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Excellent Set! Blade Runner Done Right!
on December 29, 2007
Just finished watching the final cut of the film and want to give this set my highest recommendation. I opted for this 4-disc version because of price and because it had everything the 5-disc version has except the rough version and the toys, which are both nice, but I can live without.
The first thing that jumps out is how stunningly clear the picture is! I don't have blu-ray of HD, just standard DVD and the picture on the final cut really was cleaned up frame by frame. No scratches, no dirt. I won't say bright color because it's not that kind of movie, but clearly defined color and a sharp image. For the night scenes and interiors, the sharpness really helps as you can clearly see what's going on and the neon highlights frame every outside shot. When Zhora goes through the window, the neon framing is spellbinding. And, yes, they did fix the shot. It looks great if you haven't seen the movie, but if you're familiar with the scene your brain gets into a tug of war because the new insertion looks real but you've got the mental image in your mind of the stunt woman with the bad wig. Messes with your head a little. Also they claim they did the same restoration on ALL the versions available but I watched the 1982 US Theatrical version first and, although it looked great, it looked nowhere near as good as the Final Cut version.
One of the things I noticed for the first time on this super clean version is the jerk of a camera cut I never noticed before. I really wish they could have fixed this because it jars the viewer out of the scene. When Deckard pulls his gun on Leon and gets it slapped out of his hand, the image jerks for a fraction of a second. I had to go frame by frame to solve this little mystery and found the cut: When Deckard pulls the gun, his tie comes up with it. When Leon slaps it out of his hand, his tie is down. As the tie, in the up position is right in the middle of the frame and can be clearly viewed now, when it snaps down it affects the scene. They clearly combined two takes of the scene and did it very well -- just not seamlessly. I mean they got rid of the spinner cables, fixed Zhora, but left this little camera jerk during a great scene. It sounds minor, I know, but when you watch the movie, it'll get you. I don't know if this has been something Blade Runner fans have been talking about for years or not, but it was the first time I noticed it.
The narration is gone. This was my first time watching it without the narration and it played fine. I DO like the narration as well because I'm a sucker for old film noir and love the elements from The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep and countless other classics that are woven into the film. I didn't think I'd like the movie without the narration but I did though I'm also glad to have both versions on the set. And Scott went with "I want more life... father." Which I think works better but they were not able to synch Hauer's mouth to the word.
The sound is also incredible! And that's, again, on a standard TV. No home theater of surround sound. If you've got these things, the movie will rock!
What's added only enhances the movie. There are no big additions. Just fixing of effects, changing Zhora, giving the bird something a whole lot better to fly up to at the end. All of the effect additions are subtle. They make everything look real, which is the whole point, right?
If you're thinking of picking up one of the several hundred version that just came out, I think you'll come away with a new appreciation for the film. The clarity of image and sound reveal things you've never seen before no matter how many times you've seen the movie. They did a stellar job on the restoration. Plus the 3 and a half hour making of, 45 minutes of deleted scenes never shown in ANY version of the film, and featurettes on just about anything you can imagine related to the film. And you find out, once and for all, how Scott wanted us to view Deckard -- human or replicant.
If you've been waiting to see Blade Runner done right, the wait is over. It's not perfect (see above), but it's the best it's ever been. This is a great set, well worth the price!