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“2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner – The Directors Cut”

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There have been many science fiction films made and many of them have been highly rated. Although there have been so many highly rated science fiction films none of them have reached the level of the two greatest science fiction films of all time and they are “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner – The Directors Cut”. These two films, in over twenty years have never been bettered and they have been the inspiration for many films. They are really the foundations of any science fiction film. On the outside these two films look very different and look like they have nothing in common.

Through extensive reading on these films there is more in common with each of them then first thought. There are many concepts in each film that many writers have gone into. There are also many writers that contradict each other. The writing on each of the films have been very good because there are so many different ways of looking at each film and each writer has chosen what they see in the film to write about. The “York Film Notes – Blade Runner” was a very unbiased book. The book went into a lot of the theories of the film; it also went into detail on each character, which was very useful in order to understand them.

One aspect the book was particularly good on was the technology that is in the film. The book explained in great detail some of the gadgets that weren’t explained in the film. “Studying film” contained a lot of useful information again into the theory of both films. The problem with this book was that it never really went too deep into the films. It only really went into the surface of the films; this is probably due to the fact that the book isn’t really about the two films but just films in general. The book did inform me about such aspects as ‘Tech Noir’ and ‘Utopian/Dystopian’. Some books tended not to be so useful.

These books included the “Making of Blade Runner”. This book was more about the physical making of the film. It went into how they built the sets and how they did the special effects. It never really went into the theory of the film. The only parts of the book that did go into the theory of the film was when the author was talking about the writer and the director discussing the storyline and what needed to be changed. This book also went into the ‘Is Deckard a replicant? ‘ argument. The book didn’t really go into the argument but all about the speculation surrounding the argument.

There was also a large section in the book about the original “Blade Runner” and the changes they had to make before the release of the ‘Directors Cut’. Another book that was not very useful was “Ridley Scott, The Making of his Movies”. This book was short write-ups on Ridley Scott films. There was very little written on “Blade Runner”. Again it was about the way that Ridley Scott made the film and his troubles with making it and so on. Using websites was difficult because much of it was the writer’s own personal opinion. The writers also went too deep into the film.

One site went into some hidden messages in “Blade Runner”, these included the fact that the number twenty three kept coming up in the film, such as Deckards apartment number added together and another characters birth date also added up to twenty three. The website went into the fact that “Blade Runner” is racist in the way that replicants are just like humans that are built and humans are using them for certain tasks that they were designed for. The writer said that this was slavery and says that its just history repeating itself. This was irrelevant to the study and could be argued with.

Other websites were very useful such as the one that was purely based on the Deckard as replicant argument. This website went into great detail on both sides of the case. It even went into it in more detail than the two official “Blade Runner” books. The extracts from the “Sight and Sound” publications, all provided useful and interesting information on both films especially “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The magazine has been running for over fifty years and they have some very well established writers. Once again this publication is very unbiased and goes into the theory of the film and the theory of science fiction films in general.

The article on “2001: A Space Odyssey” called “A Skeleton Key to 2001″ provided very useful information as this article broke down the whole film and explained it all a piece at a time. The article went into great detail about the mysterious monolith. Not many other books or articles went into as much detail, other books looked at the monolith trying to work out what it was and where it came from. The article stated that 1″The monolith is not only a device from the stars. It is the fiction in the science fiction”. This is what tells me that the basis of the film is and what makes it a science fiction film.

Basic science fiction characteristics Dystopian/Utopian Science fiction films usually fit into either the dystopian or the utopian lifestyles. This tends to be because the writer’s vision of the future is usually an extreme, either the best place in the world or the worst place imaginable, a writer would want to make the future as far away from our reality as possible. After the opening ‘Dawn of Man’ sequence in “2001: A Space Odyssey” it shows an almost perfect life the characters live or in the utopian lifestyle. This is both shown in the ‘The Lunar Journey’ and ‘The Jupiter Mission’.

Although the characters are at work they have everything provided for them from food to comfort and entertainment. Everything is clean and tidy and very comfortable. They don’t have to move chairs as its done electronically as well as having phone/video calls directed to where ever they are. The characters almost want for nothing. “Blade Runner” is the complete opposite of this. As soon as the film starts you can see what Los Angles; maybe the world has become and has been described as 2″Visions of a technologically saturated near future”.

Totally run by corporations with high rise buildings everywhere and small very dirty marketplaces. People talk different languages and are all very poor. There is no sun because 3″There has been an ecological disaster that has polluted the atmosphere, virtually obliterating the sun”. This is a typical dystopian lifestyle with the only advantage of having advanced technology. “Blade Runner” with the technology and dystopian lifestyle has been described as 4″techno-dystopic”. This is the first obvious difference between these two films, the way people live in the future.

Characters Characters are one of the main parts of any movie. Without characters in a movie, there is no movie. 5″Characters are usually required to involve us in a film”. “2001: A Space Odyssey” is different. The film has characters but there is no real main character, no hero, and no emotions shown. We learn nothing about the characters. This is due to the film being over two hours long with less than forty minutes of dialogue. With the lack of dialogue we, the audience, don’t learn anything about any of the characters. The only character we get to know is David Bowman.

He is not really a hero for shutting down HAL 9000 all he was doing was what anyone else in his position would do and that is to survive. With the very little dialogue the few characters only talk about their mission and only twice in the film we are shown their family. The first time with the father wishing his daughter a happy birthday and again later on in the film two parents wishing their son a happy birthday. Both of these times are over a videophone and never in person. “Blade Runner” is the complete opposite. It has a main character, which is Deckard. He is a hero to the audience and someone to root for.

We can also sympathies with him because he is being blackmailed into working for the police and for his love for Rachel because she is a replicant. We also learn about Deckards past where he talks about his emotions. The film also includes other characters that play a great part in the film. This includes Batty, the evil replicant. Even though he is a replicant he has emotions that he also talks about. This shows that to make a great science fiction film you can have any kind of character from deep emotional heroes to characters that we have only entered into their lives at a specific stage and we don’t learn anything about them.

Other Basic Science Fiction Characteristics Talking in a broad sense of all science fiction films, they tend to stick to the same characteristics. With “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner” neither one of these films follow basic science fiction characteristics. This shows that they are more advanced than most science fiction films today. The first point is aliens. Aliens have played a great part in many science fiction films including the “Alien” saga and many other films. The use of aliens in films is used because the film can’t be wrong.

This is because mankind has never seen an alien so whatever it will look like in a film no one can dispute it. This is a very safe technique. Both “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner” don’t really go into what they don’t know. The two films are a look at the writer’s vision of what could be a possible future for mankind. Another point is both “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner” are both adaptations from novels. They are not written for the screen. Films that are written for the screen tend to have a lot of special effects and action and everything else that the audience loves to see.

An example of this would be the more recent James Bond films. Films that come from novels tend to be a lot deeper. They tend to have deeper meanings and alternative concepts. “2001: A Space Odyssey” was written as a short story by Arthur C Clarke titled “The Sentinel” and “Blade Runner” was written by Phillip K Dick titled “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ” Advanced Science Fiction Characteristics Chess Matches Both “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner” are very deep films. They both have underlining meanings. The first one is the chess match in both films.

Chess has been described as the royal game of life. In both films it is the human against the machines. Also in both films it is the machines that wins the match. Throughout both films it is the computers that are trying to be more human or show feelings as much as possible, but why is it that the machines win both times? Is it due to the machines playing like machines, working out billions of combinations in seconds or are the machines playing like humans by making sacrifices and mistakes? This could also be related to the rest of the film.

In “2001: A Space Odyssey” the computer HAL 9000 didn’t expect David Bowman to dive through space without oxygen to get back in the spaceship. To the computer this would be an unexpected move and would never be calculated because to the computer it would seem impossible. This shows the difference between the way computers think compared with humans. Humans are prepared to try almost anything in order to survive and this is what a computer can’t understand, it can only work out calculations. ‘Tech Noir’ ‘Tech noir’ is a fairly new term. It is a cross between a science fiction film and a film noir.

For a science fiction film to be classed as ‘tech noir’ shows that it has great recognition. The first film to be classed as a ‘tech noir’ was actually “2001: A Space Odyssey”. 6″2001 has led to the emergence of an entirely new sub-genre: ‘tech noir'” This was due to its strange new look at science fiction. It was different from every other science fiction film at the time. “Blade Runner” on the other hand took longer to be classed as a tech noir. It wasn’t classed as a tech noir until the second release titled “Blade Runner – The Directors Cut” that it got the classification it deserved.

Other films that are classified as ‘tech noir’ include “Terminator”, “Terminator 2”, “Westworld”, and “Logans Run”. Technology The main themes that run through both films are the machines. This is another characteristic of science fiction films, having technology that doesn’t exist yet. Both films show the drawbacks of this technology. “2001: A Space Odyssey” has HAL 9000. This is supposed to be the most advanced computer ever built. It is used in the film to fly the spacecraft to Jupiter. That is not all it can do, it controls every other aspect of the spacecraft including foreseeing faults in the ship before they happen.

This is one of the reason why this is a utopia as the crew have to do nothing for themselves. “Blade Runner” has the replicants. These are like human copies but designed to do a specific job such as battle or pleasure. 7″Los Angeles in 2019 as the setting for Blade Runner (1982) is made more convincing by the addition of high tech equipment, flying craft and futuristic gadgets” We are shown a lot more technology in “Blade Runner” with devices such as a spinner (car), videophones and 3D picture scanners.

It wasn’t just humans they could build but also animals such as snakes and owls. None of the characters in the film have a real animal because they keep saying that they are too expensive, this may be due to there near extinction. This is an advantage of science fiction films as the writer and director can take technology in any direction they want and machines can do what they want. With it being the future no one can disagree. In both cases HAL 9000 and the replicants were designed to make peoples lives easier, and in both cases this was not so.

Even though HAL 9000 was a large supercomputer and the replicants were human copies they were very different and had different methods for killing, they were still both killing machines. The reason why they are killing is quite different. The replicants from “Blade Runner” only have a four-year life span and there mission is to find their creator to make him extend their life and they kill many people along their way to achieve this. HAL 9000 reasons are different. We never really learn why the computer starts killing the crew.

It is possible that it didn’t want the crew to find the monolith, as it could evolve humans so much that HAL 9000 would be useless to them. One thing that HAL 9000 and the replicants have in common is maybe not having emotions but showing them. Throughout the film HAL 9000 says things such as “That was a very enjoyable game”, “I’m afraid”, and “I feel much better”. As with the chess match we don’t actually know if the computer is feeling emotions or if it is just programmed like that. This again occurs in “Blade Runner” with the replicant Rachel.

She shows emotion all through the film. She starts to cry when she finds out she is a replicant. As with Batty he becomes sad when Price dies and then that turns into anger. 8″Batty’s quest for a meaning to life is strikingly human”. This is what any human would do if they were in his position and only had a short time to live. Batty just wants exist like anyone else would. 9″There are points in the film where we are encouraged to wonder whether in fact the replicants are more humane than humans”.

This is to do with the end of the film where Batty saves Deckard just before he dies and after almost killing him decides that even if he does kill him it wont make a difference as he will die any way so decides to help him. Emotions are what really determine humans from machines and with machines having emotions it means that humans are no longer the dominant species. Their deaths Even though the machines are superior to humans in many ways they still didn’t triumph over the humans in both “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner”.

Although their deaths were very different they still had the same feeling at the end. First HAL 9000 died by having its vital components pulled out while he begging for his life. While each one was pulled out it wiped his memory until the point where he was left singing a child’s song. This is when for the first time we feel sorry for HAL 9000 because we know that mentally the machine is nothing more than that of a child’s. HAL 9000 was killed by Bowman pulling out his circuits, this has been described as 10″Murdering Intelligence with a tiny key”. Roy Batty the replicant died when his life span ran out.

Just after saving Deckards life he was telling a great speech that turns the audience from hating him to an almost heroic figure. 11″By the film’s end, Batty has been transformed into a heroic figure who achieves absolution by allowing Deckard to live as he dies”. This shows that the replicants can be just as human as we are. There is also the part where Batty lets go of the dove that flies towards the blue sky. This is the only point in the film where we get to see the sky being anything other than black and there is also the dove that represents peace. This may have been what Batty was after all along.

Advertising Throughout both films there are many advertisements especially in “Blade Runner”. It advertises such products as “Coca-Cola”, “Budweiser” and many others. These are big companies today so they are likely to be bigger companies in the time that the film was set and possibly the downfall of society. 12″Advertising are ubiquitous, blimps hover just above the surface blaring out temptations, seducing people to consume that has lead to the dystopia”. This explains why the earth is the way it is.

Anything that is worth anything is a corporation or belongs to a corporation and they are all building their skyscrapers. 2001: A Space Odyssey” has a fair share of advertising as well with such brands as “Pan Am”, “Hilton Hotel” and “Pacific Bell” telephones. Once again these are big corporations today so they would be even bigger by the time that humans can actually go to Jupiter and they could possibly fund it. Conclusion Although there are many similarities and differences between the two films they still have one same underlining theme and that is the way they look at the future and their search for the meaning of life. “2001: A Space Odyssey” looks for the meaning of life in the monolith.

They don’t know where it came from but still want to learn from it. Through much of my reading it is said that the theory of the monolith is an extra-terrestrial object that teaches the humans the next stage of evolution even though it is never stated in the film. You could even look deeper into the film and it criticises the way we live today. This is shown in the first few scenes with the apes. They are fighting over a water hole and then discover using bones as weapons. Then after the killing, the ape throws the bone into the air and it turns into a nuclear space station.

The space station is nothing more than an advanced bone. This shows that humans may have evolved past apes and are now able to travel through space, although they are no better than the apes. With the way that the film was made by the director, Stanley Kubrick, it leaves a lot to the imagination. This is one of the reasons why the film was not a great success when it was released. The film was made before man had even set foot on the moon, so leaving questions open for an audience that relatively knows nothing about space is understandable why it wasn’t a great success.

Another factor that added to its poor box office was the lack of script with less than forty minutes of dialogue in a two hour long film. The film left questions open such as what was the monolith? Was it from another planet to help us evolve? What was it that sends HAL 9000 mad and why he killed the crew? What was going on at the end? The film was made way too early. It was too far ahead of its time. It wasn’t until later on it got recognition that it deserved. “Blade Runner” also deals with human life but goes more into what makes us human.

We are told and shown all the way through the film that the replicants are bad and that they must be destroyed. They are killers and will stop at nothing. This teaches us to hate and fear the machines. We also have our hero all the way through the film trying to stop them. He is very courageous, he doesn’t fear the replicants and he stops them one by one. This is a story that has been done many times in many different ways. The age-old battle of good versus evil. Films like “Star Wars” and many others. “Blade Runner” is different; it turns the story upside down. It gives us something more to think about.

At the end of “Blade Runner” we are lead to believe that the hero, Deckard is himself a replicant. As with “2001 A: Space Odyssey” we are never told this, it is just the possibility that is put in our head and lets us make up our own mind. There are many reasons for and against the argument if Deckard is a replicant. The best arguments that I have heard stating that Deckard is a replicant is that at the end of the film there is the paper unicorn that was left by the character Gaff. Earlier on in the film Deckard had a dream about a unicorn, this shows that Gaff knew what he was dreaming about because it was programmed.

Also Roy Batty was never told Deckards name yet he knows it. Also when he tells Rachel that someone will come after her his eyes glow in the way that the replicated owls does. The reasons against Deckard being a replicant are that the point of the film is to show the difference between humans and replicants, with Deckard being a replicant there is no contrast. Another reason being that why did the police force trust a replicant to kill other replicants? There are many other theories about whether Deckard is a replicant or not but these are the ones I think have the most credit.

With Deckard being a replicant makes the film more creditable, it makes us think about the difference between the replicants and the humans and in the end there is no real difference. 13″What exactly is the difference between replicants and humans? If one believes that the psychical and biological construction constitutes our humanity, then the replicants in question are very different creatures than us.

But if we insist that our souls transcended our bodies, perhaps we can grant that replicants have souls too, and that there souls make them, at time, as much or even more human than members of our own species. Both films have great underlining universal themes with the search for the meaning of life and finding out what makes us human. No only have both the films been done excellently but both films also tackled the difficulty of making these films within the science fiction genre. “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Blade Runner” are classed as two of the best science fiction films ever made, they have been the inspiration for many films including “Terminator”, “Terminator 2”, “Star Trek – The Motion Picture”, “Contact” and many more.


  • Interpretations of 2001: A Space Odyssey – Wikipedia
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (film) – Wikiquote
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Review (1968) | Roger Ebert
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