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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blade Runner - My Comparison and Review

Blade Runner – 1982 Theatrical Cut
December 29th 2007, that was the first time I had ever seen the original theatrical version of the movie.  In the past, I had only seen the Director's Cut, and watching that version, I never knew if I really liked the movie or not.
Seeing the Theatrical cut really made me understand the movie more, and I really enjoyed it.  The narration by Harrison Ford really gave the movie character, and with the few words that Harrison said throughout the movie, the monologues explained certain parts of the story that I had never before noticed.
When I first put in the movie, I was happy to see there was a feature that included a short introduction by Director Ridley Scott, in this introduction, he pretty much expresses his distaste for the original version.  However, he is extremely polite in the way he goes about it, saying, "However this is not my preferred version of the film, and I know the original theatrical cut has its fans, thank you and I hope you enjoy it."
Starting the movie, it looked just the same as I had always seen it, I didn't notice any difference until I heard the first narration when Deckard was in China Town speaking his first narration, calling himself a "hired killer."  Next is when Gaff shows up, without that monologue, I would have never known his name.  The same goes with the Police Chief Brian, the narration gave me a little more insight on how Harrison viewed him.
The next part that really explained another aspect to the film to me was the monologue in which Deckard and Gaff enter the apartment that was mentioned by the replicant, Leon, at the beginning of the film.  This also paved way for the explanation of the photographs that Deckard pulls from the drawer, also for when Roy asks Leon about his "precious" photos, I just can't see why this would be cut out of the film.
Much of the movie from then on seems untouched, such as the meeting with the replicants Zhora and Leon, also Rachel going back to Deckard's apartment.  The only difference was the lack of there being the unicorn dream sequence hinting that Deckard might be a replicant.
After then, this is another dry area where the movie remained untouched.  This is when I noticed a few mistakes in the movie.  Such as the police vehicle being flown around that was being supported by a few cables.  Also when Deckard was in the dilapidated building that Sebastian lived, you can see the film crew follow in the shadows on occasion.
The ending is the part I really enjoyed; I really enjoyed having Deckard explain why he thought Roy had saved him.  This part had always confused be with the newer versions, I never really knew why Roy would save the man who had been hunting him.  Finally I really enjoyed the happy ending with Rick Deckard and Rachel driving out in the countryside, and learning that Rachael did not have an expiration date.  Seeing this ending, I still think I like the original questionable ending as seen in the Director's and Final Cut, with it being such a dark movie, it was so odd so see the bright shining sun at the end.

Blade Runner – 1982 International Cut
Right after seeing the 1982 Theatrical Cut for the first time, I started to watch the International Cut right away.  From the sound of it, I didn't know what to expect.  "International Cut," what to think?  The most I could have thought was that the film would have been in French or something along those lines.  I started the movie again with watching the Ridley Scott Introduction.  He then basically said that there were a few scenes of violence, and that he hoped that we enjoy the film.
I honestly don't know why they wasted DVD space on adding this cut, there was a total of about 10 seconds of additional scenes anyway, and I just didn't see the purpose of making an entirely new version just to put on a DVD.  I'm guessing that the extra scenes were added because nations such as Canada could play them in films and still keep a lower rating, they weren't at all that bloody or violent though.  The bloodiest scenes were still in the original cut with Zhora and Pris being shot multiple times, so it seems that if an innocent person gets their eyes crushes, that scene is dubbed to be too violent for American viewers, but if there is a "bad" woman who just punched Harrison Ford 3 times in the head get's shot, that served her right.
If I were to have a friend over who has never seen Blade Runner in the past, I would definitely choose the International Cut over the other three versions of the film.  That is unless the person was to have any objection to any gory violence.
After seeing this, I believe it was my favourite version of the film.  There really wasn't much difference at all to it besides the fact that there were a few additional scenes of violence in the film.  The scenes of "violence" consisted of Mr. Tyrell having his eyes crushed by the hands of Roy, Deckard being let down by his nostrils by the hands of Pris, and the nail going through Roy's hand.  I really enjoyed the original Theatrical Cut, but these few extra scenes were just cool, they didn't add much to the film, but you see a little bit more blood and I personally believe this is the way the film was meant to be seen.

Blade Runner – 1992 Director's Cut
This is the first version of Blade Runner that I ever saw.  This version left me quite confused as a whole about the entire movie, it left a lot of open spots and I had to have had explained to me by other people who have seen the original Theatrical Cut.  After seeing the movie for the first time after it being recommended several times by my friend Tracy, I decided to finally download it and watch it.  When it was done, I liked the concept of it, but it just left me with an empty feeling inside.  This time, I watched it with the Ridley Scott introduction, he once again said that this wasn't his preferred version of the film, and once again recommends his "Final Cut."  The reason he did this cut was to get the film to his original vision of it, I really appreciate him attempting to complete it; I know he didn't want to leave it "incomplete" in his heart.
The Director's Cut is a good film; however it had a lot of quiet areas in it.  Mainly where the Harrison Ford's narration was removed, but they did an extremely good job at cleaning it up so you didn't even notice that they were missing.
What I didn't quite understand was the addition of the idea that Rick Deckard was himself a replicant.  They clues given were the Unicorn dream sequence added as he slept at the piano surrounded by pictures of family he didn't seem to have.  Those clues I never picked up on, that just confused the hell out of me.  The reason I now understand what was attempted is only because it was explained to me by others and by researching on the internet.
The one thing I really enjoyed and preferred between this version and the original Theatrical Cut was the new ending.  The questionable "does she live or does she die?" ending just felt like it was the better route to go with the outlook of the movie.  The old happy ending was okay, but I felt that the sun and a blue sky didn't belong in the film.
Overall, I would have preferred that this cut have not been made, I just don't like it at all when I compare it to the 1982 versions of the film.  The only part I did like was the ending, however the rest just felt like it was a ball rolling through a maze without a true path.  There were so many ways to go, and none of them seemed to be right, none seemed to be wrong, it was all the opinion of the viewer.

Blade Runner – 2007 The Final Cut
This is the 25th Anniversary version of the Blade Runner, and according to director Ridley Scott, this is his favourite version of the film.  The reason he redid the films was so that he could have the film as close as he possibly could to his original vision of the movie.  The film looks great, it was digitally enhanced and the soundtrack was mixed and was taken from the original.
Starting out the film you see the same view of Los Angeles in 2019, but the landscape looks absolutely beautiful.  Beautiful in the "used" sense, I really love seeing this opening.  Everything looks so real, it's fantastic.  The first thing I noticed was that they changed Roy's eye a little bit as you see flames burst into the air.  Another thing I noticed was that they changed the colour of the lighting on the Tyrell buildings.  Instead of the fluorescent white lights, they are now shown in a blue; blue light windows are not unusual on modern buildings however, it all depends on the window tinting.  Window tinting like that however is not entirely natural to Southern California high-rises.
Watching this version really reminds me of the Director's Cut.  I feel like I'm watching it but in an enhanced picture and sound.  Personally I don't entirely care for enhanced picture and video, I don't notice unless there are examples of both directly next to each other.  The differences between this version and the Director's Cut are few.  The big noticeable differences are that the extra scenes from the 1982 International Cut were added.
Along with the Director's Cut, I don't see a real reason to have had this version made.  I was really excited to hear "The Final Cut" of the Blade Runner being released.  However I feel that Ridley Scott still won't be entirely happy with this version of the film and will want to once again fix the movie again and again.  This version of the movie, I see entirely useless, and that the only thing it has going for it was that it was digitally enhanced.  Instead, I wish they would have digitally enhanced the original 1982 Theatrical Cut, but that would take away the fact that it was "original."
My ideal version of the "Final Cut" would be the 1982 International Cut with the new Director's Cut ending that was digitally enhanced.  Unfortunately, this version will never be made and I may have to do it myself by ripping the DVDs and splicing together all of the piece and parts I want.  However I'm too lazy for that, I would really love to, but that would take too long and would be too much for work a simple film that no one else would really appreciate.


  1. Hmmm gonna put this on my list of movies to watch

  2. Oh, man I remeber my dad telling me how obsessed he was with this movie when it first came out. lol