By: Thomas DiMarco and Omar Haque
The movie has received a huge cult-like following, amassing critical acclaim due to its revolutionary style, influencing the genre of science fiction to modern day, due to its visionary style and the central question it poses, “what makes it that makes someone a human being?” The visual style of the film reinforces the mechanical, over-industrialized nature of a society which places ahead efficiency and productivity above all else. It does this by creating a bleak and dirty Los Angeles. While there were flying cars, cities in which every building was a skyscraper, and extraterrestrial colonies, it was all still a dystopia. The atmosphere in LA was smoggy and constantly raining. The streets were crowded and much of the city was full of condemned buildings and the discarded remains of everyone’s waste. This style grabbed the attention of many critics for the dark, dystopian world Ridley Scott created. The question that the movie asked, “What makes a human being, essentially, human?” By showing that Replicants have intense emotions and are driven by those emotions just as human beings are, and comparing the Replicants with Harrison Ford, the question arises with how far an extent one is able to determine humanity.
The movie comments on humanity and ethics by using the tone of this movie to show a gloomy, dark, and near desperate future; which can be a possibility in the near future due to the idea of over-industrialization over the idea of having a healthy and pretty city. So, the movie’s exaggeration of the future of society comments on humanity and ethics can be interpreted as a sort of shout at today’s society saying, “Hey, wake up America!” because if society keeps this up, then everyone is going to be smoking all the time just like in the movie.
The question of what makes us human is relevant in today’s society because everyday people are exposed to various stereotypes in today’s world. For example, take the “basic white girl”, you might imagine a young, attractive female that probably spends a lot of time at Starbucks and posting pictures of her UGG boots on her Instagram. It’s those stereotypes that give an illusion of robotic like behavior. Society is what made a stereotype predictable. If what determines what a human is is to have self-created hopes and dreams and be motivated by our emotions and intellect to accomplish those goals. The Replicants are able to experience feeling and emotion; they fear death and are motivated, through means not programmed by their creator, to search for a solution to their short lifespans. They are highly motivated by their self-created goals, are emotional, have a need to stay alive, and are capable of changing their mindset due to the circumstances that they find themselves in. In doing so, they act just as humans do, creating a parallel between the two.