Posted: October 27th, 2022
Clips from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Blade Runner
I. How to View These Films
1. Below this folder, your folder for week four contains edited versions of two films. Though uploaded as single files, you will notice the jumps in the films. The notes that follow, along with my lecture notes for this week, are to help you focus on those scenes most pertinent to our literary analysis of Mary Shelley’s novel.
WITH THIS IN MIND, I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU READ THE NOTES AND WATCH THE LECTURES ABOUT THE FILMS PRIOR TO VIEIWING THEM.
Our library does have complete copies of both films, and they are also widely available, if you would prefer to view the films in their entirety.
Synopsis of both films are also available on Wikipedia.
Blade Runner: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley%27s_Frankenstein_(film)
II. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
1. Though Kenneth Branagh (the director) heralded his film as a return to Shelley’s text, several intriguing differences do exist.
A. Early in the film, note how Walton has become even more monomaniacal. He is willing to sacrifice every member of his crew to achieve his goal. Victor, in contrast, is more humble and cautionary.
B. The equipment used by Victor in his creation of the creature references a sexual act. Branagh intends us to view Victor as the creature’s biological father, and the act of creation as one of monstrous, unnatural reproduction.
C. The treatment of the DeLacey family and the scene in which the Creature confronts Victor in the ice cave are both thematically close to Shelley’s novel. Branagh does put his own twist on these, though, for example, with the Creature questioning Victor about the existence of his soul.
D. Walton does learn from Victor’s tale.
i. He defends the right of the creature to attend his “father’s” funeral.
ii. At the funeral he demonstrates his learning by reading a conflation of two passages from Ecclesiastes 1:18 and 12:14: “He that increases knowledge increases sorrow.”
iii. He begs the creature to return to human society as a part of his crew.
III. Blade Runner (1982)
1. Directed by Ridley Scott. Loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
2. Blade Runner has gone through seven versions including its original 1982 release. This course uses the 1992 “Director-Approved Cut.”
A. Early in the film note especially the reason why Tyrell gives the replicants memories. This is to control them better. To make them better slaves.
B. As with Victor and the Creature in Frankenstein, Roy’s confrontation with Tyrell explicitly raises the issue of a creator’s responsibility in Blade Runner. What is the responsibility of a creator towards a creation? Compare Tyrell’s treatment of Roy to the treatment of the creature in Shelley’s novel, as well as to the creature’s treatment in Whale’s and Branagh’s films. Note especially Tyrell’s pride in creating Roy as more human than human. Yet he has only given Roy a four-year lifespan. Note also the setting in which Roy confronts Tyrell. The Gothic mood created by the myriad candles and elaborate bedding is in direct reference to Mary Shelley’s novel.
C. Note that Roy does not kill Deckard when given the chance. More than a possibly redemptive act for both himself and Deckard, Roy’s choice shows that he is not a mere puppet of the Tyrell corporation ruled by implanted memories. Rather, he, like the Creature, is his own living being.
ASSIGNMENT: A key question at the end of Shelley’s novel is whether or not Walton learns anything from Victor’s tale. Discuss an example of scientific research that you have encountered in your everyday life; this might be something with which you are familiar, for example, from one of your other classes at UTD. Students in past semesters, for example, dealt with stem cell research, cloning, the development of vaccines, and so on. How might Victor’s call for caution apply to your example? How might we need to be cautious, for example, in development of vaccines such as the ones developed for the current pandemic? Moreover, how has or would the application of caution (for example, guidelines for how research is conducted, how experimental trials are conducted, and so on) lead to a better result in our pursuit of knowledge? Focus on the novel in your response. The film clips assigned for this week will instead be part of the first exam. Contact me or your TA with any questions about this prompt.
10 – 8 points: The response uses specific examples from the week’s reading in response to the prompt. Where direct quotes are used, they are cited by Shelley’s last name and page number; for example, (Shelley 200). Examples that are used clearly and insightfully support your ideas. Organization of ideas is clear and logical. In short, both ideas and examples are strong, and the response is largely free of spelling, grammar, and similar errors.
7 – 6 points: Meets all of the above criteria for 10 – 8 points, but either ideas or examples could use more development.
5 – 4 points: Both ideas and examples need more development. Citation is present but unevenly done. Spelling and similar errors become more widespread.
3 – 2 points: In addition to ideas and examples needing more development, organization is unclear and ideas are difficult to follow. Citation is present but unevenly done. Spelling and grammar errors become more widespread.
1 – 0 points: The response does not respond to the assignment. Organization is unclear and citation is missing.
The development of vaccines requires scientific research. Scientists come together intending to come up with a solution to a problem affecting people. The development of a vaccine shows out that a disease will not strongly affect people. For example, according to the current research, Covid-19 is a world pandemic. To control its spread, scientists have to come up with a vaccine. Limiting deaths will help in the management of deaths and their spread. In this discussion, Shelley’s novel indicates how to handle issues that affect human nature about the current pandemic.
Limiting attendance of meeting to prevent the spread of the pandemic. According to regulation from medical professionals, there is a need of keeping social distance. Since the disease is deadly, each individual should take caution of gatherings. The regulation of health personnel states that people should be a meter apart. According to Shelley’s novel, people are prevented from attending the funeral of the father (Sulicka, 2020) How is this related to the novel? You need to expand it. The number of people attending will be far from each other. Relating to covid-19 regulations, people attending the funeral are few in the same way the pandemic regulations are providing for a few numbers of people. Management of population in both cases is an indication that a lesser number of people are available as compared to normal occasions when there are meetings.
Also, resources available are used for the management of the covid-19 pandemic. Each nation across the world is working towards limiting the spread of coronavirus. For instance, some nations cannot manage the available resources. However, they receive help from other nations. Further, resources are getting utilized. Concerning Shelley’s article, Walton is monomaniacal. It is a way of managing the current situation within the novel. Walton is willing to use the available people for the sake of obtaining good results (Sulicka, 2020). On the other hand, Victor is cautious over actions taken. Both the pandemic and the novel have a way of managing available resources. Comment by Momeniabdolabadi, Bahareh: ?
Careful development of a vaccine. While producing the vaccine, researchers need to careful to control deaths. For example, the vaccine may be another tool that is taking more lives. Since human lives matter, it is to take care of living human beings. According to the article, Shelley is willing to utilize available people for the achievement of his goal. In this case, he has cared for there is a need for the utilization of characters within the group (Žižek, 2021). On the other hand, Victor has humility and is following up being cautious. Careful attention in both cases is applicable. This is a way of helping out managing hazards associated with endangering lives. Comment by Momeniabdolabadi, Bahareh: ?
Careful research is a way of limiting the spread of coronavirus. If scientists have adequate research tools for making research, it is easy to come up with a meaningful solution. However, creating an impact on the medical field will be in line with research concerning pandemics. Caution in the novel will help prevent assigning characters on their roles. Unnatural ways of getting lives are not recommendable. For instance, it brings lives to living creatures that are not humans.
Sulicka, A. (2020). Variety of Genres in Film Adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Žižek, S. (2021). Blade Runner 2049: A View of Post-Human Capitalism. In Lacanian Perspectives on Blade Runner 2049 (pp. 41-51). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
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