Several aspects of the original novel are absent from the movie. The movie lacks the several key technologies present in the novel including the empathy boxes and the Penfield mood organ. Although electric animals are briefly referred to, their role is much less prominent in the movie. Further, the key interaction between Mercer and Buster Friendly is also not present.
However, the movie does present a society very integrated with technology, as it portrays hypermediacy. The most prominent display of hypermediacy is the enormous electronic billboard showing an Asian woman's face and advertising Coca-Cola. The viewer is aware of the medium used to form the image of the advertisement. The use of hypermediacy in the film portrays the ubiquitous presence of technology and its pervading influence on humans. Rick drives by this electronic billboard multiple times throughout the movie. Although he may not always focus on the advertisement, this technology continuously competes for Rick's and other humans' attention.
Blade Runner is set in a declining postmodern Los Angeles in 2019. Similarly to San Francisco in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the city in Blade Runner is a dark fragment of its vibrant former self. Both Rick and J.F. Sebastian (John) live in deserted apartment buildings, emphasizing the absence of life and the deterioration of the city. The decaying architecture represents Scott's ideas of a darker future of technology and the slow process of distintegration induced by excessive technology use.
Binary Opposites - Real vs. FakeEdit
The ambiguity regarding the distinction between androids , or replicants, and humans is one of the movie's major themes. Technology used to produce replicants has created uncertainty between the real and the artifical in Blade Runner. Replicants are perfect models of humans and often contain implanted memories that further interfere with the clear identification of replicants.
Particularly, the humanity of Rick is questioned in the movie. In the final scene of the movie, as Rick is leaving his apartment with Rachael, he finds an origami unicorn left by his partner Gaff in the hallway. Earlier in the film, Rick has a dream about a unicorn. Since Gaff knew about the unicorn in Rick's dream, it can be argued that Gaff was also aware that Rick contained implanted memories, thus confirming that Rick is a replicant. However, the ambiguity surrounding Rick's classification is never firmly resolved in the film, consequently leaving the audience to its own interpretation.