on February 6, 2009
Blade Runner is a sci-fi movie which takes place in Los Angeles in the year 2019. Replicants are genetically engineered organic robots that look, move and talk exactly like humans. They cannot be used on Earth but instead used to go off-world for dangerous missions such as labor work on planets where the environment is not suitable for humans. Since Replicants are highly intelligent (said to have the mind and brain of people who designed them) they can disobey Earth laws and come back to our planet. Those who do are hunted down and killed by a special task force called Blade Runners. Harrison Ford is a retired blade runner but is pulled back for a mission to hunt down a couple of replicants who came back to earth and have already killed a couple of citizens.
Considering how many years ago this film was made, the special effects still leave me almost breathless. I'm not sure what it is about the movie, but i always watch it in sort of a trance. I know the music is one factor, but i think the way the filming was done is another. Younger people might find this movie to be boring, but i think older audience will appreciate the story and the way the movie was made. It may be confusing at first, but try researching about the movie on the internet, and it will become much clear to you. When i read somewhere the ultimate question about this movie "Is Dex a Replicant himself?", i was totally taken by surprise. After i watched this movie the first time, i never even suspected him to be a Replicant himself. Keep this question in mind when you watch this, and the movie becomes a lot more interesting. I consider this to be on the same level as Alien 1 and 2 along with Stargate. Its just one of those older sci-fi that doesnt matter how much time goes by, they'll always be a good watch.
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!
on July 7, 2010
What can I say. I have eight different copies of this movie, and could be considered a cult fan of Blade Runner. This copy is in Bluray, which gave me a new experience in that the movie almost jumps off the screen in this media. It is still the same Blade Runner that I know and love, but so much more vivid and viewable. I saw things that I had not seen in prior viewings, and am very impressed with Bluray. I don't know what they will follow this media with, but it will need to be impressive. The movie? What the hey, I ain't no film critic, but I love it. There are only a few movies that I watch more than once and this is one of them. Give it a go. You also may love it like I do.
on January 1, 2008
This 5 disc edition of Ridley Scott's 1982 Blade Runner is the most detailed celebration of a single Sci-Fi Film Masterpiece on DVD so far!
The set is contained in a facsimile of Deckard's briefcase which originally contained his Replicant finding equipment, the Voight-Kampff Test in the film.
The set contains FIVE versions of this creepily prophetic and ultimately moving film of what it is to be Human, and humane:
1) The original Workprint version which was shown to test audiences before the film's 1982 general release. It contains over 70 scene differences to the other four versions as stated by Paul Sammon, author of "Future Noir"-The Making of Blade Runner", who gives an interesting and informative optional commentary throughout. One of the most interesting differences in this rough-cut version is the use of musical "temp" tracks - music used from other past film scores to back key scenes. Thus, in major scenes like the love scene and the climactic duel between Ford and Hauer, we hear music from "Planet of the Apes" by Jerry Goldsmith, as well as some music by "Titanic" composer, James Horner, NOT the final unique music by Vangelis! A fascinating insight into the filmmaking process.
In addition, there is an interesting documentary on this disc detailing the many versions of the film, as well as an amazing section with actor Joanna Cassidy, who returned in 2007 after 25 years to digitally re-shoot her death scene whereby replacing the head of the original stunt woman in the film with her own, thus finally correcting one of the famous flaws of this cult movie.
2) The original Theatrical U.S. version which contains the controversial "voice-over" narration by Harrison Ford's character, Rick Deckard, and the bizarre upbeat ending.
3) The 1982 International Cut, which is similar to the U.S. version but contains extended scenes of graphic violence. This is the version that was originally released on VHS tape in the 80's.
4) The 1992 so called "Director's Cut" which was put together without the direct input from Ridley Scott as a result of an accidental (?) showing of the workprint version at a film festival. This is the first version released without the voiceover and including the director's unicorn sequence.
5) Ridley Scott's "Final Cut" of the film which was completely supervised by him, and has crystal-clear digital picture restoration, and is by far the best sounding version of the film in 5.1 Dolby Surround which sounds incredible and showcases Vangelis's amazing music as no other version does! In addition to Ms. Cassidy's revised death scene, the infamous "flight of the dove" shot that ends Rutger Hauer's moving "tears in rain" death scene is finally digitally corrected in this Final Cut.
As Ridley Scott says, this version is really "cool"!
This version also has THREE separate commentaries: one by Ridley Scott, one by the writers and producers, and one by the special effects technicians. All contain fascinating insights and anecdotes by the participants.
ALL the versions contain a brief introduction by Ridley Scott. It is obvious that the director put a lot of time and detail into the making of this DVD set. All archival versions are made from the best available sources and look and sound remarkably good; even the rare Workprint is good - a bit contrasty, but clear and was made from the only existing print.
The documentaries are exhaustive and detailed, the main one being over three hours long. There is even an audio interview with "Electric Sheep" author Philip K. Dick, on whose story Blade Runner is based, made shortly before the author's death.
Why get this 5 disc DVD set? I got it just for the Workprint, which is the ONLY version of the sets that has it! In the briefcase, there are a number of collectibles, only found in this set, such as Gaff's origami unicorn, made of plastic (!) , a little model of the Spinner vehicle whose doors open, an interesting moving sequence of frames from the film encased in thick plastic like a little paperweight, and a colour portfolio of production artwork by the film's futurist designer, Syd Mead.
In addition to this 5 disc set, there is a 2 disc set that has the Final Cut and three hour documentary, and a four disc set that has the Final Cut, the two 1982 versions and 1992 version (minus the Workprint) and most of the documentaries, minus the one on the various versions with Joanna Cassidy (which is on the Workprint disc only).
If you are a fan of this film, you MUST have this set; nothing less will be satisfactory. It's also available in Blu-Ray and DVD-HD versions. If you are a student of film, get this set just for the Workprint!
on August 20, 2012
We all know the movie and all different versions. So there is no point to repeat again. But, I'm really pleased that Amazon slashes the price to such a great extent. With 1 disc less and without the unnecessary steel briefcase, the price is almost $500 cheaper than what those ebay people are ripping off on the 5-disc set. I didn't even think twice and I have placed order right away.
on December 20, 2007
Finally, we get treated to a real director's cut of this fabulous film.
I've just barely started to watch the final cut and some of the documentaries in the box, but so far I am very pleased.
It's great to have 5 versions of the movie so we can see how different the feel and interpretation of the story is with each one.
The packaging is just great... just what this big kid geek needed! It's (almost) worth the price in itself :-) :-) The Deckard briefcase is cool, and the little Spinner replica and unicorn origami figurine are great.
Overall, a great gift for anyone who loves Blade Runner.
on February 5, 2008
Now that I have spent almost 10 years waiting for this edition to come out I am happy to say my wait has paid off.
The new final version is OK and the commentaries are very interesting but the star of the set is actually the very long documetnary on the making of Blade runner which gives a very very informative look on how Blade Runner was made from conception to the final product as well as public reception of the movie.
on May 20, 2014
The product description and all the reviews show this as a 5-disc set, however be aware that the one I purchased (the Bluray version) is ONLY a single disc of the Final Cut version only. The other versions are not included. While that's great, I was looking forward to getting the theatrical and other versions also on Bluray.
I wish the re-release would put both Director's Cut and the theatrical version (with the voice over) as we watched this version and I had to explain the movie to my wife as it was playing and explained the ending (The Director's Cut assumes you have read the book "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep" -- and excellent book, btw!)
Same issue as with the Star Wars original trilogy -- how about giving the viewers the OPTION to select which version they would like to see?!
(Especially when the newer version is so bad -- yeah, I'm looking at you Mr Lucas!)
The 3 disk Final Cut version is probably the best gift you could get for science fiction geek or film buff.
US theatrical release cut. International theatrical release cut. Directors cut. The "Work Print Cut" that inspired going back to fix up the technical flaws in Blade Runner. And the new "Final Cut".
And then the extras, on top of that. I think they added up to something like 6 hours of documentaries.
The film had 3 art directors. They have commentary by all 3 art directors.
- Production was held up due to strikes in Hollywood that year, so the film was in pre-production for several extra months, and the art directors and their teams were working enhancing their plans all that time.
- This film was the pinnacle of practical special effects. After it computer generated effects took over. So they go into detail on exactly how they did everything and why they did it that way. Its an art direction course in a box!
The film had two screen writers, in addition to Phillip K. Dick who wrote the story that inspired them. The have lively commentary by both screen writers. So screen writing course in a box too!
And of course they have commentary by director Ridley Scott. And he talks about the nitty gritty of directing, how to save money, who to get the best from the people working for you. Not the usual fluff.
That immense list of extras Amazon has put in the product description, a couple of dozen entries long, they're all worth it. Its all extensive and great info presented in an interesting way.
A note on the Final Cut. Blade Runner production was cut short because it ran over budget and ran over the budget extension (the completion bond). That meant the original versions had a couple of flaws that many enthusiasts noticed.
Ridley Scott and his team went back, went through the excess film footage (which due to a warehousing error had never been discarded) and corrected as much as they could. Then they got some of the original actors back to fix defects like the notorious wrong wig -- using computer techniques to only change the wig. They got Harrison Ford's son in to fix the incorrect mouth movements in the market, using computer techniques to keep Harrison's face, but replace the lips with his son's as his son says the words in the sound track.
Its all seamless, just little corrections to glaring errors in the original film. And you can see what it originally looked like since you also get the 3 earlier releases and the work cut version.
People will debate which version of Blade Runner is best. Ridley Scott says the Final Cut is his favorite.
Blade Runner is one of the world's really great sci-fi films. I highly recommend this film to any adult or teenager who likes a great plot, great acting and great special effects. And as I said at the start, this is the best gift you can get a sci-fi geek or film buff.
When you go to watch it, play Ridley Scott's short introduction, then play the Final Cut.
Then you can spend the next month or two going through all the extras and other versions.