Blade Runner Project Part 2/2 - Analysis

Final project - yes, this is MS Paint, so the art is not the best

I elaborated on my former Blade Runner obsession here. To avoid my work in school assignments going to waste, I will post my final project drawing and the accompanying analysis. I tried to cover almost every interesting point during the heyday of my obsession. This is the more fulfilling analysis; here is part 1, the proposal.

Dickson He
Professor Sheila Winborne
Apocalypticism in Film, Section 2
3 December 2014
A Perspective on Blade Runner
Ridley Scott imagines the future world of Blade Runner as hectic and helter-skelter, resulting from a malignant outgrowth and confluence of social trends that signify both progress and the costs of progress.
For example, while science advanced enough to allow the creation of humanoid slaves, the implications of their slave status are heavily questioned. Replicants are discriminated against by being outlawed on Earth similarly to racism: “Assigning attributes of otherness (like the derogatory name “skinjobs”) serves multiple functions for the labelling group (Pieterse 230),” such as justification for retiring them. Replicants live meagerly off-world, and the off-world represents “a new life” away from the Malthusian direction of Earth. Comparing Trimble’s analysis of cities (310) with abandonment to the off-world, “Cities are imagined as rife with pockets of insufficiently assimilated strangers, understood as sites of (national) vulnerability. The tenements described by Wald have twenty-first-century counterparts in what Bauman (2007) refers to as "ghost wards," or firmly local ghettoes that have been marked off and abandoned by the urban elite (73).” Los Angeles is overcrowded and rains constantly likely due to excessive pollution. This environmental discord is a long-projected element of capitalism and dystopia, but a capitalistic forecast that did not materialize in Los Angeles’ ad-saturated world is the global dominance of Japan, which grew rapidly during the 1980s until crashing.
Using MS Paint and five grayscale colors, I harken back to the film noir that Blade Runner was inspired from by including elements that made the film iconic. Police cars and the off-world blimp fly in the landscape, while the Japanese-inspired geisha commercial indicates an alternative economic future. To create a sense of constant surveillance and paranoia, I drew many searchlights investigating the dilapidated city. The sun is shown only in Tyrell’s headquarters, highlighting his monumental God-like power in creating Replicants. In the front, Deckard looks out into the crowd and neon-trimmed city to try and retire Zhora. These physical elements create a new setting for the detective plot; other significant interiors include Taffy Lewis’s bar, Chew’s eye lab, and J.F. Sebastian’s apartment.
However, the environment also plays important thematic roles. In the beginning of the movie, an eye reflects the chaotic background, and the topic of eyes and seeing recurs frequently. In Roy Batty’s famous speech, he mentions seeing as crucial for the perception and memory of living: “I have seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” (Blade Runner). Furthermore, there are several religious allusions especially with Tyrell as the father of fallen angels. Roy returns as the prodigal son, and he also mimics Christ by impaling his hand. Beside several other references to Christianity, science and commerce’s progress leads to questions about what it means to be and what qualifies as human. While the Replicants are dehumanized as commercial property, they eagerly seek longer life as an avenue for more experiences like people of normal life spans. Through this complexity and thematic richness, Blade Runner questions scientific progress and humanity, and I tried to incorporate this wistful, mysterious, and probing essence in my drawing.

Works Cited
Blade Runner. Perf. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young. Warner Home Video, 2007. DVD.
Pieterse, Jan. "Image and Power." White on Black: Images of Africa and Blacks in Western Popular Culture. New Haven: Yale UP, 1992. 224-235. Print.
Trimble, Sarah. "(White) Rage: Affect, Neoliberalism, and the Family in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later." The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 32 (2010): 295-322. Print.