Analysis of BBC Documentary, Texts in Time: Comparing Frankenstein and Blade Runner

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The DVD cover for the BBC documentary “Texts in Time: Comparing Frankenstein and Blade Runner” visually represents the central themes shown in Mary Shelley’s 1818 gothic novel, Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s 1992 Science Fiction film “Blade Runner: The Directors Cut” (hereinafter referred to as “Blade Runner”).
The different fonts portray the different times the texts originate from. The font used for Frankenstein symbolises gothic literature – the genre of Frankenstein, this was a popular form of writing that arose during the 19th century. The font used for “Blade Runner” is symbolic of movement and progress of society shown in the futuristic setting of “Blade Runner”, the ideas shown in the film were common perceptions of the future during the 1980’s as it was a time of great technological advancement.
Both texts explore a broken relationship between creator and creation. This is portrayed on the front cover through the predominant usage of black, symbolising anger, power and isolation – elements of the broken relationships in the texts. There are also four sets of eyes - Frankenstein’s monster, Roy Batty, Victor and Tyrell. The use of placement and lines separates the creation (top two images) from their creators (bottom two images) to represent their broken relationships and their separation from each other. This concept is explored in Frankenstein by the monster, “…You my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to who thou art bound…”. The monster is lamenting that, despite their ties, their relationship is full of hatred. Questioning of the creator and religion was a key element of the Post Enlightenment era when Frankenstein was written. The idea is also explored through a biblical allusion in “Blade Runner” by Tyrell,...

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...on of the word ‘divine’ gives nature Godly status and implies it has healing powers. A reverent, idealistic attitude towards nature again shows the influence of Romanticism on Shelley’s writing.

“Blade Runner” explores this through the mise-en-scene of the opening sequence. This sequence is very dark, showing only artificial lighting and the city appears as an industrial wasteland. There is nothing natural in it other than lightning – which is symbolic of a punishment from God and nature. An extreme close up of an eye reflecting the cityscape acts as a symbol of a window to the soul of the city. The soundscape creates a mournful and hopeless feeling. Bursts of fire are seen, showing the amount of pollution in the air. The concept of a polluted, industrial dystopia is influenced by the concerns of global warming that were being publicised in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
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