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PHOTOGRAPHY

BLADE RUNNER- FINAL CUT 5 disc Limited Edition
DVD Revie by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 117 minutes (Final Cut version- Disc One), three audio commentaries, trailers, Dangerous Days documentary (184 minutes- Disc Two), various released versions of the film (Disc 3), Philip K. Dick featurettes and deleted scenes and original trailers and more (Disc 4), and Workprint and Final Cut featurette (Disc 5)
VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English, French 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Ladd Company/ Blade Runner Partnership/ Run Run Shaw
RELEASE DATE: 12-18-2007

BLADE RUNNER holds a special place in my heart. It is also a classic which has influenced countless movies, TV shows, music videos, and even fashion. I have seen the film countless times since I first watched the Director's Cut in 1992. I have collected magazines, boooks, and the soundtrack CD. BLADE RUNNER has clearly imprinted itself into my brain. I see something new everytime. The Final Cut version features new footage, digital fixes, and other discoveries. It is worth any fan's time to check this DVD out.

BLADE RUNNER takes place in near future Los Angeles (2019) where humanity has colonized other worlds and they have synthetic slaves that look like us called Replicants. The catch is the Replicants aren't allowed on Earth and have a brief four year old lifespan to make sure they don't develop too many feelings. A group of Replicants escape to Earth. They are led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer delivering the movie stealing performance). Whenever Replicants escape to Earth, people called Blade Runners are used to kill them. It isn't called murder- it's retirement. Roy Batty and the others in his group (Zhora, Pris (Daryl Hannah), Leon (the late Brion James)) want more life from their creator, Eldon Tyrell- ahead of the Tyrell Corporation responsible for creating the Replicants.

Deckard (Harrison Ford in a movie he hated for so many years after his unpleasant experiences of making it) is a retired Blade Runner forced back into doing one more job for his old boss, Bryant. Bryant wants Deckard to kill the skin jobs (slang for Replicants). Two of have already been fried trying to break into the Tyrell Corporation. Deckard goes to see Tyrell and discovers a new Replicant named Rachel (Sean Young) who has false memories and doesn't know she is a Replicant. Deckard begins to track the replicants with the help of Bryant and Bryant's right-hand man, Gaff (Edward James Olmos).

BLADE RUNNER is a visual tour de force. Director Ridley Scott put so much detail into the film. It also has a great score by Vangelis. It brings forth questions about what it means to be human. Deckard is dehumanized while Roy is the most human (even when he does horrible things). Deckard discovers what he lost when he gets tangled up with Rachel. BLADE RUNNER is loosley based on the great sci-fi novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? by late author Phillip K. Dick (who took too many drugs and then thought he was being watched by the FBI while thinking he was being contacted by a living lifeforce or God called Valis). The film had many problems during the production with the crew not trusting Ridley Scott's vision and Ford being unhappy (Ridley was more interested in the visuals back then instead of teh actors). Then more production befell during post-production and the preview screenings which led to a happy ending being filmed and a narration by Ford being tacked on (which no one liked at all).

BLADE RUNNER was a bomb at the box office with mixed reviews from critics. Then something happened in the following 10 years from BLADE RUNNER's release in 1982. It found a following on cable TV and VHS. A screening at the Egyptian Theatre (with the workprint version of the film that lacked all fo the forced changes) lead to the film to be restored to it's original form in the so-called Director's Cut (which Ridley didn't have much involvement in since he was working on 1492 at the time). The DC was released in 1992 to very favorable reviews. The happy ending was gone and Ford's voice over wasn't to be heard. A lost Unicorn dream sequence was seen. In teh years after, BLADE RUNNER made it's way to DVD. Then the rights issue poppped up when Ridley Scott wanted to do a proper cut of the film and a good DVD special edition for 2002. It all finally worked out in time for the final Cut version to be put together and an extensive five disc version for the 25th anniversary in 2007. The Final is re-edited and features some special effects fixes (remove wires from the spinner car taking off and removing a stuntwoman's face from one scene).

SPECIAL FEATURES: The first two discs which form the special edition of BLADE RUNNER- FINAL CUT features three audio commentaries, a three and a half hour documentary on the making of BLADE RUNNER called DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER (disc two), and trailers for other films- I AM LEGEND, FRACTURE, INVASION, and SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY (disc two).

The three audio commentaries contain a wealth of information (some which is repeated in DANGEROUS DAYS documentary). The first track is by director Ridley Scott. Track two is by co-screenwriters Hampton Fancher (also an executive producer) and David Peoples, along with producer Michael Deeley and production executive Katherine Haber. Track three has futurist Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder and special effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer. The audio commentaries have all types of info to entertain you. Ridley briefly reflects on ideas for a BLADE RUNNER sequel which will never be.

DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER is the ultimate making of documentary that covers ground on everything to do with making the film featuring interviews with various cast and crew, Phillip K. Dick's daughter (Isa Dick Hackett), Paul M. Sammon, the DVD Producer (Charles de Lauzirika), a film critic, and directors who love the film. It features bits from the screen tests and deleted scenes which can be found on disc four of the 4 disc Collector's Edition and the 5 disc Limited Edition.

DISC 3 contains three versions of BLADE RUNNER- Theatrical version (1982), international version (1982), and the Director's Cut (1992). Each one is seemlessly branched with an introduction for each version by Director Ridley Scott.

DISC 4 has many fantastic extras. The best one is the 47 1/2 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes using unused narration (for the film) by Harrison Ford. You will be amazed by the material that was cut including two alternate versions of the happy ending, a love scene, and more. Then you have unseen screen tests for Rachel and Pris. Nina Axelrod as Rachel and Stacey Nelkin as Pris give you a look at what could have been. Too bad the screen tests for Sean Young and Darryl Hannah have lost their audio tracks. A few trailers for BLADE RUNNER are also on the disc. THE DISC's menu system is split into three categories- INCEPTION, FABRICATION, and LONGEVITY.

THE ELECTRIC DREAMER: REMEMBERING PHILIP K. DICK looks at the life and work of the sci-fi author while SACRIFCIAL SHEEP: THE NOVEL VS. THE FILM compares the two. Author of FUTURE NOIR: MAKING OF BLADE RUNNER offers up the audio interviews he did with Philip K. Dick during the longprocess of making BLADE RUNNER from pre-production to almost around the time when Dick died.

The FABRICATION section of the menu system offers several things other than the deleted scenes and screen tests. SIGNS OF THE TIMES: GRAPHIC DESIGN FASHION FORWARD: WARDROBE & STYLING THE LIGHT THAT BURNS: REMEMBERING JORDAN CRONENWETH- a featurette on the director of photography for BLADE RUNNER.

LONGEVITY offers three 1982 promotional featurettes (ON THE SET, CONVENTION REEL, BEHIND-THE-SCENES OUTATAKES), four theatrical trailers for BLADE RUNNER (1982 teaser, 1982 theatrical trailer, 1992 Director's Cut, and the neat 2007 Final Cut trailer, 1982 TV spot, a trailer for The Dangerous Days Documentary, and three other featurettes: PROMOTING DYSTOPIA: RENDERING THE POSTER ART DECK-A-REP: THE TRUE NATURE OF RICK DECKARD- cast, crew, fans, and filmmakers discuss whether Deckard is a replicant or not. NEXUS GENERATION: FANS AND FILMMAKERS- Fans (like the editor of Horror Mag Rue Morgue who has Blade runner tatoos on her body) and filmmakers discuss why they love the film and the impact it had.

DISC 5 has yet another version of the film- a rarely seen Workprint version That sees it's DVD debut. It has optional audio commentary by BLADE RUNNER expert Paul M. Sammon. Paul M. Sammon points out all of the differences in the workprint compared to other versions including some production info on the film. It is definitely worth a listen. The other gem on disc 5 is the ALL OUR VARIANT FUTURES featurette that tracks the history of the different versions and give a very in-depth look at creating The Final Cut version from finding the film that was shot for BLADE RUNNER (which was luckily not junked), the digital fixes, and the CGI replacements to make the Zhora death scene look right and Deckard's lips match his words in another scene. DVD Producer Charles DeLaurizika is interviewed in this featurette along with others.

The limited Edition set comes in a padded silver briefcase. Inside the case besides the five discs are little toys of the Police Spinner (the doors even open up) and the origami unicorn, eight concept art (by Syd Mead) cards with facts about the film's production on the back of each, and a clear letter insert flap that is part of the case.

FINAL ANALYSIS: BLADE RUNNER is my favorite film of all time. It is a classic that deserves the ultimate DVD treatment. If you want all of the released versions on DVD and even more extras, at least buy the four disc Collector's Edition instead of the two disc Special Edition which features only the latest version of BLADE RUNNER and a making of documentary. The Limited Edition set is the best DVD of 2007 and tops even previous DVDs that Charles DeLaurizika did for other DVDs of Ridley Scott films.

this DVD review is (c)12-20-2007 (updated on 11-6-2008) David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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