Frankenstein + Blade Runner Essay
Perfect Frankenstein + Blade Runner Essay The texts, Frankenstein and Blade Runner show changing contextual values; nevertheless the treatment of content remains the exact same. Mary Shelley’s didactic Frankenstein released in 1818 centres on clinical development of the Industrial Transformation, as presented through a consolidation of Gothic and Romantic elements in reaction to the shifting paradigms of the Enlightenment Age. Similarly, Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott in 1982, changes the concepts of Frankenstein to place its postmodern audience to think about the negative implications of the Cold War and the increase of industrialism.
These contextual concepts will be explored through the thematic concerns pertaining particularly to the destructive capacity of abusing scientific power, the problematic duty of man as developer and the nature of humanity. Certainly, Blade Runner is a realisation of the sublime cautions highlighted by Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818. Destructive capacity of abusing scientific power Frankenstein highlights the destructive capacity of abusing science through overpowering human morality and provoking irresponsibility.
The 18th Century Age of Enlightenment was a social movement where logic and factor was promoted as the main source of authority, characterised by scientific improvements such as Galvani’s principle of electrical energy as a reanimating force and theorists such as Erasmus Darwin. For this reason, Walton’s metaphor, affected by Age of Enlightenment, “What might not be expected in a country of everlasting light?” is mantric for both Walton and Frankenstein who show a “thirst for knowledge” in their particular clinical missions.
The metaphor and sign of “everlasting light” represents the secrets the set desire to discover and accompanied with rhetorical concern it shows the optimism of society welcoming the Age of Enlightenment. Nevertheless, the irrevocable consequences of abusing clinical power is highlighted when Frankenstein states, “”All my speculations and hopes are as absolutely nothing, and like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained to an eternal hell.” as he is tortured by the “filthy daemon” he creates; a beast “even Dante might not have actually developed. The allusions to John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante Alighieri’s Inferno through metaphor and simile stresses the damaging capacity of abusing scientific power as Frankenstein’s environment rots into hell. This caution of the harmful capacity of abusing science is understood in Blade Runner through Scott’s mise-en-scene of the dystopian city wasteland of 2019 Los Angeles, emphasising the damage of the natural surroundings as a result of the Cold War’s nuclear risk and increase of consumerism.
In the opening series, the slow-panning panorama shot, under chiaroscuro lighting, records a hellish megalopolis with huge smokestacks gushing fire into the environment and big pagan corporate buildings towering over the city. This disorienting imagery is coalesced with violent, non-diegetic noises and visuals of constant rain, signifying issues of acidic rain and the burning of the environment. For this reason, Scott’s usage of futuristic “movie noir” cinematography establishes a grim, claustrophobic environment that is totally devoid of the natural world.
By depicting such dystopia and understanding contextual issues such as the capitalist deregulation and the ‘trickle down’ theory of Reagan’s period, Scott uses Shelley’s “Promethean” theme to caution viewers about the possible ecological threats of abusing contemporary technology and nuclear warfare, which were prevalent social concerns at the time due to the climax of the Cold War. Flawed duty of guys as developer Frankenstein highlights how unrestrained science undermines guy’s duty as developer.
Shelley’s period was a time of spiritual revival where thinkers such as Kierkegaard asserted spirituality was more than “unbiased look” and required engagement. In both texts, numerous scriptural allusions are made to the image of male taking over the title of “creator” and development becoming the abandoned “fallen angel.” Hence Victor’s Godly damnation shows guy as illegitimate to play the function of God: “Wretched devil! You reproach me with your development; come on, then, may I extinguish the trigger which I so negligently bestowed. Through the emotive biblical language and poetic allusion to “Milton’s Paradise Lost”, Shelley stimulates the retelling of Satan’s fall from grace, where the beast’s similarity to the “fallen angel,” exacerbates the idea that man, damaged by the ethical insensitivity of science, is flawed as developer. Moreover, the “spark” alludes to the “eternal light” which irresponsibly results in the immoral creation of a monster that is both elegant and aberrant. This is highlighted by the graphic images of the monster’s pollutant such as “skin arely covered” and “yellow eye” alongside the animal’s agonizing individual recollections through direct usage of the very first person, “I was a bad, helpless, unpleasant rascal. I knew, and might distinguish, absolutely nothing; however feeling discomfort invade me on all sides.” Hence, Shelley highlights to readers in the Enlightenment duration that natural selfishness of guys corrupts the moral grounding of clinical pursuit rendering male as illegitimate to play the role of God.
The issue of humanity as selfish developers, disengaged from institutionalized structures such as Christendom, is extended in Blade Runner in the “conference of the maker’ scene. Tyrell ruthlessly exploits his economic power by separating himself from the decaying dystopia of Los Angeles. Tyrell’s fundamentally flawed intents are personified in the Tyrell Corporation’s erection of a Grandiose, Mayan style pyramid physically applying an effective supremacy over the city.
It is presented through an upward panning low angle shot, spliced with close up shots to enhance the supremacy of consumerist development in dystopia. The pyramid’s historic association with Egyptian royalty links them with the divine, typifying Tyrell’s ‘God-like’ function as creator. This is reinforced in Tyrell’s costuming of white clothes in the middle of long shots of a candle-lit church environment, epitomizing his glorified religious status.
Furthermore the low-angle shots of the ‘synthetic owl’ with dark shadows emphasises the degree to which the natural environment has been artificially renovated due to the rise of consumerism in the 1980s. Hence, the dehumanised depict of Victor Frankenstein and Tyrell demonstrates that in spite of differering contexts, science results in a desertion of ethical obligation and male is flawed as developer. What constitutes humankind in an individual Frankenstein highlights the true nature of humanity as influenced by the 18th Century Romantic Motion.
The 18th Century Romantic Movement was a social response against the 18th Century Age of Knowledge, characterised by worrying the charm of the natural world and psychological feeling. The natural world’s splendour is highlighted as Frankenstein flees to Mont Blanc for conciliatory peace away from his torment. “The unstained snowy mountain-top, the flashing peak … the eagle skyrocketing in the middle of the clouds.” The Romantic and emotive language, images and allusion to Edmund Burke’s On the Sublime and the Beautiful represents the beauty of the natural world, free from harmful science.
Further humankind’s feelings are romanticised through the benevolent portrayal of the Beast. “No father had enjoyed my baby days; no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses … What was I?” Through the combination of emotive language, an individual tone developed through the individual pronoun “I” and a rhetorical question to question what constitutes humanity within a being, Shelley transcends the Gothic stereotype usually bestowed upon a monster to stress the monster’s human yearnings for adult love and friendship.
For this reason, as the Romantic Movement and its fascination with the sublimity of nature, was being overcome by the stringent rationality of the Age of Knowledge, Shelley foreworns of the damage of the majesty of mankind, both in the natural world and in human emotions, as a result of widespread science and irresponsibility. Similarly, the “more human than human” portrayal of Roy in Blade Runner likewise highlights our mistreatment of scientific developments as artificial products, blurring the difference in between people and products of expert system.
In the final scene, Scott utilizes a close-up shot at Roy’s nailed hands, literally representing him as a Christ-like figure, as he is shackled and ethically detached from humanity from the objectives of “commerce”. The condescending aphorism in Tyrell’s comment at Roy’s desperate cry for life, “the light that burns half as long, burns twice as bright” mentions the “eternal light” in Frankenstein’s Age of Reason and its impacts on humankind’s neglect for the human consequences of its actions.
For this reason Roy asserts “I have actually seen things you people wouldn’t believe”, which shows about his personal, human pain and suffering as a result of the commoditised world. In addition, a close up of Roy, together with the pure white background produces a cathartic minute as Roy becomes ‘the fallen angel’, magnanimously giving life to Deckard and instilling human qualities within him. It is through highlighting Roy’s sensitivity that Scott ‘appropriates’ Shelley’s dilemma of what makes up humanity within any being, questioning the morality of the technology-dependent audience of the 1980s; as they take clinical developments for given.
Thus after suffering and catching brutal dehumanisation, both Replicant and Beast have emotively stimulated pathos and senses of extensive solemnity. Ultimately, both Frankenstein and Blade Runner are products of their cultural scene and forewarn us of the harmful capacity of abusing science, illegitimately playing the function of God and the values of humanity that degrade our morality and duty. More subliminally, nevertheless, each text embodies the ethical restrictions of being human through the overbearing nature of scientific and technological improvement.