Adaptations Andtransformations Comparative Essay

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Film noir is a genre of cinematic film marked by a menacing, fatalistic tone that is achieved through characteristics such as infinite, unbroken darkness. Cyberpunk, conversely, is a genre of science fiction, set in a society that is tyrannised by the advancement of computer technology. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s original science fiction novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? combines certain cyberpunk and film noir conventions to achieve a metropolis bathed in darkness, rather than a barren city that is decaying with the fallout of nuclear war. Scott disregards Dick’s multitude of metaphysical themes, such as the nature of humanity and the longstanding rivalry between materialism and dualism. Rather, he amplifies capitalism and Deckard’s ethical dilemma as central concerns. By omitting and altering parts of the original narrative and effectively using cinematic techniques and consumeristic symbolism, Scott’s Blade Runner suggests that replicants have an unvalidated worth and challenges the hypocrisy of the humans in the context of the narrative.

The omission of certain parts of the original narrative in turn eliminates certain characters and central concerns from the film adaptation. Thus, the social characterisation of the main protagonist, Rick Deckard is altered and Scott’s interpretation is directed at the vulnerability and maltreatment of the replicants. A great deal of the narrative orientation is omitted, including the establishment of the “mood organ” and Deckard’s wife, Iran. The complete elimination of the “mood organ”, a device used for “artificial brain stimulation”, completely eliminates Dick’s concern with the subdued persistence of the soul, the longstanding rivalry between scientific progression and our notion of the ethereal, immeasurable component of our existence. Furthermore, the relationship with Iran is a fairly redundant element of Deckard’s social characterisation, and so the omission of it...
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