Reviews

Blade Runner: Director's Cut

5

Short-lived, difficult to track down, technologically advanced... just like the movie’s replicants, DVD copies of Blade Runner have been as hard to get a hold of as teardrops in the rain. The Director’s Cut was released on DVD in 1997 in one of the earliest waves of movies on shiny disc, but over the last few years it has drifted out of print and out of shops. And, despite seemingly every other Ridley Scott film coming out in all-singing, all-dancing versions complete with commentaries, deleted scenes and paint-by-numbers pop-ups of the Roman Colosseum (alright, so we made the last one up...), no new DVD editions of Blade Runner were forthcoming.

To understand why, we have to delve into the making of the movie – a futureshock thriller that, almost a quarter of a century on, still towers above any of its cyberpunk imitators. A complex, painful and costly shoot, Blade Runner went over budget: leading to the completion guarantee company Tandem stepping in and fiddling with Scott’s original vision. Planned scenes were scrapped, the unicorn sequence went out while a happy ending came in, and Harrison Ford’s voiceover was slathered on top. Tandem’s version went into cinemas and 1992’s Director’s Cut was Scott’s attempt to redress the balance...

What you might not know, though, is that Warner Bros has been involved in a protracted wrangle about DVD rights with Tandem and while the suits slugged it out, plans for a new edition of Scott’s movie sat on the shelf. But – pause to bellow “Hooray!” – Warners has finally won out and Blade Runner is resurfacing on DVD.First out is this glitzy remastered version of Scott’s 1992 Director’s Cut, in other words the best version yet. If you’re lucky enough to already have Blade Runner on DVD, then this is exactly the same version – voiceover-free, unicorn dream, constant arguments with family and friends over whether Deckard is a replicant or not – that you’ve already got. But that original DVD always seemed to have a fuzzy transfer, whereas this one is crystal sharp, bringing real clarity to Scott’s nightmarish 2019 cityscapes.

If you’ve never owned the film on DVD, then you’d be forgiven a slight rush of blood to the head. Heck, coupled with the fact that it’s only on shelves for a paltry four months before being permanently ‘retired’, you might even be forgiven for knocking a few old ladies over on your dash down to the shops. But hang on a minute. You see, while this is Good News, it’s not Great News. This Blade Runner is a vanilla disc, with no chat-track and zero extras. Why? Well, those are being saved for next year’s 25th anniversary re-release which promises to boast all the bells and whistles a Blade Runner fan could dream of (see over to your right...). We’re saving our pennies for that one, but we’ll forgive you if you really can’t wait and have to rush to pocket this one. After all, you’re only human right? Right?

 

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