Mary Shelley’s 19th century gothic novel Frankenstein (1818) and Ridley Scott’s science fiction film Blade Runner (1992) as both pose similar existentialist discourses regarding the fate of humanity. As a Romanticist, Shelley condemns humanity’s intrusive assumption as creator. Similarly, Scott responds to Shelley warning by also spurning man’s ruthless ambition. However, the film’s 20th century context of capitalist greed and mass industrialisation shifts the criticism onto the pursuit of commercial dominance. Both ...view middle of the document...

Here, Shelley elicits a historical allusion to the French Revolution as she demonstrates how man’s unbridled assumption of power discerns the inevitability of his ruin.

Despite their temporal and contextual disparities, Scott also incorporates Gothic elements of horror but procures a man-made cataclysm that is a product of his own desire to achieve commercial dominance. Unlike Shelley’s moralistic forebode, the lurid flames in the opening mis-en-scene highlights a dystopic world that has already come to a heinous fruition. Here, Scott draws a literary allusion to Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell on Earth to denote how man’s excessive authority, “built with stones of (his) Law” accrues in totalitarian-like society; where this is symbolised through the omniscient eye motif that is, moreover, an allusion to George Orwell’s 1984. Further, revising Victor’s usurpation of God’s prerogative, Scott conveys Tyrell’s capitalist fixation through his mantra “commerce is our goal”. The composer reinforces this through multiple low angle shot of Tyrell’s monolithic corporation, highlighting its commanding ascendancy over its impoverished urban surroundings. By doing so, Scott denounces the arrogance of corporate giants and their heedless exploitation of the proletariats class.

Furthermore, Scott’s reflection of a society enveloped within Cold-war paranoia of a potential nuclear disaster is depicted through Tyrell’s violent death at the hands of his own creation. Here, Tyrell’s ominous scream as Roy ruptures his myopia-riddled eyes, a metaphor of his blind ambition, creates a noirish ambience of utmost horror as responders construe how man’s hubristic desire to achieve omnipotence results in his inevitable destruction. However, unlike Shelley’s critique of heedless scientific pursuit, Scott’s perspective has shifted to that of man’s capitalist voracity and is a reflection upon the 20th century’s rapid expansion of multinational corporations.

Reflecting upon Romanticism as a reaction against the Industrial Revolution’s grave neglect of the environment, Shelley advocates nature’s capacity to provide spiritual renewal regardless of humanity’s flaws. Initially, the composer conveys the consequences of Victor’s profound ambition, as she prefigures his exclusion from the natural world; shown in his emaciated appearance in the imagery of “so thin and pale”. However, despite Victor’s vast preoccupation in...

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