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HTF DVD Review: Blade Runner: Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition



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#1 of 26 Ken_McAlinden

Ken_McAlinden

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Posted January 10 2008 - 05:17 AM

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Blade Runner: Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition

Directed By: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Darryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, Brion James, William Sanderson

Studio: Warner Brothers

Year: 1982

Rated: R

Film Length: 117 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1 (workprint is 2.2:1)

Subtitles: English, Spanish, French

Release Date: December 18, 2007

The Film

Blade Runner, an adaptation of Philip K. Dicks novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", tells the story of Rick Deckard (Ford), a detective in a dystopian future Los Angeles who specializes in tracking down artificial humans known as replicants. As the film opens, Deckard has recently abandoned his life as a replicant hunting "blade runner", but is impressed back into service to hunt down a group of four advanced "Nexus 6" model replicants that have escaped from their off-world colony and illegally come to Earth. The rest of the film follows the increasingly conflicted Deckard's efforts to "retire" the replicants while their leader, Roy Batty (Hauer), in an effort to learn the secret to extending his artificially limited life span, simultaneously follows a trail that leads him to Eldon Tyrell, the head of the corporation that created him.

I have always had somewhat ambivalent feelings about Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner". It is a film with a number of thematically rich ideas, most of which are not fully realized in a dramatic sense. On the other hand, it creates a cinematic future world so visually dense and intelligently layered at every level of the production's design from costumes and make-up to props, sets, and lighting, that it remains compulsively watchable through multiple viewings.

As an example in microcosm, the film takes from the source novel, the idea of a "Voight-Kampff" test that can be used to measure empathy. This is used to identify replicants who inherently lack in emotional empathic abilities -- even the most advanced ones with implanted false memories. The test is realized in great cinematic detail and used twice in the early going of the film inclusive of the opening scene. Thematically, this suggests that one's humanity can be measured by one's ability to empathize, and in the novel, this tied into a thread of the increasing dehumanization of Deckard as he carries out his cold blooded assignment. In the movie, it is subverted somewhat by another idea (also interesting but not complimentary) that the replicants are "more human than human", and the questioning of Deckard's humanity on a more basic level that is part of the film's subtext.

To be fair, the apparent thematic contradictions and relegation of some of the most compelling ideas to the visual and narrative periphery contribute significantly to the film's mystique, a quality that is generally in short supply in big budget special effects films of the last thirty years. This has certainly contributed to the films longevity and the passion of its fan base. Also adding to this mystique are some interesting choices made by the lead and supporting cast. In an eccentric performance, Rutger Hauer plays Batty much like a super intelligent, super strong, poetic-souled four-year old. On the surface, that is his character's actual age, but the film establishes that he has implanted memories [Note: My error - no it does not - see discussion below] that should address this. It is yet another of the film's several seeming contradictions that one can either complain about or rationalize, but either way it is ripe for discussion. Edward James Olmos' character of Gaff is so quirky and enigmatic that one gets the sense that the more his role was trimmed from the final film, the more iconic he was destined to become. Harrison's Ford's portrayal of a world-weary Deckard seems to sketch in the details of his past that are never really provided, even in the exposition-heavy voiceover from the film's original theatrical release. Dramatically the viewer is expected to feel the stress of Deckard's present assignment building on the accumulation of Deckard's unspecified past history. Ford's performance takes what would seem like an insurmountable shortcoming at the screenplay stage and nearly eliminates it.

The editorial history of the film is almost as interesting as the film itself, and is reflected in the five separate presentations of the movie available on this release. The original "US Theatrical Cut" featured a good deal of voiceover narration that was added in the film's post-production stage when test audiences seemed to have trouble following the narrative. It also included an ending involving two characters driving through a beautiful mountainous countryside that seemed contradictory to the hell on Earth environmental dystopia realized in the rest of the film. The "International Theatrical Cut" was identical to the "US Theatrical Cut" save for the addition of a few hundred frames of excised violence in two scenes. Almost ten years after the films original release, a stir arose when a 70mm presentation of an early "Work Print" of the film was shown in Los Angeles. Among several other editorial differences, the "Work Print" deleted the "happy" ending and almost all of the voiceover. In the wake of tremendous positive response to the "Work Print" screenings, Warner assembled a "Directors Cut" that addressed three of Ridley Scott's major concerns about the original theatrical release, but was otherwise editorially very similar to the "International Theatrical Cut". It removed all of the voiceover narration, it inserted a unicorn dream sequence that ties into another moment near the film's conclusion, and it deleted the "happy" ending. This "Director's Cut" became the dominant presentation of the film on broadcast and home video for the next fifteen years. During this time, the film's cult only grew thanks to the likes of Paul Sammon's obsessively detailed book "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner". Claims by Ridley Scott that the director's cut did not really reflect his complete vision for the film fueled demand for a definitive cut of the film. In 2007, fifteen years and a few small and large false starts after the appearance of the "Director's Cut", the "Final Cut" arrived in theaters. The "Final Cut" gives Blade Runner a front to back editorial polish, incorporates the major changes that were included in the "Director's Cut", picks off a few more of the well-loved bits of the "Work Print" including the hockey masked go-go dancers and the improved replicant accounting in the scene where M. Emmet Walsh's character briefs Deckard on his assignment, and subtly employs digital effects to fix long-standing continuity errors large and small.

The Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition presents the "Final Cut" on Disc One; the "US Theatrical Cut", the "International Theatrical Cut", and the "Director's Cut" on Disc Three via seamless branching; and the "Work Print" on Disc Five, amounting to the most comprehensive presentation of the film ever released on home video.

The Video

Final Cut

The 16:9 enhanced 2.4:1 presentation of the "Final Cut" looks absolutely pristine. The film looks like it could have been shot yesterday (using vintage lenses that are more susceptible to lens flares than their modern counterparts, naturally). Compression is very good and edge ringing is non-existent. For the most part, it looks very film-like, but my only slight criticism is that the black levels of certain shots appear not quite right, likely due to contrast adjustment in the digital domain slightly beyond where the film element naturally wanted to go.

US Theatrical, International Theatrical, and Director's Cut

While not as pristine as the "Final Cut", the 16:9 enhanced 2.4:1 video presentations of the "US Theatrical Cut", "International Theatrical Cut", and "Director's Cut" are also very satisfying. Contrast and color appear well-balanced, film artifacts are minor, and compression is very good. I did not see the re-issue of the "Director's Cut" from 2006, but the presentation here is a substantial improvement over the late 90s DVD release.

Work Print

The presentation of the work print is predictably rougher than that of the four other versions of the film with more noticeable film artifacts. Its 16:9 enhanced presentation is framed at 2.2:1 consistent with its derivation from a 70mm print. That being said, it still appears to have been carefully transferred to video, with excellent compression and decent contrast and color.

The Audio

The Final Cut

The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation of the soundtrack appears to have been as meticulously worked over as the image of the "Final Cut". The mix is highly discrete and the score in particular sounds spectacular with wonderful dynamics and a wide frequency response. An occasional slight harshness in dialog is the only thing that tips one off that the source elements for this mix are 25 years old. There is also a French Language dub in Dolby Digital 5.1, and subtitles are available in English, French, and Spanish

US Theatrical, International Theatrical, and Director's Cut

These three cuts are presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is not quite as dimensional in its approach as the mix of the "Final Cut", but sounds more faithful to the film's original mix. If you really want to hear it the way you remember it from previous video editions, a Dolby Digital 2.0 pro-logic track is also provided. A French 5.1 dub is also included along with subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

Work Print

The Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation of the work print sounds predictably rougher than the mixes for the other versions of the film, particularly during the last couple of reels, but still manages to impress with dimensionality and dynamics. I found it strangely compelling, warts and all, just because of how different it was than the other versions I had just watched.

The Extras

All of the various versions of the film are accompanied by very brief (well under a minute) introductions by Ridley Scott where he presents a couple of thoughts about the particular version of the film you are about to watch and expresses his hope that you will enjoy it.

Aside from the introduction, extras on the first disc consist of three audio commentaries.

First up is a solo commentary from director Ridley Scott. A lot of his most interesting comments are also repeated in his on-camera interviews from the other supplements, but he does get a chance to flesh out some of the ideas a bit more, and has a tendency to go of on some interesting tangents related to experiences making other films.

The second commentary includes screenwriter Hampton Fancher, screenwriter David Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley, and Production Executive Katherine Haber. Fancher and Peoples were recorded together as were Deeley and Haber in a separate session. The best part of this track is hearing Fancher and Peoples take the piss out of each other in a good-natured way. They frequently do not quite remember things about their relative contributions to the screenplay the same way, but at least some of their topics of confusion are answered within the context of other features. Deeley and Haber cover a broad range of topics ranging from getting the production off of the ground to the difficulties encountered during active and post production to some Monday morning quarterback-style discussion of how the film was released and marketed, but a lot of their comments also overlap with material covered in the documentaries.

The third commentary includes Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull, Art Director David L. Snyder and Special Photographic Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer. With all of these participants, it gets occasionally confusing, but it appears that Mead was recorded alone, Paull and Snyder were recored together, and Trumbull, Yuricich, and Dryer were recorded together before the three sessions were edited into one commentary. The participants cover a lot of ground with respect to the design and effects for the film. Mead talks frequently about various things he designed and how they were either adapted for the production or not used. Paull and Snyder offer insights into the challenges of the shoot and working with a director with a strong understanding of design. The effects crew talks about several topics including the nuts and bolts of how certain shots were accomplished, their efforts to blend their work seamlessly with the style of the film, and the relatively few effects shots in the film compared to modern productions.

The bulk of Disc Two is taken up by the documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner . It runs three hours, 33 minutes, and 57 seconds and is presented in 16:9 enhanced video with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound. Despite its intimidating length, the comprehensive documentary is very watchable and does not drag. Clips of deleted scenes and outtakes, production art, and behind the scenes footage are liberally interspersed throughout, making it much more visually interesting and editorially ambitious than most other "making of" documentaries. The DVD menus allow the viewer to watch it in its entirety or to view any one of eight chapters independently.

If the "Play All" option is chosen, it begins with an opening credits sequence that gives top billing to Daryl Hannah, Producer Michal Deeley, Harrison Ford, Joanna Cassidy, Rutger Hauer, Douglas Trumbull, Writer Hampton Fancher, Sean Young, Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Writer Davis Peoples, Edward James Olmos, and Ridley Scott.

Breaking it down chapter by chapter:

Incept Date - 1980: Screenwriting and Dealmaking deals with the genesis of the film's production. On-camera interview participants include Fancher, Deeley, "Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner" Author Paul M. Sammon, Daughter of Philip K. Dick Isa Dick-Hackett, Author Tim Powers, Scott, Son of Ridley Scott Luke Scott, Associate Producer Ivor Powell, Art Director David Snyder, Production Executive Katherine Haber, Ladd Company President Alan Ladd, Jr., Financier Bud Yorkin, Financier Jerry Perenchio, Heavy Metal Magazine Publisher Kevin Eastman, and Peoples.

Blush Response: Assembling the Cast deals with the casting of the film and includes comments from Deeley, Sammon, Scott, Snyder, Fancher, Ford, Casting Director Mike Fenton, Haber, Hauer, Actor Morgan Paul, Young, Powell, Hannah, Actress Stacey Nelkin, Cassidy, and Olmos.

A Good Start: Designing the Future deals with the film's production design and includes interviews with Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull, Scott, Snyder, Visual Futurist Syd Mead, Production Illustrator Tom Southwell, Trumbull, Vehicle Fabricator Gene Winfield, Assistant Art Director Stephen Dane, Yorkin, Peoples, and Perenchio

Eye of the Storm: Production Begins starts with the first day of the film's production and continues on from there with comments from Scott, Paull, Key Grip Cary Griffith, Young, Trumbull, Ladd, Deeley, Sammon, Ford, Snyder, Perenchio, Yorkin, Powell, Peoples, Film Director/Ridley's Brother Tony Scott, Script Supervisor Ana Maria Quintana, Hauer, Lighting Gaffer Dick Hart, Cinematographer/son of Jordan Cronenweth Jeff Cronenweth, Actor Joe Turkell, Make-up Artist Marvin G. Westmore, Mead, Marketing Consultant Jeff Walker, Paul, Hannah, Actor James Hong, Actor M. Emmet Walsh, Stunt Coordinator Gary Combs, First Assistant Cameraman Mike Genne, and Olmos.

Living in Fear: Tension on the Set deals with some of the issues encountered during the arduous shoot with comments from Sammon, Cassidy, Scott, Snyder, Fancher, Powell, Yorkin, Ladd, Quintana, Walsh, Perenchio, Combs, Hannah, Deeley, Westmore, Haber, Hauer, Paull, Ford, Hart, Supervising Editor Terry Rawlings, and Special Photographic Effects Supervisor David Dryer.

Beyond the Window: Visual Effects deals with the ground-breaking but decided old-school effects work done for the film with comments from Snyder, Trumbull, Scott, Dryer, Dane, Special Photographic Effects Supervisor Richard Yuricich, Powell, Matte Painter Rocco Gioffre, Chief Model Maker Mark Stetson, Model Maker Bill George, Lead Model Painter Ron Gress, EEG Still Lab Photographer Virgil Mirano, Matte Painter Michele Moen, Yorkin, and Hannah.

In Need of Magic: Post Production Problems deals with a number of issues that arose as the film was being finished and tested before audiences inclusive of the tacked on voiceover and narration from Ford. On a happier note, it also touches on the Vangelis score without a hint of controversy or angst. Interview participants include Rawlings, Marketing Consultant Jeff Walker, Peoples, Fancher, Scott, Son of Ridley Scott Jake Scott, Luke Scott, Perenchio, Yorkin, Powell, Tony Scott, Ford, Deeley, Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, Filmmaker Frank Darabont, Sammon, Haber, Southwell, and Cassidy.

To Hades and Back: Release and Resurrection Concerns the films release, lack of initial commercial success, and subsequent influence and growth of its cult audience. On screen comments are provided by Perenchio, Film Critic Kenneth Turan, Rawlings, Darabont, Yorkin, Del Toro, Filmmaker Joseph Kahn, Hauer, Fancher, Hong, Haber, Dick Hackett, Ford, Dryer, Trumbull, Hannah, Powell, Walker, Southwell, Scott, Sammon, Restoration Producer Charles de Lauzirika, Jake Scott, Deeley, Dane, Visual Effects Artist Dennis Muren, Television Producer Ronald D. Moore, Filmmaker Mark Romanek, Del Toro, Paul, and Ridley Scott's Daughter Jordan Scott

Disc Two also includes a theatrical trailer for I Am Legend as well as DVD trailers for Fracture, Invasion and Superman: Doomsday.

Other than the intros, Disc Three does not contain any extras.

Disc Four is labeled "Enhancement Archive" and consists entirely of additional supplemental material. From the main menu, there are selecetions called "Access", "Inception", "Fabrication", and "Longevity". For some reason, there is also a "Languages" selection, but there are no language options besides English (Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kbps bitrate), and there are no subtitles available at all.

The "Access" selection offers a sub-menu where the viewer's only choice is "Play All Featurette". Selecting this item plays all of the newly-created featurettes available on the disc. Together, they run two hours, thirteen minutes and 49 seconds. In my descriptions below, I will use an asterisk (*) to indicate any special features that are not included in this "Play all" feature.

The "Inception" menu includes three selections, all relating to author Philip K. Dick:

The Electric Dreamer - Running fourteen minutes and 23 seconds and presented in 16:9 enhanced video, this featurette profiles Dick, the author of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", the source novel for "Blade Runner. It offers biographical detail as well as critical analysis of his works. In addition to archival interview clips of Dick, there are newly filmed on-camera comments from author Jonathan Lethem, author Brian Aldiss, author Tim Powers, Paul M. Sammon, daughter Isa Dick Hackett, author Gerald Ackerman, author James Blaylock, step-sister Lynne Aalan, biographer Greg Rickman, and son Christopher Dick.

Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel vs. the Film - Running 15 minutes and 10 seconds and presented in 16:9 enhanced video, this featurette details the narrative and thematic differences between the book and the film. Details include discussion of certain episodes and concepts from the book that are completely absent from the movie as well as differences in the concepts of androids/replicants. In addition to archival audio comments from Dick, newly recorded on-camera commentators include Sammon, Lethem, Producer Michael Deeley, Screenwriter Hampton Fancher, Aldiss, screenwriter David Peoples, Powers, Rickman, and Director Ridley Scott.

Phillip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews* - An audio-only feature, this is a collection of interviews of Dick recorded by Paul M. Sammon between 1980 and 1982. They are provided with no time-coding, and broken up into segments titled "Inspiration for 'Electric Sheep'", "The Meaning of 'Electric Sheep'", "Wanting to Write the Script", "Hollywood", "Not Asked to Write the Script", "Adapting Books to Movies", "Being Left out of the Production", "Problems with the First Screenplay", "Hating Hampton Fancher's Script", "Lashing out Against 'Blade Runner", "Meeting Ridley Scott", "Loving David Peoples' Script", "Viewing 'Blade Runner' Footage", and "Harrison Ford".

The "Fabrication" menu includes five selections, all relating to the film's production:

Signs of the Times: Graphic Design runs thirteen minutes and 41 seconds and is presented in 16:9 enhanced video. It focuses exclusively on the work done by production Production Illustrator Tom Southwell. Southwell turned out hundreds of graphics that were used in the film for neon signs, uniform insignias, key cards, parking meter labels, magazine covers, restaurant menus, and countless other applications. Southwell discusses how his work was applied, feedback and direction he received about his design approach, and some of his favorite pieces of work intercut with numerous examples of his work ranging from his own sketches to detailed production illustrations to actual completed props.

Fashion Forward: Wardrobe and Styling runs twenty minutes and 41 seconds and is presented in 16:9 enhanced video. It concerns the works done by Charles Knode and Michael Kaplan in designing the clothes for the film as well as some discussion of hair and make-up. It features on-camera comments by Scott, Costume Designer Michael Kaplan, Harrison Ford, Make-up artist Marvin G. Westmore, Sean Young, Joe Turkell, Rutger Hauer, James Hong, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, and Daryl Hannah.

Screen Tests: Rachel and Pris runs eight minutes and 55 seconds. After a brief introduction by Casting director Mike Fenton, it features screen tests from Nina Axelrod auditioning for the role of Rachel and Stacey Nelkin for the role of Pris. Both of their screen tests are preceded by the recently recorded footage of the actresses reminiscing about the process.

The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth runs twenty minutes and three seconds and focuses on Cinematographer Cronenweth. Topics include some discussion of his professional history followed by extensive discussion of his work on Blade Runner. Interview participants include Sammon, Scott, Gaffer Dick Hart, Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth (Jordan's son), cinematographer Ernest Holzman, Key Grip Gary Griffith, First Assistant Cameraman Mike Genne, Additional Photographer Stephen Poster, Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull

Deleted and Alternate Scenes* runs 47 minutes and 41 seconds if "Play All" is selected. The 24 scenes are very cleverly assembled using outtake narration footage and score so that the "Play All" presentation plays as almost an alternate presentation of the film's story.

The "Longevity" menu includes five selections, all relating to the film's promotion and subsequent impact:

1982 Promotional Featurettes* consists of two vintage featurettes, identified as On the Set and Convention Reel, as well as a collection of silent behind the scenes outtake footage from the film's production. They are presented in 4:3 video with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound and run a total of 36 minutes and 19 seconds if "Play All" is selected. Promotional bits and narration are interspersed with some interesting behind the scenes footage during the two vintage featurettes.

Trailers and TV Spots* includes the 1981 Teaser Trailer (16:9 enhanced - 1.85 aspect ratio - running one minute and 42 seconds), the 1982 Theatrical Trailer (16:9 enhanced - 2.4:1 aspect ratio - running three minutes and 38 seconds), a 1982 TV Spot (16:9 enhanced - 16:9 aspect ratio - running 33 seconds) , the 1992 Director's Cut Trailer 16:9 enhanced - windowboxed 4:3 aspect ratio - running one minute and 35 seconds), the 2007 Dangerous Days Teaser Trailer (4:3 video - 2.4:1 aspect ratio - one minute and 36 seconds), and the 2007 Final Cut Trailer (16:9 enhanced - 2.4:1 aspect ratio - two minutes and 27 seconds). The 1982 Teaser and Theatrical Trailers include voiceover narration by a faux Harrison Ford. The identity of the "replicant" Ford in the trailers is revealed in one of the commentaries, but I will leave that discovery as an exercise for the viewer. Interestingly, the 1992 Director's Cut Trailer includes no dialog from the film at all, only Vangelis music and a few sound effects. A "Play All" feature is also available for the trailers.

Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art runs a total of nine minutes and 38 seconds and focuses on the creation of the original and re-release posters. Poster artists John Alvin and Drew Struzan discuss the posters they created for the film, both used and unused, their specific processes and, notes about the art of movie posters in general. The interviews are intercut with clips of lots of examples of poster art draft sketches, and abandoned concepts.

Deck-a-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard runs nine minutes and 34 seconds and concerns the controversial question of whether or not Ford's character of Rick Deckard is in fact a replicant himself. It includes comments from a number of folks on both sides of the question including Sammon, filmmaker Mark Romanek, Olmos, fan and Magazine Editor Jovanka Vuckovic, Scott, Supervising Editor Terry Rawlings, filmmaker Frank Darabont, Hampton Fancher, Filmmaker Joe Carnahan, Luke Scott, David Peoples, Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, Jake Scott, associate Producer Ivor Powell, Ford, Cassidy, Hauer, Hannah. The funniest bit is when Olmos slips-up and says "Cylon" before smiling and quickly correcting himself to say "replicant".

Nexus Generation: Fans and Filmmakers runs 21 minutes and 52 seconds and allows various fans and admirers of the film to discuss their continuing fascination with the film and geek out a bit. Commentators include Guillermo Del Toro, Special Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren, Director Mark Romanek, Magazine Editor Jovanka Vuckovic, Magazine Publisher Kevin Eastman, Director Joseph Kahn, Director Joe Carnahan, Motion Picture Archivist Bryan Ebenhoch, Philip K. Dick Biographer Greg Rickman, Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, Director Steve Loter, Director Frank Darabont, Film Critic Kenneth Turan, Bladezone.com Editor Gary Willoughby, Producer Ronald D. Moore, Jordan Scott, Author Jonathan Lethem, CHUD.com Editor Devin Faraci, and Luke Scott.

Disc Five includes the Work Print version of the movie, which is accompanied by an authoritative commentary by Paul M. Sammon. He is a Blade Runner trivia machine, and I mean that in the best way possible since he literally wrote the book on the production and release history of the film. He spends a lot of time pointing out the unique aspects of the Work Print compared to the Theatrical Cuts and the Director's Cut (he had not yet seen "The Final Cut", but everything he says he understands will be part of it turns out to be accurate), and engages in a bit of a "spot the neon dragon" game, but manages to squeeze a tremendous amount of additional detailed information into his comments. One gets the sense that he could have done another two or three commentaries before running out of material.

In addition to the Work Print, its commentary, and its associated introduction from Scott, Disc Five includes All Our Variant Futures a 28 minute and 31 second featurette presented in 16:9 enhanced video with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound devoted to the various versions of the film and the work that went into making "The Final Cut". This has lots of neat behind the scenes information about how the audio and video elements used for assembling the Final Cut were identified, the editorial philosophy that informed the assemblage of "The Final Cut", how it was decided which errors to "fix", and how some of the more elaborate changes were accomplished. The most interesting of these involved filming Joanna Cassidy acting out a scene 25 years later so that her head can replace that of an obvious stuntwoman. The interview where this idea is first broached with her and she expressed enthusiasm for doing it is even included. Other changes covered in depth include the digital replacement of Harrison Ford's mouth and jaw with that of his son, Benjamin, to fix a dialog synchronization issue and the recreation of a shot of a Dove flying into the sky that had day for night continuity issues. This featurette includes lots of behind the scenes footage from the over five year period between when the project was initiated and when it was completed (after substantial efforts in the early 2000s, it was mothballed for around three years before the financiers deemed it appropriate to resume work to coincide with a 25th anniversary release). Interview participants include de Lauzirika, Sammon, Scott, Turan, Restoration Specialist Kurt P. Galvao, Preferred Media Operations Manager Brian Towle, Restoration Visual Effects Supervisor John Scheele, Cassidy, and Benjamin Ford.

Packaging

Warner did not provide me a review copy of the actual packaging for the five disc set. They instead provided the Four-disc Collector's Edition in its digipack packaging along with the fifth disc separately packaged in a slim CD case. All I can say about the packaging for the five disc set along with all of the various toys and gewgaws is that it looks cool but a bit unwieldy based on what I have seen on store shelves. The DVD menus are cleverly designed to resemble the display screen of the "Esper" computer used by Harrison Ford in the film inclusive of clicking and bleeping sound effects. The Four Disc Special Edition packaging includes some erroneous descriptions of extra material on Disc Four, suggesting that there is a profile of Syd Mead (there is not) and that there is a documentary on the restoration (it is actually on Disc Five, not available on the Four Disc Special Edition).

Summary

Just when I was willing to commit to "The Jazz Singer" as the catalog release of the year, Warner comes along and tops themselves with this set devoted to the many versions of Blade Runner. If you have the remotest interest in this film, I would not hesitate to purchase this release unless you would rather have it in one of its high-definition varieties.

Regards,

Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#2 of 26 Robert_eb

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Posted January 10 2008 - 09:22 AM

Nice review.

#3 of 26 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 10 2008 - 10:45 AM

I have watched all 3 versions on Disc 3.

Most striking difference so far is the removal of the narration.

This gives a totally different vibe to Blade Runner
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#4 of 26 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted January 10 2008 - 11:31 AM

I just noticed that I neglected to mention the trailers and TV spots on Disc Four. Give me ten minutes to type it up and then prepare yourselves for the HTF Blade Runner DVD Review "Reviewer's Cut". Posted Image

Note: It is now updated with the trailer information

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#5 of 26 Brett_M

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Posted January 10 2008 - 01:02 PM

Nice review.

One nit pick: Batty, nor any other Nexus 6 (with the exception of Rachel), has implanted memories. That is never alluded to or mentioned anywhere in the film with regards to the 6 skin-jobs who escaped offworld and came home.
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#6 of 26 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted January 10 2008 - 02:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett_M
Nice review.

One nit pick: Batty, nor any other Nexus 6 (with the exception of Rachel), has implanted memories. That is never alluded to or mentioned anywhere in the film with regards to the 6 skin-jobs who escaped offworld and came home.
You are absolutely right. I possibly had things muddled with the book (which I have not read in over 20 years, so maybe I am just muddled in general). I seem to remember this being one of the reasons it took longer to identify them via Voight-Kampff, same as Rachael in the film. In the movie, the memory implants make them easier to control which is why Rachael (and possibly one other replicant - Wink. Wink.) are less rebellious.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#7 of 26 Ray_R

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Posted January 10 2008 - 07:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
You are absolutely right. I possibly had things muddled with the book (which I have not read in over 20 years, so maybe I am just muddled in general). I seem to remember this being one of the reasons it took longer to identify them via Voight-Kampff, same as Rachael in the film. In the movie, the memory implants make them easier to control which is why Rachael (and possibly one other replicant - Wink. Wink.) are less rebellious.

Regards,
It's in my own inclination that Rachael could be a proto-typical Nexus-7. I haven't really gotten around to watching the set yet but can't wait to finally watch all of it.
I'd quite like to read what Deckard was up to before he came out of semi-retirement before the time of the film. Perhaps it's in one of the other cuts? I'm most familiar with the 1992 Director's Cut. Can't wait to hear Paul M. Sammon's commentary on the Workprint cut. Quick question, is there an updated edition to Paul M. Sammon's Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner? I've been rereading it (I own the first printing from 1996) as of late.
I wish there were some extras about the 1997 Westwood Studios video game though. Figure I might as well look up a bunch of different sites about it. I do own the 4-disc CD-ROM set though.
Could've been a six disc set with this included but I figure it would've taken up more time.
All-in-all, it's a very beautiful set. Due to it's limited run of 103,000, what's everyone's number? Mine's #043397.
It's been a long time waiting for this set and it's more than worth it for a fan of this film.

#8 of 26 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 10 2008 - 09:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_R
I'd quite like to read what Deckard was up to before he came out of semi-retirement before the time of the film. Perhaps it's in one of the other cuts? I'm most familiar with the 1992 Director's Cut. Can't wait to hear Paul M. Sammon's commentary on the Workprint cut. Quick question, is there an updated edition to Paul M. Sammon's Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner? I've been rereading it (I own the first printing from 1996) as of late.

Amazon.co.uk: Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner: The Making of "Blade Runner": Books: Paul M. Sammon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray_R
I wish there were some extras about the 1997 Westwood Studios video game though. Figure I might as well look up a bunch of different sites about it. I do own the 4-disc CD-ROM set though.

Is this just a game ?
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#9 of 26 Sumnernor

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Posted January 11 2008 - 01:17 AM

A good review. I am not aware of any other reviews which lists the names of all people that took part in the extras.

I have the 5 disk BOX PAL version obtained from the UK. You mentioned about there not being any subtitles for disk 4. I checked my version - there is only one language (English audio) and many subtitles including English and German. Therefore I was surprised to read that there were NONE for the US version! Is it possible that your review DVDs was not "complete". Have other R1 people found no subtitles for disk 4 ????

#10 of 26 Colin Jacobson

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Posted January 11 2008 - 02:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumnernor
A good review. I am not aware of any other reviews which lists the names of all people that took part in the extras.

I do this in all my reviews - including my Blade Runner reviews...
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#11 of 26 Brett_M

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Posted January 11 2008 - 03:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
You are absolutely right. I possibly had things muddled with the book (which I have not read in over 20 years, so maybe I am just muddled in general). I seem to remember this being one of the reasons it took longer to identify them via Voight-Kampff, same as Rachael in the film. In the movie, the memory implants make them easier to control which is why Rachael (and possibly one other replicant - Wink. Wink.) are less rebellious.

Regards,


Wink, wink indeedPosted Image
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#12 of 26 Ray_R

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Posted January 11 2008 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by oscar_merkx
I did say video game.Posted Image It's very good. Still need to see if I still have it and do a full install of it again. It has multiple endings based upon the choices you make. The interface is adventure/point-and-click but slightly simplified. Main character is "n00b" Blade Runner Ray McCoy. Game take place parallel to film in which you can see Deckard in the background of a photo. No direct interaction though. If you can find it for a reasonable price I recommend purchasing it. There was a DVD-ROM version which was a bundle with DVD-ROM drives back in 1997. It's the same as the CD-ROM version just only on one DVD-ROM.
I think I left the game in my housemate's room...

#13 of 26 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 11 2008 - 10:43 AM

I meant to say videogame.....
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#14 of 26 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted January 14 2008 - 12:26 AM

By the way, I remembered the bit in the film that made me think that the Nexus 6 replicants would have implanted memories like Rachael. It was the first scene with Batty where Batty asks Leon if he was able to retrieve his precious photographs. This is certainly nothing more than a suggestion that they might have fake memories like Rachael rather than a definitive indication.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#15 of 26 Travis Brashear

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Posted January 14 2008 - 12:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
This is certainly nothing more than a suggestion that they might have fake memories like Rachael rather than a definitive indication.

No, it's a truism that they take pictures, like the one with Ratty in the "Thinker" pose that Deckard uses to find Zhora. I take it that these replicants are taking photographs because it's the only way they can build a base of memories for themselves from scratch.
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#16 of 26 Brett_M

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Posted January 14 2008 - 03:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Brashear
No, it's a truism that they take pictures, like the one with Ratty in the "Thinker" pose that Deckard uses to find Zhora. I take it that these replicants are taking photographs because it's the only way they can build a base of memories for themselves from scratch.

My take exactly.
Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it meant to roast in the depths of the Sloar that day I can tell you.

#17 of 26 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 14 2008 - 03:33 AM

Ridley talks about a Humphrey Bogart movie during his commentary quite a bit with reference to Harrison Ford. I don't recall which Bogart movie it is.

Anybody else who might have a clue which one he is talking about ?
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#18 of 26 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted January 14 2008 - 03:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Brashear
No, it's a truism that they take pictures, like the one with Ratty in the "Thinker" pose that Deckard uses to find Zhora. I take it that these replicants are taking photographs because it's the only way they can build a base of memories for themselves from scratch.
Certainly a valid take, but since the film seems to establish the fact that the replicant(s?) with memory implants is (are?) provided with/fascinated by photographs even when they do not know that they are replicants, and none of the replicants are ever shown taking a picture or even in possession of a camera, there does seem to be a hint that something else may be going on there as well.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#19 of 26 Joe D

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Posted January 25 2008 - 08:16 AM

I've basically given up on audio commentaries with DVDs these days because I've heard it all before, but the 2nd commentary track with Hampton Fancher and David Peoples is absolutely entertaining and informative.

#20 of 26 Travis Brashear

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Posted January 25 2008 - 01:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden
Certainly a valid take, but since the film seems to establish the fact that the replicant(s?) with memory implants is (are?) provided with/fascinated by photographs even when they do not know that they are replicants, and none of the replicants are ever shown taking a picture or even in possession of a camera, there does seem to be a hint that something else may be going on there as well.

Regards,

We never see Bryant's toilet; do you suppose he never takes a crap? Not picking a fight, just saying that millions of things aren't shown in any given film, but are accepted as so without constructing intricate "conspiracy theory"-type explanations instead.
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--Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

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