Frankenstein and Blade Runner

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Mary Shelley’s iconic novel, Frankenstein, and Ridley Scott’s cinematographic masterpiece, Blade Runner, are, on the surface, remarkably dissimilar, not solely in terms of medium, but in absolute contextual disparity. They are, of course, very much products of their time, affected and inspired by the conundrums and pessimistic predictions of their own cultural and societal contexts; condemnations of each respective composer's predictions for humanity. It is interesting to note, therefore, that both texts are alike in their thematic complexity, however differently these timeless themes are expressed, and that the textual techniques of both only serve to heighten the inevitable character, plot and thematic comparisons which have inevitably occurred, as is to be expected of a film whole prophetic quality and social significance are timeless, and a novel which was to become an irrefutable literary classic. It is important to note that the world of Mary Shelley in 1818 bore a striking resemblance to that of Ridley Scott in the early 1980’s, and indeed, this is the underlying catalyst for the contemporary cultural significance of the texts. The 1800’s for example, was a time of Revolution and Industrialism; a time in which scientific advances by the likes of Erasmus Darwin and Andrew Crosse, as well as a general ascent of idealistic romanticism, had colossal influence upon not only society; but upon Shelley’s pathetic fallacy and sensory imagery-laden writing style. One must recognise the stark analogy amidst such a time of scientific ambition and the 1980’s, a time when, similarly, rampant computerisation threatened to render the labour of man irrelevant, as scientific experimentation in genetic engineering and globalisation shook the very foundations of morality and ethical thought. Within Blade Runner too, irrefutably a condemnation of the future implications of such a time, Scott utilises establishing shots and neon, filtered lighting to intimidate; to illuminate a...
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