those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain"
Los Angeles 2019,
four replicants have returned to Earth from exile in the Off-World colonies.
With these synthetic humans, used as slave labour around the galaxy, banned
from ever returning to the planet, replicant hunters known as Blade Runners
are employed to track down and retire them before they can disappear into
society. Charged with this job is Rick Deckard (Ford), who discovers that
replicant leader Roy Batty (Hauer) has a different agenda and is hunting down
the people that made him.
When it comes to naming
one of the most influential science fiction movies of all time, most critics
and film fans alike would name 'Blade Runner' but twenty-five years after
its release does it still have the same impact?
In 1982, the adaptation
of Philip K. Dick's novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' was released
to a mixed critical reaction and a lukewarm box office reception but over
time and with the advent of home video, Ridley Scott's science fiction masterpiece
became one of the most celebrated movies of all time. After the phenomenal
success of his previous film 'Alien', the decision to follow it up with another
Sci-Fi movie might have seemed a risk and at the time it was, competing with
'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial' this dark vision of the future struggled to find
an audience but now 'Blade Runner' has rightfully earned its place in the
echelons of science fiction greatness.
What 'Blade Runner'
did was redefine the vision of the future that both movies and television
had defined over the decades. Gone was the utopian vision of a beautiful,
futuristic Earth that had been shown to us so many times in 'Star Trek', 'Buck
Rogers' etc, here we had a distopia and a vision of a future Earth that is
becoming a reality. Scott and his creative team showed us a Los Angeles, covered
in a vale of pollution, over populated and controlled by Mega-Corporations.
Dirty with the divide between the rich and poor becoming ever greater, this
is a vision of the future that is dangerously close to becoming a reality.
This also recreated a 'Noir' feel in a futuristic world, with trench coated,
hard drinking detectives and smoking damsels in need of a strong man. Of course
an element of pure science fiction was injected into this world and it is
a plot that has caused debate amongst fans since its release.
The Replicants are
almost perfect artificial humans used as slave labour on Off World colonies
throughout the galaxy and because of this they have had their emotions restricted
and given only a four-year life span by their makers, the Tyrell Corporation.
Because of this, all Replicants have been banned from Earth and any that return
are hunted down by a special division of the police department called 'Blade
Runners'. When four of them, led by combat replicant Roy Batty return to Los
Angeles and start attacking Tyrell corporation employees. Blade Runner Rick
Deckard is given the job of 'retiring' them but his investigation leads him
to make a life changing decision and question everything he has ever done.
In 1982, this storyline of understanding, tolerance and love across insurmountable
boundaries still resonates today, especially with the current political and
Since its 1982 theatrical
release, director Ridley Scott has revisited the movie, most noticeably for
his director's cut. For its twenty-fifth anniversary however, the director
has delivered his 'Final Cut'. This version of the movie is the one that likes
the best and has had a few visual effects tweaks, a few scenes added and quite
a few things removed and a high definition restoration making the film look
even more visually stunning. The soundtrack has also been remastered, showcasing
the marvellous sound design and the beautifully atmospheric soundtrack by
Vangelis. Again this version will cause debate amongst fans, as they argue
about which is the definitive version and struggle to answer the biggest question
of them all, 'Is Deckard a replicant?'
'Blade Runner' is
one of the finest and most influential science fiction movies ever made. Without
it movies like 'Robocop', 'The Matrix' and many other classics of the genre
might never have came along. Mesmerising performances from Harrison Ford,
Sean Young, Daryl Hannah and especially Rutger Hauer, unsurpassed production
design and a storyline that is extremely deep, 'Blade Runner' is the definition
of a classic. While the some elements of the movie do slightly date it like
characters smoking, the use of then popular companies like 'Pan Am' and 'Atari'
on the advertising hoardings and fact that the film is set in 2019, which
is not very far away, this is still a version of the future that could easily
come to pass and one that will stay with cinemagoers for decades to come.
PICTURE & SOUND
The HD DVD feature is presented
in 2.4:1 Anamorphic 1080p Widescreen with a Dolby Digital 5.1 TrueHD soundtrack,
the digitally remastered High Definition transfer is quite simply stunning,
highlighting the stunning art design and visual effects. The special features
are presented in standard definition 480i or 480p.
Introduction by director Ridley
Scott (0.37 mins)
The man behind this visionary movie introduces his final cut of the film.
Commentary by director Ridley
One of the greatest filmmakers of all time provides another outstanding commentary
to one of his best movies. He talks passionately about this final cut of the
movie, explaining in detail the changes he has made the film, the overseeing
of the re-mastering of the movie and the inclusion of new visual effects to
enhance the film in High Definition. This is an excellent, informative commentary
from one of the best filmmakers working in cinema today and a must listen
to all 'Blade Runner' fans.
Commentary by executive producer/co-screenwriter
Hampton Fancher, co-screenwriter David Peoples, producer Michael Deeley and
production executive Katherine Haber
This chatty producers and writers commentary reveals many of the pre-production
and production stories of 'Blade Runner's' journey to the silver screen. Split
into pairs, the writers talk about their contributions to the story and adapting
Philip K. Dick's novel and the producers talk about the ups and downs of bringing
the film to the screen. This is another good track that fans should enjoy.
Commentary by visual futurist
Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder
and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumball, Richard Yuricich
and David Dryer
This is a more technical track with the people behind the look of the movie,
talking about the groundbreaking design and the vision of the future that
the film so vividly portrayed. This is another good track that offers another
insight into the production of the film.
Dangerous Days: The Making of
Blade Runner (213.52 mins/Standard Definition)
Director Ridley Scott, executive producer/co-writer Hampton Fancher, producers
Michael Deeley and Ivor Powell, art designer David L. Snyder, production executive
Katherine Haber, screenwriter David Peoples, production designer Lawrence
G. Paull, special visual effects supervisor Douglas Trumbell, supervising
editor Terry Rawlings and stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl
Hannah, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh and Joanna Cassidy come together
in this comprehensive documentary that covers every aspect of the making of
'Blade Runner'. Split into sections entitled 'Incept Date 1980: Screenwriting
and Deal Making', 'Blush Response: Assembling the Cast', 'A Good Start: Designing
the Future', 'Eye of the Storm: Production Begins', 'Beyond the Window: Visual
Effects', 'In need of some Magic: Post Production Problems' and 'To Hades
and Back: Reaction and Resurrection', this is a stunning compendium to the
movie and at over three and a half hours long, nothing is missed out about
the production of this groundbreaking piece of science fiction.
The two disc HD DVD treatment for
the 'Blade Runner: The Final Cut' showcases how high definition can make movies
of any age look magnificent. The picture and sound quality is simply stunning
and with the digitally re-mastering and enhanced visuals, this is the best
version of the movie you will ever see. The 'Dangerous Days' is also stunning,
covering every aspect of the film's production. While there is not as much
here as in the five-disc DVD release, HD DVD buyers will be happy in knowing
they have the best version of the film to watch.
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