Blade Runner: The Final Cut
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UK Blu-ray/Region All pressing. 25th anniversary version, originally released in 2008, of the iconic sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott has gone back into post production to create the long-awaited definitive new version. Blade Runner: The Final Cut is spectacularly restored and remastered from original elements and contains never-before-seen added/extended scenes, added lines, new and improved special effects, director and filmmaker commentary, an all-new digital audio track and more. Special Features Disc 1: Digitally restored and remastered, incorporating new footage and special effects never before seen Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Introduction by director Ridley Scott Three filmmaker commentaries, including one by Ridley Scott Disc 2: Definitive documentary incorporating outtakes, deleted scenes and all-new interviews. The ultimate look at the movie's difficult creation and controversial legacy.
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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.
At one time I owned at least 16 copies in used VHS from AMAZON because I was afraid that I would never see the movie again and the quality of some of the tapes turned out to be damaged. I had missed out on buying them new.
I have seen the Directors Cut at least 7 times in theaters.
I still prefer the original version with the voice over because, for me, I would have missed some of the meaning such as the fact that Deckard was threatened with death if he did not return to the Blade Runner squad.
For me, it is the best movie of all time and Future Noir comparable with the classic Film Noir in black and white such as Maltese Falcon or Murder My Sweet or such color films as Devil in a Blue Dress or Chinatown.
(Deckard is human. As a matter of fact, I don't know how he survived and why he has a reputation of being the best since with every encounter with a replicant, he ends up like a rag doll.)
While that may not have been Ridley Scotts artistic vision I felt like it added something to the movie that the directors cut lacked and that is the essence of the old film noir detective movies from the 30s and 40s. I missed that atmosphere and am glad now that I can enjoy the film in it's originally released form.
I will say that after watching the special features and documentaries I am more sympathetic to the directors cut. I think though it could be improved by adding some (not all) of the deleted scenes as they provide the atmosphere that is missing without the narrative track.
(And the issue of Deckard: a replicant or not? An airy question, never solved. The ambiguity is part of the magic.) Enjoy.
Unfortunately, I sadly have to say, the sequel, 2049, was so convoluted I didn't have a clue what was going on from after the first kill. Nothing after that made two drops of sense, much less "one." Very, very, very disappointing.