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Deckard’s Replicant Status Should Not Be Dogma


The problem with Ridley Scott is that every time he opens his mouth, he says something that makes it clear that he’s something of an idiot.

For example, last month, when Mr. Scott claimed that science fiction, as a genre, was as dead as Westerns, he not only conveniently picked a genre that he was no longer working in to label as dead, but he also conveniently ignored that films like 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James proved that the Western genre was alive and well.

Or consider this quote, from a recent New York Times piece on the new Blade Runner disc set out today:

“Here we are 25 years on,” Mr. Scott said, “and we’re seriously discussing the possibility of the end of this world by the end of the century. This is no longer science fiction.”

Yes, it jolly well is, as well as hyperbole. No one is seriously talking about climate change blowing the Earth to smithereens or leaving it a dead, vacant husk, devoid of all life: at worst, people are discussing climate change leading to serious problems such as resource and land reduction. No one is seriously discussing “the end of the world…” just a changed world with a lot more logistical problems.

So you’ll excuse me if I’m not quite ready to accept the man’s dogmatic word on whether or not Deckard from Blade Runner is a replicant. That’s a perfectly valid interpretation of Blade Runner, but there’s a few reasons I don’t want to accept it wholesale.

The first is that it seems clear that Ridley Scott did not actually mean for Deckard to be a Replicant when he filmed Blade Runner: Harrison Ford has gone on record as saying that not only did he never think Deckard was anything less than human, but that Scott never said anything about that either. But more importantly, Ridley Scott saying that Deckard is a Replicant makes the film less interesting: the ambiguity of the protagonist’s ultimate humanity gives the film a great deal of its spice. And you’d think he’d realize this before opening his big yap and making an official pronouncement.

A Cult Classic Restored, Again [New York Times]

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