Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Do androids dream of electric sheep / Blade Runner

Another christmas gift to Love, this time from my father. But this time I read it after him. My dad has some kind of thing for Blade Runner and probably owns like five different versions of the movie - Original Cut, Director's Cut, Director's Real Cut, Yet Another Cut For Money and Cut Just For The Heck Of It. I think he even has a collectors box. Funny things is, there are so many versions of Blade Runner they've even devoted that topic its own page over at wikipedia --> <-- But that isn't so strange because Blade Runner, which is the movie adaptation of Philip K Dicks novel "Do androids dream of electric sheep", is a very good movie. It has great actors, a superb director and a really interesting script. The movie is actually even more interesting when you learn that it isn't much like the book. And even though I'd say the movie is better than the book, the book is definitely worth reading. The story of the book and the movie is about exactly the same, Rick Deckard (played by the ever great Harrison Ford in the movie) is on the hunt of some androids/replicants in both stories (as to why they have different names in the book vs the movie, see a little further down). And in both stories the main issue is whether it is ok to kill something we create to act and be like us? Can we really create something to be human without giving it human rights? A really interesting question of course. In the film however, they've made the issue even more interesting as the android/replicants are even more depicted as humans than in the book. In the book it is more about Deckards thoughts, in the movie we see more of the android/replicants thoughts. There are also other slight changes, like the ending (which is also better in the movie in my opinion) and the thing about the androids/replicants dying after a few years. Also John Isidore from the book has been turned into a quite different Sebastian of the movie. The book also has a strong focus on animals which is basically gone in the movie.

In the edition I read they had a chapter about how the movie was made. Apparently Dick sold the movie rights long before Blade Runner was done. Those rights then went from hand to hand until they landed on Ridley Scotts table and he thought "hey let's make a movie out of this". He hired some guys to rewrite the story so it would work better in a movie. No one told Dick anything about this though. Through some off ways he got his hands on the script and didn't like it at all. Legally there was nothing he could do about it, but he wrote an article in some newspaper saying he didn't like it and Ridley Scott decided to rewrite it again, this time with input from Dick. They decided the term "android" which Dick used for his novel was outdated and uncool and so they invented the term "replicants" for the movie instead.

Apparently the movie wasn't a great success at first but has since then become one of our greatest movie classics ever. If you have even the slightest interest science fiction movies or science fiction literature both the movie and book are a must.
Eventhough the changes they made to the movie made the story better, the book is still great. And there are parts of the book that aren't depicted in the movie which have their own charm. It isn't very long either, so I strongly recommend it.

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