Built Like A Dick Wheelhouse


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My friend Corn Mo tweeted something that inspired this comic. Philip K. Dick is certainly a prolific sci-fi author, but he does dance around four or five core concepts in most of his work. It’s not surprising that the issues he wrote about (paranoia, the definition of reality, the machinations of the supposed puppet masters behind the curtain, what it means to be human, the threat of war, etc) were the very things that plagued his addled mind. He also had a penchant for overly verbose titles. Had Radiohead’s OK Computer actually been inspired by Dick, I assume it would have been titled Alright, Computer. Let’s Do This Thing. Let’s Get This Show On The Road.

I’ve said before that the concept of a Blade Runner sequel doesn’t offend me. That’s a rich world and I’m sure there are more stories to be told. The idea that Deckard (Harrison Ford) would be in the sequel, however, makes me want to [ZOOM/ENHANCE] SHIT MY LUNGS OUT OF MY FACE. What a great way to completely invalidate one of the most important ambiguous movie endings in all of geek culture. Of course we all KNOW Deckard was a replicant, but the slight nagging voice in the back of our collective minds that says, “Was he? Was he really?” is part of the film’s appeal. I don’t want to see 70 year old Deckard in the sequel hooked up to 100 car batteries with a USB mod-chip plugged into his ear. Doesn’t he realize he’s going to get his IP permanently banned from Repli-net Live?

Of course, Blade Runner is one of those movies with so many OFFICIAL DEFINITIVE FINAL DIRECTOR’S cuts that you can’t even really discuss it in mixed company without first checking Wikipedia and synchronizing your memory watches. Did your version even HAVE a unicorn? No? Then we should probably talk about something else. So how’s about that local news item with the murder and whatever?

COMMENTERS: Is there a Dick story that you would love to see adapted rather than a a sequel to Blade Runner, or did The Matrix Trilogy cover (lift) essentially every original idea that Dick ever proposed (it did). Will you support a Blade Runner sequel WITH Harrison Ford?

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  1. Deckard was a replicant? What?!!! I haven’t seen any of the director’s cuts so I assume I’ve missed something.

    God I hope this won’t be as bad as the rape of Indiana Jones.

    If they use Harrison Ford, it should more like a brief appearance using CGI like Jeff Bridges in Tron.

    • There's no actual evidence in the original version. Scott himself publicly stated that he intended Deckard to be a replicant, but beyond that, the clues are at least still ambiguous (which is how lots of people like it). In the various directors cuts, Gaff makes an origami unicorn at a pivotal point, suggesting that he's privy to Deckard's dreams. There is also a scene in which Rachel and Deckard have red-eye at the same time.

      • I think Scott's saying so makes it so in this case. We can all still believe what we want to believe (like I do believe Deckard to be a replicant), though. Now I'm hoping someone can refresh my memory…but isn't there a portion of the documentary about this in the Blade Runner: Final Cut blu-ray set? I only half paid attention to it until Edward James Olmos accidentally referred to replicants as cylons.

        • "Scott saying so makes it so"

          I disagree. It's a tad more complicated than that. Apparently, according to Ford, during the planning stages of the movie and early filming, after lengthy discussions with Scott, they both agreed that Deckard was, in fact, human (as Ford wanted it to be). It was only AFTER release that Scott decided Deckard was a replicant.

          Furthermore, in Dick's original book, Deckard was almost certainly human (though there was some ambiguity as to "in the future, just how human ARE humans anymore?") due to the fact that he passed a complete VK test prior to becoming a Blade Runner.

          So really, it's still anyone's guess.

          • In discussing the film, the book is a non-issue. To say it was inspired by the book is appropriate, but beyond that there is no comparison. Let's not refer to it.

            Anyway, like I said and will emphasize this time, *I THINK* Scott's saying so makes it so in this case. In the end, his final intended cuts of the film were made to suggest that Deckard is a replicant. Whether or not he and Ford had agreed beforehand doesn't matter because each release of the film following that attempts to present the viewer with Scott's intended vision. That's not to say that Scott was necessarily successful, since people still argue about it despite what he says. On top of that, art is subjective despite how objective the artist may attempt to present the work. So I'll see it this way and say, "I think Scott's right!" while others will say, "No, Deckard was human. Why would you even want to believe otherwise?"

            • Does it really matter if Harrison Ford thought Deckard was supposed to be human and Scott said he wasn't? I was always under the impression that if Deckard was a replicant, he's obviously like Rachael and would think he's human so it makes sense that Ford would play him that way. I always thought that if Deckard was a replicant, then it was Gaff's memories used- hence the unicorn.

      • Talking about the subsequent director's re-cuts of ANY movie always drive me crazy! It's like handing in an essay, getting a C, and then re-writing it and expecting a new grade. The movie that was released is the movie. Stop fiddling around with it and just leave it alone. If Scott couldn't get his point across in the original draft, that's his fail.

        It's like Scott and Lucas went to the same film school where a movie is never finished and the audience means basically nothing. Boo.

      • I see your point. How's this?

        The character of Indiana Jones was dipped into a vat of fetid dog shit, polished with CGI and placed alongside an over hyped man-child actor in a plot so mind-scramblingly fucktarded that it was basically 122 minutes of Lucas and Co pissing on fans for a cheap cash grab.

        That any better of a descriptor?

      • It's not that I'm lazy, and honestly I wouldn't marginalize rape. This refers to an episode of South Park where the kids go to see the Indiana Jones movie and are traumitized…Lucas and Spielburg are shown raping the character.

        • I thought it was a lazy and tasteless joke when they did it on South Park. Graphic depictions of rapes are not something I find funny considering how many people are still victims of the crime every year.

      • I don't think it marginalises rape at all – although, rape *should* be marginalised, it just shouldn't be *minimized*. And I don't think it *minimizes* rape, either.

        Saying "I want to kill my boss", or "it was so funny, she kills me", doesn't minimize murder. People frequently use hyperbole to describe things that happen in an artistic world (like film) because the appropriate words don't really exist, so we use metaphor and exaggeration.

        If you're going to get upset over a word being used to describe a thing, why not complain about something that actually implies something negative about a group of people, like "that film was retarded", or "the director was totally schizo", etc?

        • Rape is a horrible crime where someone is forced against their will to be degraded by another horrible person. Indiana Jones is a bad movie nobody was forced to see but equate it to one of the worst possible crimes because they're too lazy to find other language for something awful. To me it is just as bad as calling someone retarded or schizo.

  2. Also – love this comic (any Radiohead reference is appreciated)! It reminds me of reading the liner notes of an REM album, where they listed a bunch of unused song titles, like "My Smallpox blanket".

  3. There are actually three sequel novels although they weren't written by Philip K. Dick, and Deckard is in all of them from what I have read.

    • Did Dick give his thumbs-up to sequels written by other people featuring his characters? If they're good, then yeah, let's make a picture!

      • Well since P K Dick died around the time that the original Blade Runner was released, I strongly suspect he wasn't around to say yea or nay about the sequels. He was majorly pissed off by what Ridley Scott did to his book.

  4. If you've read the original story, then perhaps like me you couldn't care less if there are sequels to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" because it stunk compared to Scott's movie. On it's own it's pretty okay, not as good as some of Dick's other work. But compared to the film…no comparison.

    • I disagree. DADoES has one of the most fully developed worlds of any Dick story, which makes it amazing on a different level. Sure, the story wasn't quite as exciting as Blade Runner, but it I'd argue it was a lot more thoughtful.

  5. Man in a High Castle, but not just as an 'Axis power won WWII' alternate history. It has to include the idea that the world, and even the world of 'The grasshopper lies heavy', may not be the real one.

  6. I…

    I'm going to go out on a limb here, please don't hate me for this… but I didn't actually like Blade Runner all that much *cringes*.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the music, and the setting, and the Tannanuser Gate speach but… the dialouge is so solw and painful, no matter what cut you watch (and I've seen at least three) that you're not looking at the setting, or listening to the music, you're checking your watch to see how long it is before the next line.

    Oh, plus this movie teaches us that the way to convince someone it's okay they're a robot is to rape them. And then dream about a horse.

    • I dont think this is sacrilege by any means. As a concept, an idea and a piece of visual art is really is stunning. As a film it is LIGHT YEARS ahead of it's time in terms of effects, costumes, visuals, ambience, etc. Also as a film is is INCREDIBLY SLOW. It just drags and drags between interesting parts and most of dialog seems whispered if not mumbled. I still like it, but I get where youre coming from.

      • Yes, that is *exactly* my problem with the movie too.
        I also feel like that about 2001: A Space Odyssey. I usually like Kubrick, and Clockwork Orange is one of my all-time favourite movies, but 2001 is just so sloooooooooooooooooooooooooow.

        • I like the slow, personally i love getting lost in the environment, taking in all the details and imagining the putrid smells that are permeating the cityscape. I cant think of the future without images of this realm dancing through my head. The ambiguous nature of the ending truly leaves me with a feeling of confusion when it comes to Deckard. I wont believe anyone either way, i Love the unfinished, lack or cold hard truth to the ending.

    • If it was Westworld, the raping (of saloon girls/prostitutes) and killing ( in western gunfights) caused the robots to kill all humans….doubtful it's the best way to deal with robots. And then it happens all over again in Futureworld.

      • It wasn't so much the fact that she was a replicant and was raped that made me go "Um. What?" more the fact that she was raped by the protagonist of the move, and it is… never mentioned again.

    • I have a chill crawling up my spine anticipating what could be an amazing film. But I have, as all of us before been disappointed over and over by studios and director killing an opus without mercy. So I am not that eager to see it transfered to the blue screen.

    • I dunno. I've only read it once, but many of the sets would be indoors or retro. The costume dept would have a lot to do, but the different…er…states? Times? could be differentiated by lighting etc. I gotta read it again now.

  7. Only if I actually get to SEE the Tannhauser Gate will I get behind this. And even then, only if it matches up exactly with the elaborate and often contradictory images that have been brewing in my head for 15 years.

  8. It would probably be quite impossible, but I'd love to see a VALIS film. Also, wasn't/isn't there supposed to be a biopic in the works, with Paul Giamatti as PKD? I'd definitely want to see that.

  9. I have but 1 question: Since when is their house blue on the inside? It's like they have dozens of houses. Does Eli or Joel or Josh make that much money to have multiple houses?

      • But… They have been in like 7 different houses…? Is it just me? Keep Calm. Keep Calm. It isn't just you. It isn't just you. WHY MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!1!!!!one!!!!!1!!!!

    • And: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (the book, with all it's weirdery) could be remade as a film sequel. With 6/Ratched.
      Because then and only then will my life be complete.

  10. As far as Scott saying that Dekkard is a Replicant making it so…It's undeniably a director retconning his work. The real question is does the revisionst history invalidate it? Compare it to Lucas; If Dekkard is a replicant, then does that mean Greedo shot first and not Han, and that Anikin Skywalker looks like Hayden Christianson in the end of of Jedi? Better yet, compare it to Gene Roddenberry; If Dekkard is a replicant, does that mean that the Klingons always looked like they did in the movies and never actually had smooth foreheads?

  11. I really enjoyed the P K Dick book "The Clans of the Alphane Moon." It has a sentient slime mold for one of the characters. Ya gotta love it!!!

  12. While there is certainly a risk that a new movie can ruin the original, there is also the potential that it could actually improve the original.

    For example, Godfather 2 improved the original Godfather by brilliantly portraying Vito Corleone's rise to power. When you go back to watch Godfather after seeing Godfather 2, you get a much better sense of why Vito is so powerful, feared, and respected, and there is a much greater significance to his loss of power to the other families.

    I'm certainly hoping that this movie will end up more like Godfather 2 rather than the Star Wars prequels.

  13. "Creep" was one of the first songs I learned on the ukulele.

    Is that a ukulele? Because it looks like a G chord. (Incidentally, it's G, B, C, Cm)

  14. I wouldn't mind seeing either
    a) a sequel with Harrison Ford as Rick (see what I did there?) or,
    b) a prequel with Harrison Ford still doing the narration, which is what I lurved best about any of the versions of Bladerunner. Maybe even him in the opening scene recalling his early years as a memoir/flashback.
    Either way, I want more cityspeak, and yes, I too want to see the Tannhauser Gate, and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

  15. The Crack in Space is one of my favorite lesser-known PKD novels. Its concept has a lot in common with Terra Nova, the key difference being that it's actually enjoyable to consume.

    I think that I'd only want to see it as a movie if it could somehow be made twenty years ago (in real time, not fiction time). George Walt would be AMAZING to see done with animatronics instead of dumb old CGI, and Jim Briskin campaigning to be the first black U.S. president is probably less gripping drama now than it was in 1966.

  16. Honestly, the film is only even remotely interesting if you assume Deckard isn't a replicant. The whole point of the story is that the people whose job it is to hunt replicants can't tell the difference between a replicant and a human, because there isn't one. Deckard is a human being whose sense of empathy is so burnt out by years of hunting and killing things that look like people that he can't feel anything anymore, while Batty saves his life at the end solely out of compassion. The Voight-Kampf test is a joke, replicants are a form of legal slavery, and blade runners are monsters in human shape. The subtext is an explicit mockery of the text, and the key to that is that Deckard is a human being.

    If Deckard is a replicant, then the whole thing is just a crappy Tomato in the Mirror story.

    • Hey, I majored in Media Analysis, but I don't think I could have nailed it any better than you just did.

      I admit I don't know what a Tomato in the Mirror story is, though.

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