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#1
Old 12-25-2011, 11:56 PM
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Are the replicants in Blade Runner actually human?

My personal theory is that the replicants are basically 100% genetically engineered/cloned human beings, their physical strength or intelligence is boosted by genetic engineering to the limits of humanly possible. Assuming they aren't shipped sterile by Tyrel they could likely impregnate or be impregnated by "real" humans.

But I see a lot of discussion and reviews where people call them a different species or race or machines etc. I think its because of the confusing descriptions offered by the film, android and replicant, it makes people assume mechanical robots.

I think them being human slaves who have had their genetics fiddled with is KEY to understanding the film, and Deckard's epiphany. Its a commentary on eternal human nature and failings that with all the technology available slavery is recreated, the film could take place in the Roman empire or early USA really.

The use of terms like replicant and machine by the characters is willful ignorance, if they dehumanize the replicants with these terms they don't have to face the fact their society is based on outrageous cruelty for its everyday runnings. Not to mention the giant industry that creates them, its in their best interest that the public never realize they are human to keep the money train going. How would Blade Runners feel if they realized they were shooting people running away from sex slavery in the back? This is why the film starts with Deckard an alcoholic, hes close to making that connection and its breaking him mentally.

A piece of evidence used to suggest Deckard is a replicant is when we see in his apartment a lot of old photos, and it is said replicants love to keep photos. I think this is just a piece of irony, ALL humans love taking and keeping photos and mementos! It just shows how dehumanized they have made the replicants, that when they see normal human behaviour in the replicants they call it unusual. Its the cognitive dissonance you always see in slavery or war.

We see Hannibal Chew the engineer who makes eyes, Priss says indignantly "we're not machines", Tyrell mentions the replicants are made by "genetic engineers", we see them bleed, the evidence to me says biological human.

The Voight-Kampff test looks for emotional reactions that are conditioned by living in society, since the replicants first woke up only years before they never learned these. Why would you have an emotional reaction to violence and sex related questions if you have never had morals pounded into you by society? The VK is looking for normal emotional reponses, I'm sure autistics would fail.

And finally while the question of whats real, whats human is important to the film's theme Deckard being a replicant would make no thematic sense. Deckard is a hunter of runaway slaves who eventually sees through the prejudices his society holds and encourages, and comes to see one of these dehumanized slaves for what she really is and falls in love with her. If he is also one of these slaves the film suffers terribly, Deckard is no longer making a mental leap and a brave risk, hes just doing the logical thing.
#2
Old 12-26-2011, 12:10 AM
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That's pretty much what the story is all about.
#3
Old 12-26-2011, 12:18 AM
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What is it to be human? Aren't we just cogs in a machine? How do we tell?
#4
Old 12-26-2011, 12:29 AM
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You've nailed the theme of the movie (what is real? what is human?), and in developing this theme, I think the movie requires the replicants to actually be machines. However, I think you have a couple of key points backwards.

In the dystopian future of Blade Runner, the replicants are a contrast to humans in every way. Replicants are all of the "positive" qualities of humans – curiosity, empathy, passion, etc – while humans are thoroughly 'dehumanized' and are disinterested, passionless, uncaring, and weary.

The Voight-Kampf test is a pretty good indicator of this. Humans "pass" the test because they DON'T care about the questions. Leon is found out because of his intense emotional connection to the fictional turtle Holden asks him about. Here's the series of quotes:
Quote:
Holden: “The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.”
Leon: (angrily) “What do you mean, I'm not helping?”
Holden: “I mean, you're not helping. Why is that, Leon?”
(Leon becomes upset.)
Holden: “They're just questions, Leon.”
When Deckard later watches Holden get blasted by Leon, neither he nor the police chief flinch, or much care beyond the inconvenience to them. When Bryant explains that the replicants jumped the shuttle and killed the crew and passengers, Deckard somewhat sardonically says "Embarrassing." Repeatedly, human response to violence or death is apathetic disinterest. Compare that to the replicants, who mourn every single death.

I think a key example of this is shown when Deckard is hunting Zhora. She's described earlier in the film as "a replicant built for murder." Yet, we never see her kill anyone. Deckard chases after her, firing wildly into a crowd of people trying to shoot her. To the crowd, she's a frightened woman fleeing for her life when she's gunned down. Nobody breaks stride or even looks at her.

I think the point of the movie is, it's our respect for life, our passions, that make us human. Take those away, and we're the replicants. In Blade Runner, the replicants are more human than humans. There's a great quote that really drives this point home:
Quote:
Leon: “My birthday is April 10, 2017. How long do I live?”
Deckard: “Four years.”
Leon: “More than you! Painful to live in fear, isn't it?”
From Leon's point of view, the lives of humans are meaningless. It's ironic that the artificial replicants lead short but rich lives, seeing and doing things humans couldn't imagine. The rote automation of human life, bustling about dark streets, living in a dying world, buying fake animal pets, would by contrast seem empty to the replicants that have crossed interstellar distances to try to save their own lives. Incidentally, their humanity makes them weaker than Deckard - he kills them all, after all - but they likely wouldn't trade that weakness for anything. Roy is deeply affected by the death of each of the replicants. Pris befriends Sebastian, becoming perhaps his only friend in the world. Deckard finally finds love - in Rachel, another replicant. Replicants are the sole bearers of "humanity" in the film. Incidentally, and despite what Ridley Scott says, I think this is also why Deckard works better as a human – his awakening to what humanity has become is poignant if he's human. It's meaningless if he's a replicant.

Last edited by Astral Rejection; 12-26-2011 at 12:33 AM.
#5
Old 12-26-2011, 12:36 AM
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Would you step into a transporter, be broken down into your molecular makeup and destroyed in the process, recreated on Mars by a machine with the exact information?

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#6
Old 12-26-2011, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astral Rejection View Post
You've nailed the theme of the movie (what is real? what is human?), and in developing this theme, I think the movie requires the replicants to actually be machines. However, I think you have a couple of key points backwards.

In the dystopian future of Blade Runner, the replicants are a contrast to humans in every way. Replicants are all of the "positive" qualities of humans curiosity, empathy, passion, etc while humans are thoroughly 'dehumanized' and are disinterested, passionless, uncaring, and weary.

The Voight-Kampf test is a pretty good indicator of this. Humans "pass" the test because they DON'T care about the questions. Leon is found out because of his intense emotional connection to the fictional turtle Holden asks him about. Here's the series of quotes:

When Deckard later watches Holden get blasted by Leon, neither he nor the police chief flinch, or much care beyond the inconvenience to them. When Bryant explains that the replicants jumped the shuttle and killed the crew and passengers, Deckard somewhat sardonically says "Embarrassing." Repeatedly, human response to violence or death is apathetic disinterest. Compare that to the replicants, who mourn every single death.

I think a key example of this is shown when Deckard is hunting Zhora. She's described earlier in the film as "a replicant built for murder." Yet, we never see her kill anyone. Deckard chases after her, firing wildly into a crowd of people trying to shoot her. To the crowd, she's a frightened woman fleeing for her life when she's gunned down. Nobody breaks stride or even looks at her.

I think the point of the movie is, it's our respect for life, our passions, that make us human. Take those away, and we're the replicants. In Blade Runner, the replicants are more human than humans. There's a great quote that really drives this point home:

From Leon's point of view, the lives of humans are meaningless. It's ironic that the artificial replicants lead short but rich lives, seeing and doing things humans couldn't imagine. The rote automation of human life, bustling about dark streets, living in a dying world, buying fake animal pets, would by contrast seem empty to the replicants that have crossed interstellar distances to try to save their own lives. Incidentally, their humanity makes them weaker than Deckard - he kills them all, after all - but they likely wouldn't trade that weakness for anything. Roy is deeply affected by the death of each of the replicants. Pris befriends Sebastian, becoming perhaps his only friend in the world. Deckard finally finds love - in Rachel, another replicant. Replicants are the sole bearers of "humanity" in the film. Incidentally, and despite what Ridley Scott says, I think this is also why Deckard works better as a human his awakening to what humanity has become is poignant if he's human. It's meaningless if he's a replicant.
I took Leon's response to the turtle question more like confusion or irritation, almost like he didn't know how to respond and had realized his cover was blown.

Remember how Rachel's implanted memories of an average upbringing made her resistent to the test? It was probably only because of Deckard's suspicions that he kept going so long she tripped up. Didn't she pass one question because it insinuated lesbianism which she got angry at? If you woke up in a tank of goo a few years before you'd probably miss that, I mean what concept would you have of your own sexuality? To me it seemed the VK was looking to ask oddly phrased or insulting questions that someone with no values or identity would not realize.

I have seen unemotional humans/emotional replicants theme pointed out before and while I did notice it I thought it was just subtle irony and helped further illustrate that the view of the replicants as machines was cognitive dissonance on the human's part. It struck me a bit like if in a war one faction realizes the other is hiding among the civilian population in a town using them as cover, and the commander observes that the other faction has no respect for human life right before calling in a airstrike to level the town.

I showed my father the movie for the first time, we watched the director's cut without the voice over and happy ending. He said he thought he liked it but wasn't sure, then later he told me he realized what was bugging him. That Deckard was really the villain, and the replicants the "good guys", he said what made him realize that finally was the end when Deckard's life is spared. I told him man thats only the first reappraisal of the film out of many you'll probably make
#7
Old 12-26-2011, 01:15 AM
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You guys are getting mixed up here. The movie is about whether replicants are persons, not whether they are human*. They never get into the biology. I may be mistaken, but I believe you actually have to deduce that the replicants must have human anatomy, since no physical or biological test is capable of distinguishing them from humans, only a psychological one.

And I don't interpret the VK test the way Astral did. The replicants just are new to emotions and can't handle them as well as humans. They get overwhelmed. I mean, how uncomfortable would those questions make you? It's just a hypothetical--it's easy to shut off your emotions for that.

And if the message was that humans suck, then why is that one girl becoming more like a person considered a good thing?

*The OP clearly uses human to mean a biological construct, not an ethical or even social one.
#8
Old 12-26-2011, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
And I don't interpret the VK test the way Astral did. The replicants just are new to emotions and can't handle them as well as humans. They get overwhelmed. I mean, how uncomfortable would those questions make you? It's just a hypothetical--it's easy to shut off your emotions for that.
What leads me to my conclusion is that we don't really see humans express much emotion anywhere else in the movie, much less during the VK test.
#9
Old 12-26-2011, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
*The OP clearly uses human to mean a biological construct, not an ethical or even social one.
Thats correct, I feel like the film is much more profound, tragic, ironic and universal/timeless if they are. This is not to say I don't care about the ethical and social issues, just I feel the story is improved if they are, it makes the whole thing very darkly ironic if a future society whose temperment has become cold and indifferent insults their human slaves who just want to live free by calling them machines. Its so darkly ironic that there is a whole police division devoted to killing these escaped slaves to "protect" the public when they are trying their best to hide and blend in, and Deckard protects the public by firing into a crowd.


*I do concede they are genetically altered, Leon punches a dent in a dumpster and Priss reaches into boiling water to grab an egg.
#10
Old 12-26-2011, 10:40 AM
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If they are basically human in a biological sense, I wonder if Scott screwed up when he had Pris flop around like a dying fish after Deckard shot her for the first time, which might seem to indicate that they have machine parts (or at least machine programming).
#11
Old 12-26-2011, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
If they are basically human in a biological sense, I wonder if Scott screwed up when he had Pris flop around like a dying fish after Deckard shot her for the first time, which might seem to indicate that they have machine parts (or at least machine programming).
It was a time traveling movie in-joke to Kill Bill Vol. II. Elle (also played by Daryl Hannah) flopping around wouldn't have been funny in either if it wasn't in both.
#12
Old 12-26-2011, 03:19 PM
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The replicants weren't machines; they were androids (and they dream of electric sheep). They were designed to work off-Earth, but manage to make their way back from time to time and try to live as humans.

To be even clearer, an android is a manufactured human being, usually made in a factory; the exact nature of how they're made is usually vague, but it does not involve human reproduction. It is not a robot, which is a machine.

Dick's point was that these androids, were undetectable as nonhuman without a barrage of complicated tests (You'd think they'd just make them all bright orange). The question is what's makes someone human?
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#13
Old 12-26-2011, 03:41 PM
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AS someone who used to read American pulp SF mags when I was a kid I always thought that the term Android, meant an artificial human that was a BIOLOGICAL construct not metal and glass.

So it was annoying when S.W.s and the Hitchhikers Guide started called robots androids.

As to the o.p. I think that the replicants were mechanical constructs, but were actually people (though not the same as us), and while they had emotions programmed into them, the fluffy ones like love, compassion etc. weren't included.
#14
Old 12-26-2011, 10:17 PM
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It dates the movie somewhat re the notion that you can't tell the replicant from a human being when a simply DNA profile would deduce it immediately if you have the replicants genomes on file, which they certainly should. The movie Bladerunner was released in 1982 which is based a book published in 1968..

Genetic ID testing took off with the advent of PCR analysis which debuted in 1983.

The movie was so elegantly done sometimes we forget the science in the movie is 30-50 years old. Trying to parse out whether the replicants were physcially "real" humans or not is going to be an exercise in frustration.

Last edited by astro; 12-26-2011 at 10:20 PM.
#15
Old 12-26-2011, 10:23 PM
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We see Hannibal Chew the engineer
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:04 AM
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I was originally going to say I thought of them as sort of 'organic robots' akin to Ash and Bishop in the Alien films. But then someone reminded me that, physically, they were impossible to spot, requiring the VK test, so obviously they must be essentially cloned humans (like the also present cloned animals). Considering that Tyrell Corp. gave them four year life spans I also find it impossible to believe that they wouldn't have also insured that Replicants could not, under any circumstances, procreate. Either with each other or with humans.

Something really disturbing I believe about this film, if & when cloned humans like that are achieved I can't help but think that this is precisely how it will happen. An incredibly big, wealthy, technically advanced corporation will be the one to first make them, and they will immediately be viewed as nothing other than product, not soul-having sentient beings equal to humans. Even if they're not immediately exploited like they are in the film, it will still be a long, painful, legal, moral, religious battle to ever consider them equal to us. I just can't see it happening any other way.

And its a battle that I don't hope to live to see!
#17
Old 12-28-2011, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
It dates the movie somewhat re the notion that you can't tell the replicant from a human being when a simply DNA profile would deduce it immediately if you have the replicants genomes on file, which they certainly should. The movie Bladerunner was released in 1982 which is based a book published in 1968..

Genetic ID testing took off with the advent of PCR analysis which debuted in 1983.

The movie was so elegantly done sometimes we forget the science in the movie is 30-50 years old. Trying to parse out whether the replicants were physcially "real" humans or not is going to be an exercise in frustration.

The book mentions that in order to collect his bounty the replicant has to undergo a bone marrow test.
#18
Old 12-29-2011, 12:32 PM
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Just to disagree with a couple small points:

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Originally Posted by Astral Rejection View Post
Pris befriends Sebastian, becoming perhaps his only friend in the world.
I don't think she "liked" Sebastian. She was just using him to get access to Tyrell.

Quote:
Roy is deeply affected by the death of each of the replicants.
But he doesn't seem to mind killing bunches of other people. Specifically, he kills Sebastian after killing Tyrell. Tyrell, I could sort of see, as Tyrell was the man behind the replicants features (dying in four years, for example), and created this "race" of slaves. But Sebastian? Sebastian was harmless, and wouldn't have been able to lead the police to Roy.

Roy also kills the Chinese guys cooking eyeballs for a living. "If you only knew what I have seen with your eyes."
#19
Old 12-29-2011, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Astral Rejection View Post
What leads me to my conclusion is that we don't really see humans express much emotion anywhere else in the movie, much less during the VK test.
We never see a human take the VK test.
#20
Old 12-29-2011, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by grude View Post
Remember how Rachel's implanted memories of an average upbringing made her resistent to the test? It was probably only because of Deckard's suspicions that he kept going so long she tripped up. Didn't she pass one question because it insinuated lesbianism which she got angry at? If you woke up in a tank of goo a few years before you'd probably miss that, I mean what concept would you have of your own sexuality? To me it seemed the VK was looking to ask oddly phrased or insulting questions that someone with no values or identity would not realize.
Rachel actually blew the question about the photo of a nude woman on a bearskin rug. The woman in the photo is a red herring, Rachel should have been horrified by the rug.

Something that's only hinted at in the movie but is a major theme in the book is that animals are largely extinct and humans (but apparently not replicants) have a high regard for animal life. It's not just because animals are rare and thus valuable, it's because it's considered spiritually important/beneficial for humans to care for animals. IIRC humans believe that they naturally have more empathy than replicants and that this is why they care more about animals, but this reverence for animals is obviously cultural rather than innate so it may be that replicants simply don't have the chance to learn to respect animals the way humans do. Anyway, most of the VK questions we hear about have to do with how animals should be treated.

As for the OP, I don't think it's clear whether replicants are entirely flesh and blood, but they certainly do seem to be mostly flesh and blood. They might have some mechanical or electronic components or non-human genetic material, but they can't be just robots or it would be easier to tell them apart from non-replicants.

Last edited by Lamia; 12-29-2011 at 03:18 PM.
#21
Old 12-29-2011, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
As for the OP, I don't think it's clear whether replicants are entirely flesh and blood, but they certainly do seem to be mostly flesh and blood. They might have some mechanical or electronic components or non-human genetic material, but they can't be just robots or it would be easier to tell them apart from non-replicants.
That's the thing, though. Any physical object could be scanned for. (Even non-magnetic stuff.) With the technology levels displayed in the movie, MRI stuff should be childs play, and no need for a VK.

Full spectrum medical scanners were shown in Star Trek: The Motion Picture being used on the Ilea replacement-droid, so the concept was out there in Hollywood land.
#22
Old 12-29-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Zebra View Post
The book mentions that in order to collect his bounty the replicant has to undergo a bone marrow test.
Right, either they are A: humans (more or less) or they are B: androids who can dip their hands in boiling water with no ill effects. They cant be both. Anyone whose skin was so tough as to easily withstand boiling water could be detectable without any psychological testing.
#23
Old 12-29-2011, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mlees View Post
That's the thing, though. Any physical object could be scanned for. (Even non-magnetic stuff.) With the technology levels displayed in the movie, MRI stuff should be childs play, and no need for a VK.
I don't think the movie gives us enough information to know what kinds of scans could be performed or whether this would be easier/cheaper than administering the VK test.
#24
Old 12-29-2011, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
I don't think the movie gives us enough information to know what kinds of scans could be performed or whether this would be easier/cheaper than administering the VK test.
I concede the point.
#25
Old 12-29-2011, 07:05 PM
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R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots. By Karel Capek in 1921. Everybody remembers that the play invented the word robot, but almost nobody knows what it was about (including me until I read it recently).

The robots that the play is about are artificial humans, made from a protoplasm-like substance and anatomically simplified to be able to easily manufacture. They are incapable of being told apart from humans from mere appearance, but at first they do not have emotions or even feel pain. In fact, they have a limited lifespan as well and no reproductive ability. Over the course of the play they are given more and more humanity. They are taught to use weapons and replace all the world's soldiers. They then rebel and kill off every human in the world, except one. However, the secret of their protoplasm is also destroyed so they're now screwed. In an epilogue, it turns out that the last model robots have the ability to feel love for one another and that magically gives them the power to have babies. Adam and Eve - yes, literally with those names - will repopulate the world.

I don't remember if any biography talks about Dick reading the play (or seeing one of its many revivals) but the coincidences are thick on the ground, even more so in the movie version which discards most of Dick's boring obsession with animals. The play's moral is that humanness isn't about physiology but emotions. If you look at it that way, the replicants are as human as the humans. Or as not-human as the humans, which I think is more Dick's view of the world.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
I don't think the movie gives us enough information to know what kinds of scans could be performed or whether this would be easier/cheaper than administering the VK test.
For that matter, Deckard is briefed on the escaped replicants and shown production-line pictures of each. How hard would it have been to give those same pics to the Tyrell corporate security people, who could've spotted recent-hire Leon instantly?
#27
Old 12-29-2011, 08:42 PM
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For that matter, Deckard is briefed on the escaped replicants and shown production-line pictures of each. How hard would it have been to give those same pics to the Tyrell corporate security people, who could've spotted recent-hire Leon instantly?
Seems to me to be one of those plot holes that's not a plot hole. Tyrell might know full well who and where each of the replicants are, but for whatever reason consider it convenient or less messy to have a captured and re-programmed replicant believe he's a cop and go off murdering the others, rather than having their human staff go and do the work. "You've done a man's job, sir!"

Last edited by Koxinga; 12-29-2011 at 08:44 PM.
#28
Old 12-29-2011, 08:46 PM
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Are the replicants in Blade Runner actually human?
No, they're biological androids. The movie's "Voight-Kampff test" scene is meant to draw attention this by suggesting a crucial difference (empathy) in the Replicant's psychological makeup. When Leon realizes what the test is and that he is failing it, he kills the Tyrell employee administering it to him.

If anyone disagrees with my assessment, feel free to tell me.
#29
Old 12-29-2011, 09:18 PM
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I concur with Astral Rejection's take, though I'd add that possibly there are passionate humans still around - they've just all migrated to the offworld colonies. The bummed-out losers who couldn't summon the energy and pass the physicals remain on Earth, wallowing in its rain-soaked smog-choked decay.
#30
Old 12-29-2011, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
When Leon realizes what the test is and that he is failing it, he kills the Tyrell employee administering it to him.

If anyone disagrees with my assessment, feel free to tell me.
Minor correction: Leon kills "Holden," another cop/Blade Runner.

When Bryant has Gaff fetch Deckard and bring him in, Deckard tells Bryant something along the line sof "Give it to Holden, he's good."

Bryant: "I did. He can breathe okay, as long as no one unplugs him."

ETA: added relevant bit from Theopane's post.

Last edited by ExTank; 12-29-2011 at 09:30 PM.
#31
Old 12-30-2011, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Koxinga View Post
Seems to me to be one of those plot holes that's not a plot hole. Tyrell might know full well who and where each of the replicants are, but for whatever reason consider it convenient or less messy to have a captured and re-programmed replicant believe he's a cop and go off murdering the others, rather than having their human staff go and do the work. "You've done a man's job, sir!"
I really doubt that Tyrell Corp. would be inclined to let a replicant whom they employ, Leon, shoot and nearly kill an LAPD detective, Holden, on the corporate premises.
#32
Old 12-30-2011, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Hail Ants View Post
I was originally going to say I thought of them as sort of 'organic robots' akin to Ash and Bishop in the Alien films
I prefer the term "Artificial Person" myself.
#33
Old 12-30-2011, 12:54 PM
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Tyrell might know full well who and where each of the replicants are, but for whatever reason consider it convenient or less messy to have a captured and re-programmed replicant believe he's a cop and go off murdering the others, rather than having their human staff go and do the work.
That didn't happen in the movie I saw.
#34
Old 01-03-2013, 06:15 PM
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Replicants in Blade Runner

I agree with most of your comments on the film. In particulasr at the start i felt Leon could well respond this way if autistic. Autistics are humans - is the film suggesting some autistic behaviour can be deemed inhuman, preventing people recognising they are simply a minority part of a normal distribution curve?
#35
Old 01-03-2013, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
It dates the movie somewhat re the notion that you can't tell the replicant from a human being when a simply DNA profile would deduce it immediately if you have the replicants genomes on file, which they certainly should. The movie Bladerunner was released in 1982 which is based a book published in 1968..

Genetic ID testing took off with the advent of PCR analysis which debuted in 1983.

The movie was so elegantly done sometimes we forget the science in the movie is 30-50 years old. Trying to parse out whether the replicants were physcially "real" humans or not is going to be an exercise in frustration.

Right. Any creature that can stick his hand into boiling water like that has to have different DNA.

Which asks the question: why not just test the replicants with a drop of boiling water?
#36
Old 01-03-2013, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Right. Any creature that can stick his hand into boiling water like that has to have different DNA.

Which asks the question: why not just test the replicants with a drop of boiling water?
Yeah, that scene always bugged the hell out of me.
#37
Old 01-03-2013, 11:30 PM
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Read the book way back when, and saw the movie when it first came out ... here's how I explain the Replicants: they aren't clones exactly, they are assembled from biological "parts", grown in vats separately. The organs and bones, etc., are mass produced by specialists. Combining the parts results in a being with no parent except perhaps the original cell donations upon which the genetic code for the vat "meat" is based.
Since we don't know what progress will be made in medical and genetic science, we can't presume that humans, having perhaps had medical procedures involving replaced organs or novel cell or virus therapy, can be reliable differentiated from Replicants. Maybe the tests to identify manufactured pseudo-humans give false positives for transplant patients with "grown" organs or limbs.
I wouldn't be too sure that human tissue couldn't be resistant to freezing temps, like the liquid nitrogen that Batty reached into, or to the boiling water Priss grabbed the egg from.
Again, futurist medical treatments may involve genetic changes in human patients that mimic the altered flesh or tissue of the Androids.
#38
Old 01-04-2013, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Astral Rejection View Post
What leads me to my conclusion is that we don't really see humans express much emotion anywhere else in the movie, much less during the VK test.
The movie mostly features replicants. What actual humans do we see who don't display expected emotion? Vague references to jadedness aren't good enough. Who exactly doesn't emote in exactly what way? Most of the humans we see are hard boiled cops, extras who are given about as much chance to display emotion as any extra is, and Tyrell. They may not be emoting much, but in what way would you expect them to?

Last edited by Princhester; 01-04-2013 at 12:17 AM.
#39
Old 01-04-2013, 12:40 AM
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Tyrell had some replicant in him, mostly in his eyes.
#40
Old 01-04-2013, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Right. Any creature that can stick his hand into boiling water like that has to have different DNA.
There are humans with only human DNA who are insensitive to pain. This recent New York Times piece on the subject actually opens with a story about a girl reaching into a pot of boiling water.

Quote:
Which asks the question: why not just test the replicants with a drop of boiling water?
Seems like it would be pretty easy for a replicant to feign pain in this situation, provided they can sense changes in temperature. They apparently cannot bluff their way through the VK test, though. Even Rachel was identified as a replicant through the VK test, it just took longer than usual.
#41
Old 01-04-2013, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
Tyrell had some replicant in him, mostly in his eyes.
[Mini Me]Do you have a little clone in you? Would you like to?[/mini me]
#42
Old 01-04-2013, 01:25 AM
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Looked at closely enough, could any of us really pass a Turing test? If we did, would we really be human?

I think we are over-thinking the movie. Everyone in it is human, even if they are artificial in whole or in part. But nobody is perfect. Being perfect would exclude one from being human. Creating flawed creatures to exploit them is wrong. So is exploiting any creature. Tyrell deliberately created humans to enslave them and made them flawed. This in itself was human hubris. He was no more or less human than his creations.
#43
Old 01-04-2013, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Sitnam View Post
Would you step into a transporter, be broken down into your molecular makeup and destroyed in the process, recreated on Mars by a machine with the exact information?

Would that be you?
Not willingly.

It would only be me if the consciousness(for lack of a better word) from this body made the trip. If my consciousness is destroyed with the rest of my body I'm dead. If I don't physically(again for lack of a better word) wake up in the destination, the reconstructed body, no matter how much it resembles my body or my personality, is somebody else.

If I'm not there, it's not me.
#44
Old 01-04-2013, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
There are humans with only human DNA who are insensitive to pain. This recent New York Times piece on the subject actually opens with a story about a girl reaching into a pot of boiling water.

Seems like it would be pretty easy for a replicant to feign pain in this situation, provided they can sense changes in temperature. They apparently cannot bluff their way through the VK test, though. Even Rachel was identified as a replicant through the VK test, it just took longer than usual.

I am not talking about the pain, how do you fake the scalding and blister? Note that the girl in your article was still burned, she just didnt feel the pain.
#45
Old 01-04-2013, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
It dates the movie somewhat re the notion that you can't tell the replicant from a human being when a simply DNA profile would deduce it immediately if you have the replicants genomes on file, which they certainly should. The movie Bladerunner was released in 1982 which is based a book published in 1968..

Genetic ID testing took off with the advent of PCR analysis which debuted in 1983.

The movie was so elegantly done sometimes we forget the science in the movie is 30-50 years old. Trying to parse out whether the replicants were physcially "real" humans or not is going to be an exercise in frustration.

In the book, Deckard gets a bounty for each kill. But to confirm it, they have to test the bone marrow of the 'replicant'.

Also Deckard is saving money so he can buy an electric sheep. The religion in the book tells everyone they should have a pet but animals are very scarce. So there are electric animals, with gears and such but most people can't tell the difference. His neighbor has a horse, which lives in a pen on the roof of the apt building. Deckard doesn't realize it is not a real horse.
#46
Old 01-04-2013, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
Rachel actually blew the question about the photo of a nude woman on a bearskin rug. The woman in the photo is a red herring, Rachel should have been horrified by the rug.
You are mistaken, there is no mention of a bearskin rug, you must have subconsciously filled that in. And since there are lots of manufactured animals in the movie, it might not really matter, what if it was from an artificial bear? You might be more inclined to think she blew the question about killing the wasp on her arm. Except, these were among the first few questions, Deckard said it took over a hundred. And really, he was not really looking for answers, he was looking for autonomic responses. Correct answers can easily be trained for.
#47
Old 01-04-2013, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Right. Any creature that can stick his hand into boiling water like that has to have different DNA.

Which asks the question: why not just test the replicants with a drop of boiling water?
High heat resistance might not be a standard feature on all replicants. Note that Roy doesn't stick his hand in the water - he has Leon do it for him. Leon was a heavy labor model, who was used in dangerous working conditions. The other replicants probably don't have this modification.

Last edited by Miller; 01-04-2013 at 12:58 PM.
#48
Old 01-04-2013, 01:14 PM
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I don't think being resistant to burns is a feature of each and every replicant. Of course, Pris is a "standard pleasure model", and she can reach into boiling water.

But even if the cops can't use "not resistant to burns" as an indication that the subject is a human, they could use "resistant to burns" as an indication that the subject is a replicant.

Anyway, it's a minor plot discrepancy. It makes more sense thematically for the VK test to test emotional response. If they have a DNA sequencer then it isn't as interesting.
#49
Old 01-04-2013, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
I am not talking about the pain, how do you fake the scalding and blister? Note that the girl in your article was still burned, she just didn’t feel the pain.
I think there would be ethical problems with subjecting humans to a test where they would have to be physically harmed to prove that they're not replicants, and I don't know that the physical response to such an injury would be consistent enough among humans to make a reliable test.

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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
I don't think being resistant to burns is a feature of each and every replicant. Of course, Pris is a "standard pleasure model", and she can reach into boiling water.
FWIW I have seen some fan speculation that Pris and Zhora were mixed up by the police, and that Zhora was actually the pleasure model and Pris was the one with superhuman strength and endurance.

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Originally Posted by For You View Post
You are mistaken, there is no mention of a bearskin rug, you must have subconsciously filled that in.
You're right, I just checked YouTube and it's not in the movie, but it is in the book. It's made explicit in the book that Rachel's failure to react to the bearskin rug is what makes Deckard begin to think of her as a replicant. He was already suspicious and he's not totally certain even after the bearskin rug question, but this is the first question where he thinks "An android response."

Quote:
And since there are lots of manufactured animals in the movie, it might not really matter, what if it was from an artificial bear?
As I mentioned before, the cultural significance of animals is largely dropped from the movie, but in the book the possibility of an artificial bear presumably wouldn't have made a lot of difference in a human's emotional response to the question. Killing an animal would be as offensive to them as killing a baby, maybe even worse. A human probably would not have thought "Well, maybe it's not a real bearskin", and even if they did the notion of decorating with synthetic animal pelts would be about as grotesque as decorating with synthetic baby corpses. Another VK question included in the book involves a room decorated with bullfighting posters, and this is supposed to upset a human even though they're just illustrations and bullfighting hasn't existed for many years.

Quote:
You might be more inclined to think she blew the question about killing the wasp on her arm. Except, these were among the first few questions, Deckard said it took over a hundred. And really, he was not really looking for answers, he was looking for autonomic responses. Correct answers can easily be trained for.
The look Deckard gives her after the wasp question in the movie suggests to me that he's surprised or offended by her answer, but there's variation in the level of empathy among humans and one missed question apparently isn't enough to prove someone's a replicant. In the book there's a hierarchy of animals with some being more valuable than others, and the correct response to the banquet-of-oysters-and-dog question is apparently supposed to be that both are offensive but eating a dog is worse. So it may be that killing a wasp is considered bad, but not inhumanly bad.

As for training for the correct answers, this could only be done if replicants knew what the correct answers were supposed to be. Replicants may know enough about humans to correctly guess what they're supposed to say in response to most of the questions and Deckard is thus primarily interested in measuring their emotional response, but if someone gives the wrong verbal answer then of course Deckard is going to notice that too.

Last edited by Lamia; 01-04-2013 at 02:03 PM.
#50
Old 01-04-2013, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by John DiFool View Post
If they are basically human in a biological sense, I wonder if Scott screwed up when he had Pris flop around like a dying fish after Deckard shot her for the first time, which might seem to indicate that they have machine parts (or at least machine programming).
I've always thought she was throwing a tantrum.
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