Blade Runner: Four Disc Collector’s Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Los Angeles. 2019. Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a ex-cop who used to hunt down replicants, dangerous off the grid androids who pose some kind of threat. He has been retired from the assassination field for a while, but his old boss Bryant (M. Emmet Walsh) has just called him back into service. A group of high end, cutting edge replicants have escaped from the Tyrell Corporation and now, Deckard is to find them and eliminate them. He visits the Tyrell Corporation and learns this new replicant design doesn’t just look human, but thinks it is human. The models are even implanted with memories, so Deckard’s task will not be a simple one, but he plans to finish his assignment. But as Deckard delves deeper into the situation and even starts to bond with one of the replicants, will he ever find the truth?

The fans of Blade Runner have treated to several different versions of the movie, but now, director Ridley Scott has given us his Final Cut. This is his preferred vision of Blade Runner, with extended & deleted scenes, new dialogue, and new special effects. The movie runs under a minute longer, so the changes here aren’t severe, but Scott has polished some rough spots and put a fresh coat of paint on some issues. This Final Cut is by no means a revelation, but it is Scott’s true vision and his new version works, so fans should be quite pleased. Blade Runner wasn’t a success in its theatrical run, but in subsequent re-edits, it has become quite popular, thanks to its stylish vision of the future and dynamic performances. The visuals are striking to be sure and the story is effective, especially in Scott’s Final Cut. I recommend Blade Runner with high praise and Warner has outdone themselves here, but keep in mind, there is also a five disc release, complete with replica briefcase. But this four disc edition is still stacked, with four cuts of the movie, plus a host of supplements.

Video: How does it look?

Blade Runner is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I’ve read a lot of discussion about this new transfer and how accurate it is or isn’t. The colors do have more of a slant toward blues and greens, so flesh tones reflect a more natural tint, as opposed to the reddish ones from the original Director’s Cut release. I also noticed the visuals are darker, but not to the extent that detail is sacrificed. These alterations have given us a deeper image, as the colors are set off more thanks to the darker black levels and the visuals just seem more natural. I found detail to be strong in this Final Cut, but of course, not up to the level seen on the high definition releases. So in short, this is a refined presentation that does tinker with the visuals, but it all works out and the movie looks terrific here.

Audio: How does it sound?

A new Dolby Digital 5.1 option has been included and without question, the audio is much improved here. The surrounds really enhance the experience, adding presence and life to almost every scene. The presence isn’t always powerful, but it is at times and regardless, the surrounds are always effective. The smaller touches stood out, such as subtle cues to immerse us in the film’s atmosphere. But as I said, there is some power here and when need be, the surrounds crank out some impact. No issues with vocals at all, as dialogue is crystal clear and consistent. The Final Cut also offers a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The first disc is home to the Final Cut, which has an introduction by Ridley Scott and not one, not two, but three audio commentary tracks. The first is a solo session with Scott, the second is with producers Hampton Fancher & Michael Deely, co-writer David Peoples, and production executive Katherine Haber, while the third is with visual consultant Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paul, art director David L. Snyder, and special effects gurus Richard Yuricich, David Dryer, and Douglas Trumbull. These prove to be an exhaustive source of production information, with so many perspectives covered. Each session offers a unique look at the production, so all three are well worth a listen. The second disc is home to only one supplement, but Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner is all we could want and then some. This piece runs over three and a half hours and chances are, whatever you want to know about the movie, its all in here. The piece has interviews with all the prominent cast and crew members, plus deleted scenes, outtakes, and production footage. This is one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive documentaries I’ve seen, simply a masterful look at how Blade Runner was created.

The third disc allows us to revisit the previous incarnations of Blade Runner, so you can compare and contrast the various versions at your leisure. So we have the 1982 U.S. theatrical version, the 1982 international theatrical version, and Scott’s 1992 Director’s Cut, all presented with seamless branching so you can watch whichever version you choose. This is invaluable, as fans can see how the movie changed and evolved, or just see these previous editions with all new visual treatments. While I think the Final Cut stands as the definitive version of Blade Runner, it is a welcome inclusion to provide these other, well known renditions. The fourth disc is known as the Enhancement Archive, home to even more supplements on the film’s production. Some of this is touched on in the Dangerous Days piece, but some topics are expanded upon here, if you can believe that. You’ll find over a dozen additional new behind the scenes featurettes, not to mention vintage featurettes, screen tests, deleted & alternate scenes, a look at how the film was restored for this release, television spots, and yes, even the film’s theatrical trailers.

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