has an average rating of 8.3 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a FIVE 50gb discs
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 & Digital 5.1
include 9 HOURS of features
– 1982 / 1992 / 2007 (Final Cut)
– 113 /117 minutes
Buy it for $19.95 @ Amazon.com
— Review written by Brendan Surpless
The Movie Itself is directed by Ridley Scott (known for many classics including “Gladiator“, “Alien” and “American Gangster“). The year is 2019 and the place is Los Angeles, California. Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a blade runner for the LAPD Blade Runner unit. He has been instructed to track and down and “retire” 6 replicants who hijacked a ship in space. The purpose behind this hijacking was to come back to Earth in search for their maker. Now Replicants are just like you and me in that they’re completely human and can bleed and die just like we can. The only difference in these Nexus-6 Replicants is that they can’t feel any human emotions. Now it’s up to Deckard to track down these Replicants in a future that may not be too far off. What results is a film that for the most part is worth the accolades it has received.
Something to note first is that upon initial release in theaters in 1982, “Blade Runner” was panned and ignored widely by audiences of all types. Since then the film has become a cult classic, and for many good reasons. The questions and thoughts the film raises are downright fascinating. First a little background on the film is necessary. Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick, “Blade Runner” raises the immediate question of human interaction with androids and are fascination with the unknown world and our desire to want to control what we don’t know. Many times throughout the film, the viewer must stop and think about what is being presented. This isn’t the type of film you can simply play in the background and do others things. The film demands your attention and requires, in all honesty, that you watch it many times over to fully understand everything that’s going on.
Considering this was my first time watching the film (I know, I know!), I found myself definitely pleased and intrigued by what I had just seen, but didn’t quite feel that the film was the absolute classic many label it as. I’ll never deny that the film isn’t excellent, just considering all the endless praise and accolades I’ve heard and read about it, I expected something like a “Schindler’s List.” (this reviewer’s personal best film ever made). What ended up was a movie that had me absorbed into the film, questioning each and every little aspect of the film (“is that person a replicant? What is with that unicorn dream? Is Deckard a replicant?”) wondering what was going on. Perhaps its that I’m not the biggest science-fiction genre guy (I’m not a real genre guy but I more base my movies on the director). Considering my love for Scott’s films, I felt I owed it to him and myself to see this. But the interesting thoughts aren’t the only aspect that make “Blade Runner” as good as it is.
The world that the film showcases is downright scary. We see the year 2019, a world we all know (Los Angeles, California) and it is nothing like we think. The sun has been blocked out (assumably due to exhaust and smog), rain continuously falls almost for 24 hours a day and everything looks dark and dreary. Almost like something out of some type of nightmare. I will admit that Philip K. Dick, especially when compared to his other works that have been turned into film (“Minority Report“), is a fascinating man that had quite the interesting mind. Sure we all can think of a time when we day dreamed and thought of a future world that is dramatically different from our current. But how often do our thoughts actual translate into something like “Runner” presents? When we think of a future, we hope for positive change (mostly because of the whole “children” aspect of the future), but this film completely debunks that idea. And what would a review be without mentioning the famous score by Vangelis?
For some reason I couldn’t help but remember and think of the score by Brad Fiedel used for the 1984 film “The Terminator“. Obviously made after this film, it really feels like Fiedel borrowed from this film as the scores share similar themes. Vangelis, originally developed a deal with Scott to write the film’s score, but an argument ensued and a different group of musicians was selected by Warner so they could release a score to the film. The film’s actual score, minus various bootlegs, has never been officially completely released in any audio format. With that said, the film’s score perfectly complements the themes and views of not only Deckard but also the time period and setting. Little techno blasts and pounding synthetic elements are used, almost in a manner that creates a type of haunting vision.
Yes “Blade Runner” is a fantastic film that is even more powerful viewing after viewing simply because of the questions and thoughts the film raises. Is a world with Replicants so far off? How far must humans go to seek that every lasting longevity of life before something like our creation turns on us. Folks there is a reason why this film has gained not only respect from critics but fans alike over the past 25 years. Upon first glance (I shared this similar sentiment) many thought the film was nothing that special, something rather slow and too drawn out. But after repeated viewings of not only this ‘Final Cut’, but also the accompanied other versions, “Blade Runner is something to behold, one of those rare films that comes along and is truly that great.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on FIVE BD-50′s (Dual-Layered 50 gigabyte Blu-ray Discs). In a word…WOW!! Warner has done a completely amazing job here with this film. Just about every aspect has been restored. Colors are downright amazing with many sequences containing such a bright and perfect image that I thought I was looking at a screensaver. Speaking of screensavers, some say that the image right around the 15 minute mark (where the sun is peaking into the room) could work as a screensaver to show off the improvement of hi-definition video. Anyhow the film’s print, which has obviously been restored for this final cut, is in immaculate condition. Take a look at any, really any sequence and notice how there is no notice of pixelation, video noise or anything that every becomes a nuisance. I did notice a bit of grain here or there but for a film that’s 25 years old, damn does this look fantastic.
Here’s something to tell you all about the casual hi-def viewers. Sitting down to watch this film with my family (who have all seen it numerous times), my folks couldn’t help but remark how clear and bright everything looked. In particular my mother noticed how the image, which appeared to have a gray, drab tone in the DVD and Television viewings, looked perfect with items and portions of the image that she had never even recognized before. Talk about an improvement huh?!?!
Audio Quality on this release is Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. From the moment the film opens, the complete aural effect the soundtrack creates is downright amazing. Vangelis’s score (which I talked about above) chimes in the background in a manner that coincides perfectly with the film. Dialogue is well rendered never becoming difficult or intelligible. Dynamics and discrete effects are positioned well creating a nice atmosphere that draws you into the world that’s unwinding in front of us. For quite some time, when speaking with others about this hi-def release, “Blade Runner” was difficult to understand as many of the subtle, quieter scenes were lost in the wind. With the TrueHD track, everything sounded clearer and had more overall oomph. I particularly liked how you didn’t need to necessarily crank this track in order to hear what was offered. All in all this is a fantastic effort from Warner, especially when compared to other release of the film.
Something to note is that the rest of the film’s cut only feature just a Dolby Digital (640kbps) while the Workprint features a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track as well but at 192kbps.
Disc One – The Final Cut
- Introduction and Commentary by director Ridley Scott: The one aspect I’ve always enjoyed about Scott on the various commentaries I’ve listened to is how genuine and intelligent the man comes off as. Obviously a fine director in his own right, Scott never blabs about items that have nothing to do with the film, but rather speaks on subjects that we want to hear about. Well-worth a listen as this is easily the best of the three available commentaries.
- Commentary by executive producer/screenwriter Hampton Fancher, screenwriter David Peoples, producer Michael Deeley and production executive Katherine Haber: Now this is exactly what I DON’T like about commentaries. Constantly both Fancher and Peoples speak about each other and how great Scott was instead of speaking about the themes and issues dealt with in the film. I mean come on now you wrote a film like this and you have nothing to say?
- Commentary by visual futurist Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David Synder and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumball, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer: Serving as the obvious technical commentary out of the bunch, this is the one for all of you out there who want to hear about the little aspects of the movie.
Disc Two – Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner
- Documentary: Running a whopping 211 minutes in length (which is longer than the film itself), this is the documentary to end all documentaries. Pretty much every little aspect you might even WANT to know about the film is covered here. We have interviews with Scott, Ford and many of the cast members, controversial issues like Ford and Scott’s relationship on set are dealt with as well (they weren’t the best of buddies to say the least). Even if you’re a slight fan of the film and you have a good amount of time on your hand, watch this as it’s damn impressive.
Disc Three – Archival Versions
- U.S. Theatrical Cut (1982): This cut serves as the standard “studio-approved” version with the “much-happy” ending. As Scott has said numerous times over on his director cuts, he just wishes the studio would let him release his version the first time.
- International Theatrical Cut (1982): If you’ve seen the main version of the film on TV, DVD or VHS, you’ll easily recognize this cut. The only big difference is that a few sequences are a tad more violent.
- Director’s Cut (1992): Running somewhat similar to the Final Cut that appears on Disc One, this cut eliminated the standard “happy” ending found on the original U.S. Theatrical Cut as well as included the infamous unicorn dream.
Disc Four – Enhancement Archive
- Inception: Here we get a majority of the basis of what the film was based on. From a look into Philip K. Dick’s “Electric Dreamer” novel to interviews with Dick himself shortly before his death in 1982, everything about the film’s beginnings is showcased here.
- Fabrication: The early thoughts and designs of the film is showcased here including wardrobes and actor screen tests. Also included are a few deleted and alternate scenes.
Disc Five – Enhancement Archive
- Longevity: Here we get a few Promotional Featurettes from the film’s original release in 1982. Also of note, which was pretty cool, was that we get all the various trailers used for the five different cuts that have been released. A look at the film’s art, fans and film’s main character is also showcased.
- Workprint: Presented here for the first time is the film’s Workprint with an introduction by Ridley Scott as well as commentary by Paul M. Sammon who was the author of “Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner“.