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Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant 

Is Deckard a replicant?
Yes, anyone with eyes can see that. 72%  72%  [ 18 ]
No, he's a human and anyone with eyes can see that. 28%  28%  [ 7 ]
Total votes : 25

Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant 
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Post Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
From an off-hand remark from Kunzie comes this poll, is Deckard, from Blade Runner, a replicant?


Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:57 am
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
And he is and anyone who says no is clearly in denial or just seen the theatrical cut.

I mean the unicorn dream and the unicorn origami makes this pretty clear-cut.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:59 am
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
I voted "Yea". It's pretty clear. It's also pretty clear that this is the most spoiler-ific of all polls.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:36 am
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Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Yes, obviously. Even Ridley Scott has said so in interviews.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
I’m somewhat curious in regards to who thinks he’s not a replicate and what his/her justification is. Perhaps a confusion of the source material with the film?


Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:00 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
OF COURSE HE IS!!!!!


Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:14 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Whoever voted no needs to be executed by firing squad. In Utah.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 2:54 pm
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Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Pedro wrote:
Whoever voted no needs to be executed by firing squad. In Utah.


I voted no. Utah eliminated firing squads in 2004.

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Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:47 pm
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Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Ratel wrote:
I’m somewhat curious in regards to who thinks he’s not a replicate and what his/her justification is. Perhaps a confusion of the source material with the film?


I know some people who think Deckard's human and I know Frank Darabount was adamant that Deckard was human in that big-ass documentary with that Ultra-Edition DVD that was released a few years ago.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:57 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
There is no decisive answer, despite indications that tend one way or another. Furthermore, the question of Deckard's humanity is just a rhetorical lead-in to the really relevant question of the film: what is humanity?

But since you d-bags are only interested in strict "yes" and "no" options, I'll see if I can break down the pros and cons of the main point of controversy.

As seen in the director's cut, Deckard dreams of a unicorn. Later, Gaff makes an origami unicorn and leaves it for Deckard to find. This indicates that Deckard may harbor implanted memories in the same way as Rachael, and that Gaff is revealing this information to him for whatever purpose.

But how would Gaff--by all accounts, an ordinary cop--be privy to such information? Remember that Deckard, an elite blade runner, only found out about this sort of thing once his career was ostensibly over. There is the possibility that there's an overarching conspiracy that includes everybody but Deckard, but the movie doesn't provide any evidence to suggest that this is so, and it certainly doesn't indicate any purpose for such a thing.

There is also the problem that the Tyrell Corporation specifically implants memories--recollections of things that once happened, to give the replicant the illusion of having a real past. But a dream is not a memory, and the galloping unicorn is obviously something that nobody, Deckard or otherwise, has actually witnessed in their lifetime. (To consider otherwise would require an unjustified leap from the film's internal logic.) Furthermore, the purpose of the implanted memories doesn't seem to be carried out in any way by the unicorn.

The coincidence of the dream and the paper unicorn is so strange that it's hard to dismiss. However, at the same time, there are plenty of ways to interpret it that don't necessitate Deckard being a replicant.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:01 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Patrick wrote:
[I know some people who think Deckard's human and I know Frank Darabount was adamant that Deckard was human in that big-ass documentary with that Ultra-Edition DVD that was released a few years ago.

I’ve only seen the director's cut; so that may be clouding my view. But as you yourself have alluded to, that origami unicorn sequence is pretty strong evidence that Deckard is a replicant. Ultimately, Blade Runner is ambiguous, but all the evidence seems to lead towards him being a replicant, and I just wonder what the reasoning is behind the opinions of those who think he’s human.

Maybe I should get around to checking out that documentary sometime.

Ken wrote:
There is also the problem that the Tyrell Corporation specifically implants memories--recollections of things that once happened, to give the replicant the illusion of having a real past. But a dream is not a memory, and the galloping unicorn is obviously something that nobody, Deckard or otherwise, has actually witnessed in their lifetime. (To consider otherwise would require an unjustified leap from the film's internal logic.) Furthermore, the purpose of the implanted memories doesn't seem to be carried out in any way by the unicorn.

The coincidence of the dream and the paper unicorn is so strange that it's hard to dismiss. However, at the same time, there are plenty of ways to interpret it that don't necessitate Deckard being a replicant.

Fair points. But as mentioned, that unicorn is awfully hard to dismiss. I also have to comment that a dream can still be a memory—ie a memory of a dream. That the memory isn’t a representation of a realistic part of Deckard’s life doesn’t really work against it being implanted.


Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:07 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
I voted yes. The whole unicorn thing seems pretty definitive.

Another little clue I'd like to mention is the glowing eyes. Throughout the movie, there seems to be a recurring visual motif with the replicants all having glowing white/yellow pupils. In one scene, Deckard's eyes can be seen doing the same thing, albeit in the background and out of focus.

Image

Trick of the light? Probably, but I've always thought of that as another hint...


Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:53 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Need to see Blade Runner again. It pains me to admit this (and thus open myself upon to all kinds of scorn and ridicule Vexer-style) but I actually fell asleep during this flick. Everything was so muted and low-key that it made me feel very lethargic, which was probably the point but yeah, one of these days, I gotta sit down and force myself to sit through this again.


Last edited by oafolay on Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:37 am
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
oafolay wrote:
Need to see Blade Runner again. It pains me to admit this (and thus open myself upon to all kinds of scorn and ridicule Vexer-style) but I actually feel asleep during this flick. Everything was so muted an low-key that it made me feel very lethargic, which was probably the point but yeah, one of these days, I gotta sit down and force myself to sit through this again.

Funny you should mention me, becuase I actually didn't have a problem getting through Blade Runner(even if I do find it just a tad overrated) at least not compared to historical epic films, which I usually find a HUGE chore to sit through.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:53 am
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Yes, obviously. Even Ridley Scott has said so in interviews.


Shouldn't this be the most important point? Obviously the unicorn evidence isn't exactly damning, but if the director clearly states that this was his intention then I don't understand the speculation. Any ambiguity would be the fault of the makers, no?


Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:56 am
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
What the creative team have to say is no more relevant than what anybody else has to say. The director says replicant. The lead actor, the screenwriter, and the author of the source material all say human. I say, so what? The film isn't just filled with ambiguity; it's deliberately ambiguous.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:09 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
I consider any work of art to be a living artifact, and thus possessing a degree of autonomy from its creator(s).

But I don’t think that we can just dismiss Blade Runner as ambiguous and just leave it at that. While it’s clear that the film is deliberately ambiguous, how you interpret Deckard’s humanity has important thematic implications for the scheme of the film as a whole. While the question of what it means to be human is raised in either case, the irony of Deckard’s predicament runs in very different ways depending upon whether he is a replicant or not.

So I think Patrick is asking a reasonable (and interesting) question in his poll.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:43 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
I'm not sure that's true. And if it is, the different light placed upon the film by either conclusion is eclipsed by the larger implication of humanity as a non-biological phenomenon. I'd say that the film is driving hard at the idea that even if Deckard is human, that doesn't mean he has humanity--and, conversely, that the replicants can still have humanity, even if they're not biologically human. The definition of humanity, as far as Blade Runner is concerned, just isn't that simple. The biological component is almost a red herring, because that's not what the film seems particularly interested in demonstrating.

It is clear that Deckard is missing something basically human, even if it's unclear as to whether or not he ever had it in the first place. If that makes any sense.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:55 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
It makes perfect sense, Ken. Furthermore, I agree that the implications of whether Deckard is biologically or artificially human are ultimately a lesser concern compared to what the film is saying about humanity in general. Nevertheless, the question of whether Deckard is a replicant or not shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand: how you answer this question changes the significance of the film’s action. For example, the irony is different depending upon if Deckard is a replicant hunting other replicants or whether Deckard is a human-being hunting others for being non-human even as they are becoming more human while he is becoming less. Both scenarios question the boundaries between human/non-human and artificial/natural, but they emphasize different aspects of this binary. Sure, it’s ironic in either case, and sure both scenarios raise the same issue, but the irony is different, and the perspective the viewer ultimately adopts varies subtly depending upon whether Deckard is a “real” person or not. The answer to the poll’s question also affects Deckard’s relationship to Roy and Rachael. For instance, does Roy save Deckard in the end because he emphasizes with the plight of another replicant or because his empathy extends to humans? The answer also changes the effect of Deckard’s love affair with Rachael. Is a human in love with a replicant? Or are they another pair of replicants in a relationship paralleling that of Roy and Pris.

None of these questions can make or break the movie, but they’re the kind of puzzles you start to think about on a second or third viewing. And clearly the film requires you to be aware of the matter. After all, though it plays with the question, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ultimately assures that its readers are aware that Deckard is human. The novel still causes its readers to evaluate what that means, but the emphasis is different. Similarly, I think that Unicorn is meant to give the film a certain emphasis that it wouldn't have had otherwise.

That doesn’t mean there is necessarily a right or wrong answer, but I think the film demands that we ask the question and try our best to answer it.

Also, I apologize both for the length of this post and for the repeated use of the words, “human,” “artificial,” “emphasis,” and “irony.” In the future, I’ll try to think up some synonyms.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:30 pm
Post Re: Poll #60: Is Deckard a Replicant
Unless I'm misreading you, it appears that the only real difference between our positions is that you find it worthwhile to pursue the specific question of whether Deckard is biological or mechanical. Everything else, we have in common. I do agree that it's an interesting open-ended point in the film, but disagree that the answer is worth continuing to pursue as an end in itself. The two possibilities are on the table, and they certainly provide for additional valid readings of the film, but the question itself is a red herring.

There can be no answer, unless new evidence somehow comes to light. That's unlikely, unless yet another version of the movie comes out with the definitive answer, and is good enough to be universally accepted above all other versions.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:14 pm
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