Starring: Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer
Director: Ridley Scott
Studio: Warner Home Video
Production Year: 1982
Media Year: 2007
Has it really been 25 years since the theatrical release of Blade Runner? I can still remember the exact day I saw it for the first time. I remember being barely into my teens going with friends, girls were involved and an inevitable spurn. But that didn’t matter, because for an hour and a half I got peek inside Los Angeles, 2019 and it left a mark on conscious that would never go away.
George Lucas gave us dirt in science fiction. The worn out futuristic stuff of places in Star Wars like Mos Isley were a far cry from the white, sterile environments of 2001 Space Odyssey.
Now Ridley Scott seemed to take Mos Isley’s grit and put it into a context with which we can really identify. LA in 2019 was strewn with garbage, commercialized with ads everywhere you looked, soaking wet with endless rain and so desperate you might see a blonde that looked like Daryl Hannah sleeping on the street.
Blade Runner was one of the most influential films of my generation. It didn’t just reflect an inevitable future that many now see coming to pass. Ridley Scott might have actually had a hand in creating our present post-modern, nostalgic, non-culture.
The film’s pacing is slow by the standards of science fiction action movies today, so it shouldn't be mistaken for one. Blade Runner isn’t afraid of long pauses with no dialogue. It’s a brilliant movie that sucks you into its melancholy mood. And hopefully leaves you thinking about what it is to really be alive.
The 5-disc special edition making rounds wherever you by DVDs appears in all major formats HD DVD, Blu-ray and standard DVD. You can buy the set of five discs in a straight package but if you have room to store swag with your movies you can go for the special deluxe brief-case edition with a few added goodies. Personally I just got the regular HD DVD case packed with all five of the discs that appear in the brief-case version.
You get four versions of Blade Runner – the 1982 Theatrical Release, International Release and the 1992 Director’s Cut all of them lovingly restored in HD.
In an intro Ridley Scott personally swears to us the new 2007 - Final Cut is the definitive film he meant to make when he made Blade Runner. Three more discs are packed with special features too numerous to mention.
Sound: :4stars: Dolby Digital 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is very well done. I’ve watched that opening scene a dozen times before getting these discs and I’ve probably watched it at least six more times in HD DVD. Words like gripping, compelling come to mind. The lone synthesizer sound-track, the sounds of heavy industry blowing flames and filth into the atmosphere are all recreated with great detail. The surround channels are well used for motion as the flying cars zoom off screen. Then the subwoofer is recruited quite nicely but never over-used. This isn’t exactly a bass-laden soundtrack.
Video: :4stars: Anamorphic 2.20:1
When the flying car approaches that pyramid looking building that serves as the headquarters of the Tyrell Corporation, all I can say is … wow, this is a 25 year old movie? The detailed structure, the light-up windows, the many shades of darkness show remarkable acuity and dimension.
Of course there are scenes that show their age. The bright offices sometimes show a grainy sheen over the dull white light. But I will stand behind this as an amazing quality of video for a film of this age.
Special Features: You could camp out for days with all the special features on these discs. Most of it is actually interesting too. I haven’t seen it all yet but I’m relieved not to have to sit through info about CGI because this movie was pre-CGI it’s an interesting contrast to see how they did special effects and design elements in the pre-digital era.
Special Feature Discs: :5stars:
Disc 2: Dangerous Days – A very long documentary spanning about three hours.
Disc 4: Enhancement Archive. Packed with tons of extra footage, deleted and never before seen disc 4 exclusives. There are also audio-only interviews with Philip K. Dick about the making of this movie. I really enjoyed the life history of Phil K. Dick and the experts talking about his writing career and all the other movies that were made from his books gives the viewer a nice perspective.
Disc5: Workprint Version – Another rare version of the movie that actually uses alternate scenes and music in the sound-track. There are director’s commentaries, more making-of featurettes.
Needless to say if you’re a fan of the movie or science fiction in general, all I can say is run to the nearest retailer.
This is the most comprehensive release of a movie onto a disc format I’ve ever owned. It’ll keep me busy for months.