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5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Comprehensive Study of a Film Masterpiece on DVD, Jan. 1 2008
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This review is from: Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition) (2007) (DVD)
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!
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