More from my reading of the famous Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and one of the favorite topics of the twenty- and twenty-first century.
Which is better? Book or movie?
Well, in this case, both were good. Like my favorite, The Blue Max, the book and movie took different takes on the same subject, looking at the same coin from different faces. And I like that – perspectives are fun.
But here’s where the book was better than the movie. In the book, we understand this world of Philip K. Dick’s to have survived (just barely) a nuclear war. The sky is loaded with dust, so much so that the stars are no longer visible. The dust is slowly killing (or making stupid) everyone left. And the animal kingdom that we largely ignored is now precious to us, given the fact that species following species have died. In the book, Decker the bounty hunter owns an electric sheep but dreams of owning some sort of live animal. Everyone carries a booklet listing current animal prices. The discovery of a living spider is a precious thing to J.R. Isidore. And the removal of four of its eight trembling legs by the non-empathetic androids sets them apart from humanity and heralds their downfall. Humanity is moving offworld, to Mars and elsewhere, and those who are left cannot pass the mental tests to leave, or don’t wish to move. The cities are dusty ruins, most of the buildings standing silent and empty.
But in the book, we have a strange mixture. Instead of dust, it’s always raining (so maybe in Ridley Scott’s version, climate change has come about). And the buildings (such as the Hotel Bradbury, where the critical action of the film takes place) stand vacant. Yet at street level, everything is a packed sea of humanity, zillions of people, skyscrapering ads, and calls to emigrate to the colonies.
None of that makes sense. If everyone is leaving, why are there still so many people? And if there are so many people, why are there empty skyscrapers? You’d think homelessness would be unknown with all those unclaimed rooms, but Pris is discovered by J.R. Sabastian huddling under street garbage.
The original book presents a unified world that makes sense. The movie is more about images, rain, Buddhist bicyclists, and spotlight-glaring ad-blimps. And when I watch it, in the back of my mind, I’m wondering why are so many people in the streets, and nobody in the buildings. And while I’ll always enjoy watching the Director’s Cut of Blade Runner, there is just something missing, some common thread that makes a world out of discordant scenes.
Flashy vs. Crafted. You decide.
>>>I’D LOVE MY BOOKS (BENEATH THIS LINK) TO BE MADE INTO MOVIES. I’D LOVE TO COMPLAIN HOW THEY DIDN’T CAPTURE MY IMAGES. AND I’D LOVE TO SAY THIS WHILE COUNTING THE MONEY. HELP A GUY OUT. BUY A BOOK!<<<