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‘Blade Runner’ Ending Explained: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

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‘Blade Runner’ Ending Explained: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

The science-fiction film Blade Runner seemed to lean heavily towards the fiction half of the genre upon its release. Now in the year 2022, it doesn’t seem like that far-fetched of a topic, despite the film taking place in the fictional dystopian year of 2019. While we have had to deal with a form of dystopia ourselves in the past few years, the film’s dystopia focuses more on the prompt of utilizing synthetic humans labeled as replicants. Simply put, they’re androids made to be almost identical to humans. The film was an adaptation of the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, written by Phillip K. Dick in 1968. Taking that timeframe into consideration, it’s clear to say that we have been pondering the moral choices and consequences that science and technology can offer us for many years, but what does Blade Runner have to say when it comes to the moral dilemma that happens when humans play God?

The biggest question that the film asks is what it means to be human, and if that definition can ever fit with something that is not an organically made human. In this instance, it’s the synthetic replicants that ask that question. Throughout the movie it is shown that replicants can be implanted with memories to believe that they are human, and from the replicant’s perspective it is indistinguishable from actually being human. This is a terrifying thought, as it would mean that any replicant could be informed that their entire life was artificially implanted into them and that it is all fake. This also poses an issue because it means that, from one’s own perspective, anyone could potentially be a replicant and not know it. Is the ability for a creature to have humanity simply gatekept by their ability to believe they are human?

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The film uses the Voight-Kampff test, which is a test used to invoke specific reactions from those taking it. The purpose of this test is to tell replicants apart from humans. However, the CEO of the company that created the replicants, Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), made Rachel (Sean Young), a replicant who genuinely believes she is human. While the test is usually 20-30 questions to tell the difference, it took the protagonist Deckard (Harrison Ford) over 100 questions to figure out that she was a replicant. This shows that replicants are beginning to become so similar to humans that only the most perceptive of individuals would be able to tell the difference. It was one thing to bioengineer a creature that behaves like a human, but to make one that is so deceptive that it even fools itself takes the technology further into the realms of moral ambiguity.


RELATED: Ridley Scott Reveals a Live-Action ‘Blade Runner’ TV Series Is in the Works

The ending of Blade Runner puts all of these moral questions into perspective. One of the replicants that Deckard was assigned to “retire” went by the name of Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer). This replicant is, narratively speaking, the main antagonist of the film. However, while Roy had gone on a journey that involved murdering the equivalent of his god, in the moment when he could have watched the man who killed his friends fall from a great height that would seal his fate, the replicant instead chose to save Deckard. Despite the hatred that Roy had for humanity, he grabbed onto Deckard and pulled him up, saving his life after stating how it’s “quite an experience to live in fear…that’s what it is to be a slave.” Perhaps in this moment, seeing Deckard so helpless, Roy finally got to feel like the master instead of the slave. Roy does not let Deckard die and instead tells him that he’s “seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.” Those are his final words before perishing and it is how Roy shows Deckard that, despite being a replicant, he has memories that will fade just like any human would. Even if he was not a human because of the way he was made, he was human in the way that he lived and died. It didn’t matter to Roy that he wasn’t technically a human, because he showed humanity through the way he lived, through all the emotions that humans feel and express throughout their lifetimes. Pity, fear, hatred, love. Replicants showed these emotions just as well as any human, so did it matter that they were created artificially instead of being born?


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Deckard doesn’t seem to think so at the end of the movie, as the final scene depicts him running off with Rachel, the two of whom had developed feelings towards one another throughout the film’s progression. Both of them know that Rachel is a replicant, but they do not let this fact get in the way of how they feel towards one another. And so, the film ends with the protagonist having changed their views on replicants, and their fates are left ambiguous.

Blade Runner, at its core, is a film about humanity as a whole. Part of the structure of the Voight-Kampff test relies on the emotional response of those taking the test with regards to animals, the likes of which have almost entirely been wiped out as a result of humanity’s ignorance and selfishness. Thus, genuine living animals are very rare and seen as a precious commodity within the world. The entire setting of Blade Runner is a direct outcome of what the world might look like if humans became so focused on themselves that they lost sight of any other forms of life. This is exemplified when they go so far as to create new life themselves and then deny that life as living at all. The selfishness of humans to see themselves as the only life worth recognizing reflects a theme that is scarily similar to what we may see in our lives today. Animals continue to go extinct and lose their homes due to the interference of humans, and the ill-temper of a few people could cause devastating harm to life as a whole.


What the film hopes to have you take away from its ending is simply this: we as humans must not let the acknowledgement of our own lives take precedent over the lives of other living creatures, for if we ignore the life of nature then we shall surely mourn the death that we bring it, and should we ever dare to make ourselves gods then we must prepare to treat our creations as alive as we are. This message rings truer the more we recklessly destroy our planet and the closer we get to the development of self-aware artificial intelligence. Perhaps we will find ourselves in our own version of the Blade Runner universe not too long from now. Let us hope that we can accept the lessons that the film has to offer and never get to that reality.


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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