October 30, 2007, - 10:40 pm

Cool: Re-Mastered “Blade Runner” Hits Movie Theaters

By Debbie Schlussel

**** UPDATE, 10/31/07
: Forgot to mention that in the original 1982 “Blade Runner,” Harrison Ford narrates, like in the old detective movies. That was removed by Director Ridley Scott and isn’t in the new “Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” which was too bad, ‘cuz I liked the narration. ****
One of my absolute favorite movies of all time is “Blade Runner.” I saw it, again, over the summer, and unlike many futuristic movies from the ’80s, this one stood the test of time for me. Hard to believe the movie’s 25 years old.
Still, a re-mastered version is being rolled out for a limited engagement in movie theaters around the country (already in New York and Los Angeles theaters. It’s mostly appearing in arthouse theaters, like Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theaters. “Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” will–of course–be reviewed on this site, when after we screen it, early next week.
So, what’s different about the updated version? Here’s the info Warner Brothers studio sent me:

bladerunnerfinalcut3.jpg

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Ridley Scott’s science fiction masterpiece, “Blade Runner,” starring Harrison Ford, is making a long-awaited return to the big screen with a completely re-mastered director’s cut, “Blade Runner: The Final Cut.” The film has not only been completely restored with new and improved special effects, but also includes never-before-seen added and extended scenes that Ridley Scott created specifically for the new edition.
Visually spectacular, action-packed and enduringly provocative since its original 1982 release, the stylish noir thriller “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” stars Harrison Ford in the enigmatic role of 21st-century detective Rick Deckard. As he hunts for vengeful, fugitive replicants in a high-tech future soured by urban and social decay, he is drawn to a mysterious woman (Sean Young) whose secrets may undermine his own soul.

Here’s the trailer:


No word yet on whether Vangelis’ excellent “Blade Runner” music (among my fave futuristic music), which runs during the end credits, is in the new version, but here it is:

One of the things I love about this movie–and the book upon which it’s based, by the late Philip K. Dick (“Robot Blues: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“)–is that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the humans and the Replicants. The only difference is that the humans have empathy, and the Replicants do not. It’s kind of the same difference between those of us who value freedom and love America, and those who are in America strictly to further their extremist Islamic religion. We have empathy, they have none . . . especially for us. Oh, sure there are a few exceptions like the Sean Young character, but you get the point. Phony niceness does not equal empathy.
Yup, a great movie on so many levels. As I always say–and it applies to this film–I love Harrison Ford, the actor (versus Harrison Ford, the person and draft dodger). The script dialogue is also the source for the title of one of my favorite Rob Zombie songs (actually, the only Rob Zombie song I like), “More Human Than Human.” That’s the motto of the Replicant makers in the movie, as one of them proclaims:

More human than human is our motto.

(On an interesting side note, Harrison Ford’s career kept up on a steadily rising trajectory after this, whereas Sean Young’s really went nowhere, unless you count her stint as a transsexual football player/police detective in “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.” Laces Out!)
Visit the “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” website.

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18 Responses

I found the 1982 theatrical release kind of boring , but I was barely a teen when I first saw it. Later I got into Philip K. Dick, and saw the director’s cut and liked it a whole lot more.
[The only difference is that the humans have empathy, and the Replicants do not. ... We have empathy, they [Islamic extremists] have none . . . especially for us. Oh, sure there are a few exceptions like the Sean Young character, but you get the point. Phony niceness does not equal empathy.]
True perhaps but I think one of the morals of the director’s cut is that it takes a thief to catch a thief.
Happy unicorn dreams…

Norman Blitzer on October 31, 2007 at 1:47 am

Great to see another “Blade Runner” fan on the web! I can’t wait to see the “final cut” version. BTW, Rutger Hauer was also brilliant in it.

Witch-king of Angmar on October 31, 2007 at 3:43 am

Wow Debbie, didnt know you were a fan of the Runner. This is one of my favorite Ford movies as well (not first, thats reserved for Indiana Jones). Ridley Scott is also one of my favorite directors. Some of his movies are bland (Thelma & Louise), but most are among my favorites (Blackhawk Down, Black Rain, Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien and (dont laugh) 1492). Blade Runner has to be my second favorite sci-fi, gritty-look-at-the-future, action thriller only to Mad Max and The Road Warrior.

RadicalRightWinger on October 31, 2007 at 9:21 am

I loved this movie since the first time I saw it on beta max way back. I own the theatrical and director’s cut version. I’m looking forward to this release.
RadicalRightWinger: I laugh every time I watch 1942. I love that movie as well.

Gorgar on October 31, 2007 at 10:54 am

The Director’s Cut, not the 1982 theatrical version, was the venerable Ridley Scott’s intended version of the film. I really loved this film–cerebral sci-fi with lots and lots to think about–unlike the horrible Independence Day.
Mad Max and Road Warrior were also great.
Interestingly enough, I believe it was Scott who came up with the term Director’s Cut, and this was the movie that term came from. He went on to release a “Director’s Cut” of Alien, which consisted of the film with some of the deleted scenes and other niceties added.

richardzowie on October 31, 2007 at 10:55 am

Debbie: I remember getting the 10th Anniversary edition of “Blade Runner” in 1992, on VHS (no such thing as DVD’s way back then!). No narration, a few added scenes, perhaps a bit “cleaned-up.” No narration was ever necessary; the 10th, and now apparently the 25th, are about the same “Director’s Cut,” it seems — I’ll have to get the DVD which I’m sure will be of far higher quality than my old videotape from ’92!
If the new release gets folks interested in reading great science-fiction, like that from Philip K. Dick, or Robert A. Heinlein, or Issac Asimov, or Harlan Ellison, then more power to it.

theendisnear on October 31, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Is it just me or does anyone else prefer the orginal version over the director’s cut? I like the Harrison Ford narration and the ending.
The soundtrack is one of my favorite CDs. I particularly like the song “Memories of Green”
[R: I LIKED THE HARRISON FORD NARRATION, TOO. HOW DOES THE ENDING DIFFER? PLEASE POST IN ANOTHER COMMENT. DS]

Rick on October 31, 2007 at 5:28 pm

It has been a while, but I particularly liked how the narrator described how the replicants were merely searching for the same answers that everyone else was: where did I come from?, where are we going?, how long do we have?
My grandfather died shortly before this movie came out and that ending hit me hard. I loved my grandfather.
Does the Director’s cut do this? And without narration?
I seem to remember it didn’t.
BTW, I read the book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” and the movie is much better.

Rick on October 31, 2007 at 5:53 pm

If I may explain the two endings, but first the mandatory….
SPOILER ALERT!!!
1982 version – Ford and Young go driving off into the sunset.
Director’s cut- During the story, Ford falls asleep at a piano and has a dream of a unicorn prancing about. At the end, just as Ford and Young leave the building, Ford finds an origami of a unicorn. A replicant has its memories and dreams implanted so the ending implies that Ford’s character,Deckard, is a replicant.
http://www.dvdmg.com/bladerunner.shtml
Actually, the “director’s cut” of Blade Runner included on this DVD makes the replicant or human debate seem less vague. This occurs because of the inclusion of the “unicorn scene.” At the end of the original theatrical version of the film, Edward James Olmos’s character Gaff leaves a paper representation of a unicorn outside Deckard’s apartment door; Gaff drops origami throughout the film kind of as a Greek chorus. Deckard finds this as he leaves with definite-replicant/love-interest Rachel (Sean Young) to escape the blade runners who will surely pursue them.
In the director’s cut, however, we see a dream that Deckard has midway through the film. At that time, he dreams of – bingo! – a unicorn. We already established that replicants have implanted memories, so the unicorn seemed to indicate that Gaff knew that Deckard has the image of the unicorn in his brain. As such, that seemed to more strongly indicate that Deckard was a replicant. This wasn’t the only clue, but it certainly seemed to push the debate much closer to the “Deckard’s a replicant” side of things.

Norman Blitzer on October 31, 2007 at 11:15 pm

As much as I am a fan of the Blade Runner film, (and most of PKD’s works) the prospect of the re-re-release of BD leaves me with two thoughts:
“Cool” and “Ugh”.
“Cool” for my expectation of the improved sound, FX, etc. for one of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies.
“Ugh” for the expectation that this version might just be ‘flashy’ and no ‘substance’ (think Turner’s ‘colorization’ of classic b/w movies) just to get my $10, or that Hollywood is going to add/delete something just to say something political or to ‘not offend’ some group. (Pray that I’m just being paranoid on that.)
Deb – before you screen the new film (lucky!) watch the classic 1-hour “Outer Limits” episode “Demon with a Glass Hand”. As a BD fan, you may freak out a bit when you see Robert Culp running around the Bradbury building where some of BD would be filmed decades later.

Stuboy on November 1, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Update – I type too fast sometimes… “BR” for Blade Runner, not “BD”. Oops.

Stuboy on November 1, 2007 at 1:43 pm

I thought I was alone in preferring the 1982 original. Glad to know I’m not.

DocLiberty on November 2, 2007 at 9:12 pm

“The only difference is that the humans have empathy, and the Replicants do not. It’s kind of the same difference between those of us who value freedom and love America, and those who are in America strictly to further their extremist Islamic religion. We have empathy, they have none . . . especially for us. Oh, sure there are a few exceptions like the Sean Young character, but you get the point. Phony niceness does not equal empathy.”
Wow, you so didn’t get this film.

qbit9 on November 16, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Pity Ridley Scott didn’t realise that without the narration by Harrison, many people really didn’t understand what was going on in the movie. He should have listened to Harrison and left the movie alone. If you get a chance to watch a copy with Harrsion explaining what is taking place, do so, it is far better than Mr Scott’s, what I see to be, a pathetic attempt to say, “hey, as the director of this movie, this is the way you should have seen it and I will call it, the director’s cut.” Get over yourself Ridley, the movie was just fine the way it was.

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