The Director's Cut, Director's Cut
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The Director's Cut dvd edition of Ridley Scott's epic "Blade Runner". Featuring Harrison Ford, Sean Young.
When Ridley Scott's cut of Blade Runner was finally released in 1993, one had to wonder why the studio hadn't done it right the first time--11 years earlier. This version is so much better, mostly because of what's been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phony happy ending) rather than what's been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further "explanation"; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn't use it. (Moral: Never overestimate the taste of movie executives.) The movie's spectacular futuristic vision of Los Angeles--a perpetually dark and rainy metropolis that's the nightmare antithesis of "Sunny Southern California"--is still its most seductive feature, an otherworldly atmosphere in which you can immerse yourself. The movie's shadowy visual style, along with its classic private-detective/murder-mystery plot line (with Ford on the trail of a murderous android, or "replicant"), makes Blade Runner one of the few science fiction pictures to legitimately claim a place in the film noir tradition. And, as in the best noir, the sleuth discovers a whole lot more (about himself and the people he encounters) than he anticipates.... With Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah, Rutger Hauer, and M. Emmet Walsh. --Jim Emerson
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But to my mind, there's no topping this as far as quality of image goes. The exterior shots of the Tyrell Corp. especially are as sharp as they've ever been - in part because they aren't obscured by Scott's directorial obsession with smoke. The street views come to life in a way I've never seen before, and because the image is so clear and sharp there's so much more detail to be seen.
The one strange issue I had was in the opening sequence, my TV had some dark black spots along the bottom of the screen when the fires flared during the overhead shot of Los Angeles, November 2019. I haven't seen any other reviews that mention this bizarre image problem, and I strongly suspect it may be a symptom of my cheap 4K TV's incompatibility with HDR.
The most important thing though is that this is faithful to the film. It looks like it was shot on film, and it doesn't look glossy and digitized. The whole point of 4K is to get a natural appearance that's as close to the film print as possible. I have a 4K TV that doesn't have HDR, so I can't speak to the HDR elements yet, unfortunately. However, from other reviews I've seen online, the HDR combined with the 4K elements means that this movie will probably never look superior to this version. Assuming the 4K Blu-Ray format never dies, this may be the last version of the movie I may ever buy again.
The only thing missing is extras. There are extras that were included on the 30th anniversary edition (assembled in 2007) that aren't on this one, and that means that there will probably be an "Ultimate 4K Edition" down the road that not only includes the gorgeous 4K version, but all the extras that will truly put the complete Blade Runner experience in one package. Until then, my advice is to hold onto your Blu-Ray version of the 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition.
Now, fast-forward some years, the "Director's Cut" came out. Personally it was 'ok'. Took a bit to get used to Deckard's voice being gone, but this cut was good, extra stuff, etc...
Now!! I'm sitting with my 17-yr old son in a movie theatre when a trailer starts and within the first 3 seconds of just a visual and a couple notes of music, I KNEW.... I KNEW!!! OMG!!! I actually said that out loud in the theatre... OMG! Blade Runner!!! My son looked at me, cringed a bit, wished he had a different mother for that brief few seconds, but after watching a trailer, he was HOOKED!! On the way home from the movies we didn't even discuss what we watched, and honestly I can't remember, we only discussed Blade Runner, the story, the book, the movies, dystopian films, for a couple hours my teenage son suddenly saw his stay-at-home, Betty Crocker mom as 'somewhat' cool. LOL!
This weekend I purchased "Blade Runner: The Final Cut".... OMG!!! Talk about blown away! I felt like a Blade Runner virgin all over again! Ridley Scott finally got hold of everything he wanted to make HIS cut. And he made it beautifully!!!
(Note: the Director's Cut is NOT endorsed by Ridley Scott. He had nothing to do with it, has stated that on his Blog several times. While he doesn't dismiss the work, he does not endorse it)
The music, the added scenes, the lengthened unicorn sequence, and there are some twists that might surprise many of you that have only seen the Theatrical Cut. PLUS, I sat with my son during this viewing. He experienced something everyone, in my opinion, should experience once in their lifetime. The movie that started it all in the dystopian universe of gaming, movies, books (post Philip Dick), even the Steam Punk revolution. My son, all 6 ft and 17-yrs old, got it! He himself said, this explains so much in so many things I've read, games I've played, movies I've seen. A profound statement he made was "It's like this is the Rosetta Stone of science fiction today!!!"
IF you want to see the movie before you go to "Blade Runner 2019" in October, THIS is the version to see or the Theatrical Cut.
I will comment, however, about the quality of the Blu Ray transfer of the movie - in Blu Ray, it is very clear and a nice upgrade from the DD - I was impressed by how crisp, clear the Blu Ray transfer was. I viewed it on a 65" Panasonic VT60 Plasma, and it was very nice. Not all Blu Ray transfers of older movies fare as well. Note this movie was shot in 2:35:1, so the transfer didn't do anything about the "watch band" appearance on your 16x9 screen :-( but hey, that is a common thing. I really like the 1:85:1 Anamorphic widescreen format for home movies but we can't have it all!
What is a bonus is that after almost 35 years, I STILL enjoy the movie. And more importantly, so do my 18 year old boys - which says a lot about how well done this movie was - it is very entertaining. I saw the original first movie in the theaters when it first came out, and I am still entertained from beginning to end.
So here we have a timeless movie which is still entertaining today, and one where the Blu Ray transfer allows you to watch it in crystal clear HD. Awesome.
5 stars all the way!!!
Thanks for reading.