I love the 1982 movie Blade Runner. I mean… I LOVE IT. It’s one of the first films I can remember making me sit up and take notice of the power of a well scripted, beautifully shot film. I was 10 when I saw it, and I just remember sitting in the old Kennedy theater in downtown Kirksville and thinking, “Wow… this… I want to do this… I want to create worlds.”
So, flash forward 25 years, and I’m not exactly creating worlds, but I get to talk about Blade Runner again, so all is good!
This poor movie has had more treatments done to it than I can count. In 1982 alone there were two versions: The USA Theatrical Cut, and the International Theatrical Cut.
Then, in 1992, it got a Director’s Cut that removed Harrison Ford’s narration through out the film. It seems Director Ridley Scott and Harrison never thrilled to the narration, feeling it dumbed down the movie too much. I loved it. It gave the movie a 1940’s Film Noir-esque feel that played so well, and you could see Humphrey Bogart easily stepping in to the roll of Rick Deckard.
With the 25th anniversary this year, Ridley Scott decided to revisit the film and give it what he is calling “The Final Cut”. As with all DVD releases nowadays, it will come in many flavors (descriptions from Amazon).
Blade Runner – The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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 includes:
-Commentary by Ridley Scott
-Commentary by executive producer/co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher and co-screenwriter David Peoples; producer Michael Deely and production executive Katherine Haber
-Commentary by visual futurist Syd Mead; production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer
DOCUMENTARY DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER
A feature-length authoritative documentary revealing all the elements that shaped this hugely influential 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 controversial legacy and place in Hollywood history.”
Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition)
Standard-definition Four-Disc Collector’s Edition widescreen DVD. From Warner: “The Four-Disc Collector’s Edition includes everything from the 2-Disc Special Edition plus three additional versions of the film, as well as an ‘Enhancement Archive’ bonus disc of enhanced content that includes 90 minutes of deleted footage and rare or never-before-seen items in featurettes and galleries that cover the film’s amazing history, production teams, special effects, impact on society, promotional trailers, TV spots, and much more.
1982 THEATRICAL VERSION
This is the version that introduced U.S. movie-going audiences to a revolutionary film with a new and excitingly provocative vision of the near-future. It contains Deckard/Harrison Ford’s character 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
The Director’s Cut omits Deckard’s voiceover narration and removes the “happy ending” finale. It adds the famously-controversial “unicorn” sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant.
BONUS DISC – “Enhancement Archive”: 90 minutes of deleted footage and rare or never-before-seen items in featurettes and galleries that cover the film’s amazing history, production teams, special effects, impact on society, promotional trailers, TV spots, and much more.
-Featurette The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Philip K. Dick
-Featurette Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. The Film
-Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews (Audio)
-Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Cover Gallery (Images)
-The Art of Blade Runner (Image Galleries)
-Featurette Signs of the Times: Graphic Design
-Featurette Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling
-Screen Tests: Rachel & Pris
-Featurette The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth
-Unit Photography Gallery
-Deleted & Alternate Scenes
-1982 Promotional Featurettes
-Trailers & TV Spots
-Featurette Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art
-Marketing & Merchandise Gallery (Images)
-Featurette Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard
-Featurette Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers”
Standard-definition five-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition widescreen DVD. From Warner: “The 5-disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition includes everything from the previously described 4-Disc Edition, plus the ultra-rare, near-legendary WORKPRINT version of the film, newly remastered. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be presented in a unique 5-disc digi-package with handle which is a stylish version of Rick Deckard’s own briefcase, in addition each briefcase will be individually numbered and in limited supply. Included is a lenticular motion film clip from the original feature, miniature origami unicorn figurine, miniature replica spinner car, collector’s photographs as well as a signed personal letter from Sir Ridley Scott.
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 Batty (Rutger Hauer) and his creator Tyrell (Joe Turkell), alternate music and much more.
-Commentary by Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner
-Featurette All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cut”
Here are the contents of the case:
Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition) [HD DVD] – With Briefcase
For now, I have ordered the Five-Disc standard def set, as I still refuse to pick a winner in the High Def format war.
Even if you don’t want to spring for the five-disc set (which, in standard def, is a bargain at a sub-$60 price on Amazon), treat yourself to the two-disc set. With retouched special-effects, at least one reshot chase scene (they brought in Joanna Cassidy to reshoot Zhora’s death due to a continuity mistake in her boots and you could see the wires to her blood squibs!), this is a heck of a treatment for a very deserving film.