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The Consequences of Playing God

Harrison Ford’s Blade Runner will always remain a fiction with a capital letter and a magnificent example of fiction as an art. Filmed thirty years ago, the film has not lost a drop of its genius as well as Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein. The uniqueness of Blade Runner is that this movie is interesting for every viewer. It can be easily connected to the ideas described by Shelley in her gothic romantic novel Frankenstein. Presumably, both the story Frankenstein and the film Blade Runner possess an obvious relation to each other manifesting itself in the fruits of human intelligence and creativity as well as the consequences of people’s attempts to play God.

Rick Deckard’s job is not the most pleasant one. He hunts down and destroys replicants, i.e. robots created similar to humans. However, they are greatly superior in strength and agility. It is reasonable to admit that Shelley’s novel is based on a similar plot, where a young scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a monster. The content of the movie revolves around new models of replicants (created with an ability to feel), escaped from space slavery to the Earth for a meeting with their creator. God, as they think, can save them from certain death after four years of existence.

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The difference is that filmmakers do not give a straight answer about the origin of the main character. The question is whether this particular person is a replicant. Nobody knows anything about his previous life. The memories of his police work in the past may well be embedded. Acquaintances or friends, as well as possible relatives are not provided. Old black and white photographs in his apartment, as it is known in a course of view, prove absolutely nothing. Possibly, the main reason for this scheme is to show that it is impossible to differentiate between the robots in the film and people surrounding them. The reason is that both categories can feel. In the middle of the movie, a spectator observes a scene, where one of replicants admits: “We are not computers. We are physical,” “I think. Therefore, I exist” (Ford). Such a conception is also characteristic for Shelley’s novel, as the reader encounters a widened narration presented by the monster:

Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred. (Shelley 100)

In this context, the epigraph at the beginning of Frankenstein is quite appropriate both in the book and the film Blade Runner. The novel and the movie are related because they preserve a similar message, which manifests in the anomaly of creating someone and playing God. From an ethical perspective, a person has no right to create similar creatures. The reason is that it may ruin the natural order of things and lead to unpredictable circumstances. The film and the book altogether can prove this assumption faultlessly.

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What the filmmakers managed to embody on screen is truly a perfect image, which does not depend on Rick Deckard. In fact, it is not important who Deckard really is, a human being or a replicant, from whatever point of view, he embodies the philosophy of the film. This question will haunt him almost the entire movie, when he looks at the replicants hiding the same feelings. The finale gives the spectator an answer, but then again, it does not matter who he is. It is a philosophical dystopia, which casts some doubt on the existence of people and their desires to create. The very idea of progress both in Frankenstein and Blade Runner and all attempts to play God pursuing the underlying progress have disastrous effects on a human being. It is just another clod of earth to the grave of mankind.

In general, the design of characters is amazing as well as Shelley’s creation of Victor Frankenstein and the monster. In addition, there is a clear allegory with the Greek myths in the film. Here, the director brings people together with replicants, creators, and their creatures for a single artistic goal. It is important not to forget that Frankenstein also has an apparent connection to mythology. One gets a feeling that the main theme of the film is inspired by all sorts of revolutionary discoveries in science, particularly in the field of biotechnology, genetics, biochemistry, biomechanics, and biology. As well as Frankenstein, Blade Runner echoes the disaster for all the mankind. These ideas constitute an obvious relation between the book and the film.

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Interestingly, the teachers may use the movie Blade Runner while analyzing the novel Frankenstein. The matter is that the film can become a profound supplement to Shelley’s speculations over the humanity’s desire to progress. The question is what could happen if Victor Frankenstein created a match for his monster and continued to create monsters with his own purposes. Presumably, the film answers the above mentioned questions with a deep visualizing effect. In addition, teachers may approach a combination of the movie laying an emphasis on the fact that the problem of playing God is eternal. It is the essence of human progress, i.e. to replace God. For instance, the teachers may apply the citation from the film “I think. Therefore, I exist” and apply it to Shelley’s novel, thus, stimulating students’ critical thinking (Ford). However, the best idea for the teacher after watching the movie is to give pupils an assignment. This task has to be based on fabricating a continuation to Frankenstein with the purpose of finding out what level the consequences of playing God can actually reach.

To sum up the foregoing, the film Blade Runner along with Shelley’s book Frankenstein may become food for thought if they are combined together with teaching and learning purposes. Both pieces of art preserve the same message regarding the inadmissibility and consequences of the progress described by their authors.