Due for re-release in December, this motion picture is one of the finest science fiction films of the 20th century. Part of this is because it projects a future that could be - the earth as a place with a ruined environment populated by people that couldn't or wouldn't make the jump to one of the more habitable off-world colonies. The other part is because the film questions what it means to be human, and explores the possibly unsatisfactory answers you might get if you could, like the replicants, hunt down your maker and ask him Why am I here? Why must my life end? I'll pretty much let Warner's press release do the talking from this point forward. Basically you have your choice of three different sets - 2-disc, 4-disc, and 5-disc. The discs are described as follows:
Disc 1 - Ridley Scott's All-New "Final Cut" Version of the film - Restored and remastered with added & extended scenes, added lines, new and cleaner special effects and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio. Also included is commentary by Ridley Scott and a host of others that worked behind the camera.
Disc 2 - Documentary - Dangerous Days: Making of Blade Runner - A feature-length documentary revealing all the elements that shaped this cinema landmark. Cast, crew, critics and colleagues give a behind-the-scenes, in-depth look at the film from its literary roots and inception through casting, production, visuals and special effects to its legacy.
Disc 3 - 1982 Theatrical Version - The original that contains Deckard's narration and has Deckard and Rachel's (Sean Young) "happy ending" escape scene.
1982 International Version - Also used on U.S. home video, laserdisc and cable releases up to 1992. This version is not rated, and contains some extended action scenes in contrast to the Theatrical Version.
1992 Director's Cut - Omits Deckard's voiceover narration and removes the "happy ending" finale. It adds the famous "unicorn" sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant.
Disc 4 - BONUS Disc "Enhancement Archive" - Eight featurettes, image galleries, radio interview with the author, and screen tests for the part of Rachel.
Disc 5 - Workprint Version - This rare version of the film is considered by some to be the most radically different of all the Blade Runner cuts. It includes an altered opening scene, no Deckard narration until the final scenes, no "unicorn" sequence, no Deckard/Rachel "happy ending," altered lines between Rutger Hauer and his creator Tyrell (Joe Turkell), alternate music and much more.
Also included is commentary by Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner and a featurette - "All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cut".
2 Disc Edition : Discs 1-2
4 Disc Edition : Discs 1-4
5 Disc Edition : Discs 1-5
The downside of this 2-disc version is that you are only getting the Final Cut version of the film and the documentary disc. You won't get the bonus disc of featurettes, the disc of past releases, and the workprint version of the film. The upside is that the 5-disc version of the film has some expensive packaging and promotional material included that seems to really raise the price of the entire package.
on January 25, 2011
Finally, the version I've been waiting for and many others as well. For years Blade Runner fans have been subject to the insane number of versions of Blade Runner and even the 5 disc Blu Ray copy that really is not worth the price you pay. The Final Cut is the version to have if you truly love the Blade Runner experience and have always hated the annoying voiceover by Harrison Ford that has plagued various copies of the film. Ridley Scott himself was able to have full artistic license with this film and you will not be disappointed. What you will be greeted with is a very clean, crisp HD version of the film and just the best single copy out there without all the extra discs of fluff and crappier versions. This version has the omitted voiceover, alternate ending without the "happy resolution" and the inclusion of the Unicorn dream. Any other reviews that knock the film are most likely fans of the voiceover which spoon feeds you information and takes away the lonely rainy feeling you get when watching the film for the first time. Plus in my opinion without the added commentary you are able to judge the film for yourself and not be guided through every single little plot detail. The acting is spot on and perhaps my personal favorite Ford role to date. If you are going to have any science fiction film on your shelf please get this version you will not be disappointed. 5 stars on audio, visual effects, crisp colors and picture quality.
Having seen this movie probably more times and in more different formats than most people, I thought it was time I write a few words about this masterpiece of filmmaking. Truly, I wasn't boasting with my assertion that I've seen this movie as much as I have (I watch this movie almost once a week and have done so for almost 10 years). I own several, still unopened, VHS tapes that for a large part of the nineties I did my best at collecting. I own the Japanese Laserdisc version, a rare bootleg VHS version that was distributed over the internet a handful of years ago that has the narration selectively placed back into the Director's Cut version of the film, not called the Esper Version as some would want to label it, the Director's Cut and now the HD version of the Final Cut. That makes 5, but 6 if you count the Workprint version that comes with this box set. So, I would say that's one more than most.
Blade Runner first and foremost, is probably the greatest film ever made, from beginning to end and in all of its variations. A bold statement when the film doesn't even rank in the top 10 in the American Film Institute or on IMDb. Spots #97 and #104 respectively (ahem). But as these kind of lists are subjective and truly under the control of mere mortals and their own strange whims, and I take no offense that so many so-called aficionados have over-looked this film for so long. Roger Ebert slammed Ridley Scott and the film during the first theatrical release by stating that `Scott cared more about the lush environment of the film than he did of the story', which as we all know - and even Ebert now, in hindsight, has stated that he was unkind and grossly unfair to both Scott and the film.
For years, Blade Runner was divided into two different camps, or rather four and they are: Those that preferred the narration and those that did not and the other camp was those that thought Deckard was a Replicant and those that thought he was either human or felt it was left ambiguous. Ridley Scott has very gracefully over the years, given homage to these thoughts and made many statements that most readers are aware of, chiefly - that Deckard was a Replicant. Unfortunately, due to the studios fingering with the film during post-production, Warner Brothers had the right to trim anything after the 120 min mark, and thus butchering the nuance of the film and leaving several things vague and forcing Scott to tack on the Happy ending and the narration - because as we all know ... we're all just too stupid to get it.
The new and most refreshing part of the new argument, evinced in the 210 (wow!) min documentary `Dangerous Days' is that Scott gives equal time to those that enjoyed the film with the narration, with Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth / Hellboy) in the forefront, with his very candid telling of how Blade Runner changed his life and launched him down the road into filmmaking. We also get to hear a very lucid and warm retelling from Harrison Ford of the nightmare that he not only endured making the movie but the further commitment of having to do the Voice Over narration months later, which ended up having its own strange story as well.
So, now with 5 versions available in this box set, you get to see Blade Runner in every single angle imaginable and it is engrossing every time. Ebert also said in the Nineties that the re-release of the movie for the Director's Cut gives you yet another version of the film, but fails to handle the main problems that were so apparent the first time around. As the film has changed Ebert has gone from student flippancy to utmost respect and enjoyment. Ebert's own site has all three versions of his reviews which are interesting to read in context to the passage of time if you're interested.
There are so many layers to Blade Runner and so many things that can be said from the brilliant look of the newly restored cut, the awesome remixed sound, the Original Score by Vangelis, and the story itself. Blade Runner is probably the high water mark of all films and will probably stay that way for quite some time. Internet voting puts the film as the 4th greatest movie of all time, according to AFI's own user polls - so that really puts perspective on AFI's and IMDb's so-called Final Lists.
On a final note, when people watch this film, a lot of people come away with a strange feeling of familiarity regarding the content, the story and the character of Rick Deckard the protagonist, the Detective, the Blade Runner. You should know that Philip K. Dick was an incredibly huge fan of Raymond Chandler and absorbed every one of his stories on a personal level. Hampton Fancher, the screenwriter was privy to this when he penned the screenplay while making the adaptation for `Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' and did his best to not only pay homage to this for Dick but for Chandler as well. Movies like `The Big Sleep' really bring it home and make it evident to the viewer. The novel almost reads like the narration and in latter years I find impossible to not hear Harrison Ford's voice as I read `The Big Sleep'.
"What do you think of my Owl, Mr. Deckard?"
"Is it real?"
on August 27, 2006
I fully agree with the previous reviewers. I already have the original 1992 Director's Cut and have been waiting ages to upgrade it. However, now that the producers have finally settled their legal problems, we are being deluged with a surfeit of Blade Runner editions. This is the first and the least promising of three planned editions. The 1992 Director's Cut is a compromise cut. This barebones DVD is the same as the previous DVD except that it has been fully restored and given an anamorphic remastering.
Following this edition, there will be another entitled, "Ridley Scott's Blade Runner: The Final Cut," to be released in early 2007 to mark the 25th Annversary of the movie, which will include newly restored scenes and will be Scott's final word on the film. Then later in 2007, there will be the "Ultimate Blade Runner" which will contain all 4 versions of the film, the original U.S. theatrical cut, the expanded international theatrical cut, the 1992 Director's Cut and the 2007 Final Cut, all fully restored and in anamorphic transfers plus tonnes of extras. In addition, Blade Runner will also be released simultaneously on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats.
Buy this with your eyes open. It is recommended only if you're a completist or have only passing interest in the film. This edition will have a limited run of just 4 months before it is withdrawn prior to the arrival of the next edition.
on August 22, 2006
Well... here's the deal...
Blade Runner stands as one of those films whose editting and final cut were always a subject for debate. As you may know there are two known cuts of this film: the original theatrical version (shunned by many who claimed it was a producer's cut who did not believe in Scott's true vision) and the director's cut (which is not really the director's cut... it is more a screenplay's cut... with some changes who merely unmade some of the things the producers did on the previous cut).
It is this second version that you will find here (while the first version is no longer available) with a face lift... a new transfer... better sound... and that's it.
In one way, this version is badly needed because all the previous Blade Runner DVD incarnations come from the first years of DVD - when you didn't even have a decent menu. And since the DVD technology has evolved a lot since then... why not a new version of Blade Runner, right?
The mystique surrounding Blade Runner says that director Ridley Scott never REALLY got HIS REAL version of this film. And more... A such an important and much loved film like this should have lots of extras to bring a new light to a film that is so fundamental and trendsetting.
And it seems that after 25 years, all the legal problems preventing all this from happenning were really sorted out between the film's former producers who battled for years for the film's rights.
And now, with all problems solved, we know that in 2007, we'll have that multi-disc version all the fans always dreamt of.
SO, THE DEAL IS... IF YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT THIS VERSION, BUY THIS EDITION. The good thing is you won't even go through those stupid snap cases anymore. Even if you already have it, the better image and sound on this release will certainly make up for it.
BUT IF YOU CANNOT BE SATISFIED WITH ANYTHING LESS THAT THE WHOLE MULTI-DISC EDITION COMPRISING ALL THE VERSIONS AND TONS OF EXTRAS... forget about this version and wait a few months for the longer, bigger, more complete, celebratory, multi versioned, multi disc set that will give you the FULL BLADE RUNNER deal.
It will cost more, naturally, but we've been saving money for it since our childhood, right? ;-)
I'm a big fan. So I'll wait. This version is a quick, just and much needed repairment: a great new transfer (with no extras) for those who just want the film. An entry level I'd say. And I think it is good that Warner Home Video has this version for those who just want the film - at bargain price.
But more is coming in 2007. In full!!
So, I'll wait impatiently!!!!!
on January 16, 2000
Ridley Scott's 'Bladerunner' is a visual masterpiece, a stunning classic and original science fiction film noir. The special effects and set design are well done, especially for their time, and the great attention to detail and numerous nice touches are evident even after multiple viewings. This stark, visionary look at the future of L.A. is absolutely the most highly original and stylish of any science fiction movie yet.
I am disappointed by the DVD version of the 'Director's Cut', which could and should have much more in the way of extra features, including out-takes, director and cast commentary, and many other extras usually included with films that have state-of-the-art special effects. This version of 'Bladerunner' has none of that, only the bare-bones selections for languages, subtitles, and track access.
This is an inexcusable omission for a movie of such cult stature. In fact, I am sure that if the studio were to release a second DVD containing nothing but the 'extras' for 'Bladerunner', it would surely be a profitable seller. This movie was too well-done and too influential to not have all the DVD extras.
So: I give it five stars for content ('Bladerunner' is the best movie in existence of its kind), and three for the DVD rendition, for a composite total of four stars.
on January 1, 2000
My advice to anyone wanting to experience this film is to watch both versions. The origional gives more of the noir experience, (despite what some say about the voice over it does lend to understanding parts of the story for the uninitiated) and is a classic in it's own right. Scott's cut on the other hand offers a more plausible and suitable ending to the film, and adds enough extra to more strongly hint at the possibility of Deckard being a replicant. The director's cut also has a bit more "depth" to it than the origional... you do need to think more to get it, but that's the main reason I suggest you see both versions. The unicorn dream sequence was an excellent edition in my opinion. I honestly wish WB would release the origional widescreen and the director's cut on a single disc so people could experience both. I loved the director's cut, the only glaring omission from the DVD is Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. This movie was MADE to be remasterd in DD. I'm quite disappointed at the stereo only (not even prologic I think) soundtrack. This is the only thing that keeps me (and I should hope others) from giving the DVD a 5 star rating.
Wow. Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" looks absolutely stunning in its Blu-ray presentation. Aside from Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin", there probably hasn't been a movie as fiddled with as "Blade Runner". This set features the 1) theatrical cut from 1982, 2) the "International Cut" which appeared on cable 3)the "Work Print" version which was premiered for a test audience and, aside from a showing at a film festival, hasn't been seen since 3)"The Director's Cut" which was created after the buzz from the "Work Print" showing and created by Scott with Terry Rawlings the original editor tweaking the film (by eliminating the narration, adding in a Unicorn dream sequence -borrowed outtakes from "Legend" when the original footage couldn't be found-and with the more uncertain ending. The the film was trimmed here and there as well) and 4)"The Final Cut" where Warner gave Scott, Rawlings and DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika the chance to go back and do fixes that Scott had always wanted to do such as digitally eliminating the cables lifting the Spinners, digitally eliminating crew members that were accidently seen in the edge of the frame, fixing continuity errors, backgrounds and tweaking the opening with the eye a bit.
The result is a "Blade Runner" OCD fan's dream--every version of the movie plus a brilliant three hour documentary "Dangerous Days" (Hampton Fancher's original title for his screenplay of Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)directed by de Lauzirika (who used to be an assistant at Scott's Scott Free Productions)featuring archival and new interviews with all the usual suspects. I'm not sure if this was isolated to my disc but the documentary would occasionally stop for no reason. It could be that the firmware on my unit needs to be updated but I thought I would bring this up if others have any problems with the set.
The extras would take a day to run through. In the documentary we get a huge volume of deleted/alternate scenes, a pair of fascinating screen tests for the roles of Pris and Rachael (actors that were the first runners up for the roles), commentary tracks by author Paul Sammon (who wrote a series of terrific articles and a very good book on the film Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner), Scott, producer Michael Deeley, Production Executive Katherine Haber, Visual Futurist Syd Mead along with Visual Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich and writers Hampton Fancher & David Peoples (who pointedly state that they never intended Deckard to be a Replicant--Scott may feel that way in retrospect but I have always felt that it was much more metaphorical with Deckard becoming like a Replicant and rediscovering his humanity from Batty--something that adds power to the ending of the film. I suspect that Scott wasn't sure when he shot the film but has become convinced over the years that he did indeed intend that from the beginning).
Packaged in a very nice, slim Blu-ray case with a booklet featuring stills from the film, "Blade Runner" finally gets the love that it deserves. Luckily for us it didn't take a Criterion or 50 years to allow the film to get the recognition and appreciation it deserved (only 25). Even with its minor flaws, this is a classic and one of Scott's best films.
on January 8, 1999
I have both versions, the original release with Ford's voice over, and the "Director's" cut (which is surprisingly, shorter than the original). Of the two, I tend to prefer the original.
Purists tend to find the voice over of the original distracting and un-necessary, but I find it adds to the mood.
I love the cinematography.
It also sports early or first appearances of many now well known actors.
I would consider this movie to be within my top favorite movies.
on February 24, 2006
They say there are at least seven different versions of Blade Runner out there. I have seen at least four of them. SPOILER ALERT:
1) Original theatrical version with Harrison Ford voiceover narration and "happy" ending which featured landscape footage that Stanley Kubrick cut from the credits of "The Shining." This was shown at the end when Deckard and Rachael made their escape and he said there was hope that she would live. They say they showed the film to test audiences who didn't "get it," so they made Ford come back to the studio to narrate it. He didn't want to, so he delivered it in the flat, deadpan voice on purpose.
2) This version, which "contains scenes of graphic violence edited from the theatrical version." THIS IS THE VERSION YOU WANT! Aside from the "director's cut" this is the best. It has the same as the theatrical and MORE. It shows an extended version of Harrison Ford gunning down the first female replicant, a longer and more brutal fight between him and Pris, and Roy Batty kills Tyrell and we get to see his thumbs poke out the man's eyes. That's about it, but it is worth it if you watch the narrated version.
3) A 10 Year Anniversary which is not much different than the above two.
4) The director's cut which trims the "graphic violence" footage, removes the voiceover narration, adds a unicorn scene (taken from footage of Ridley Scott's movie "Legend") which suggests Deckard might be a replicant (as does the original Philip K Dick book), and trims the landscape footage at the end, stopping the movie where Deckard and Rachael flee.
Rumor has it that there will be a special edition in 2007 which includes the original version (which of the two I'm not certain), the director's cut, and a new director's edition which nobody seems to know what it will contain. They've been talking about this for years so I'm not holding my breath. Still, this remains one of my favorites.