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The Best It's Ever Looked Without All the Extras
on September 6, 2017
I know it's a cliche to say this, but I'm not sure this movie will ever look better than this 4K version. I've owned SO many copies of this movie. The old letterboxed VHS Director's Cut, the Theatrical Cut on DVD, the Director's Cut on DVD, the Final Cut on Blu-Ray, and all the versions that came with the Collector's Edition Blu-Ray version. I'm a BIG fan of this movie and have all the lines memorized.
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.