BLADE RUNNER (1982, USA, Ridley Scott, Hampton Fancher / David Peoples / Roland Kibbee screenplay from Philip K. Dick novel)
Then the LORD God said, `See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand, take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever – Genesis 3:22
Great looking future-tense urban decay anticipates the high-tech/low-life frisson of William Gibson cyber-punk, with (especially in the director-maligned voice-over version) the delicious savour of hard-boiled Raymond Chandler mean streets / good man tension. Fans – and this is a movie that restores the “-atic” to the end of that washed-out word – make much of philosophical / theological themes and imagery. Bounty hunter Deckard tracks illegal replicants (ultra-human androids) who’ve become human enough to dream, feel, and even murder. Cloud-dwelling corporate robot manufacturer Tyrell is a false creator/god with a bloodless attitude toward his creations, invoking questions about bio-ethics, techno-hubris, and the nature of humanity. There’s lots of biblical imagery – serpents and satan figures, stigmata and (multiple) saviours, even s dove ascending. I’ll confess the high-minded stuff sometimes feels under-developed and over-stated to me, but the compassion evoked for borderline-humans and their pressing mortality, as well as resonances with real-world treatment of anyone we deem not-quite-as-human-as-we-are, pack a surprising emotional (even spiritual) punch. But what maybe matters most? It looks super cool.
THE MATRIX, STALKER
Sharon L. Gravett of Gonzaga U teases out the God Stuff in The sacred and the profane: Examining the religious subtext of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner
Videomatica has both VHS and laserdisc versions of BLADE RUNNER, as well as both VHS and DVD copies of BLADE RUNNER: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT. On December 18 they will also have VHS and DVD copies of the 2-disc BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT, which includes a whole new version. See what I said about fans? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Also at that time, Warner will be releasing 4-disk (4 versions) and 5-disk (5 versions) sets in DVD, HD and BluRay editions.
I'm getting all three of the new sets, in all four formats: forty new versions of the movie! Now I just need to track down all the previously issued dvd, vhs and laserdisk editions so I can compare them all. And I'll need to fly to NYC or LA to see the limited theatrical releases of when they come out... (ED: Okay, so I mis-read...)
From the press release...
For Immediate Release
At last! The Definitive Version of Sir Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi Classic
starring Harrison Ford
The Film That Started It All
BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT
San Diego, July 26, 2007 – In celebration of its 25th anniversary, director Ridley Scott (Alien, Hannibal and a three-time Oscar® nominee, Best Director, for Gladiator, Thelma & Louise and Black Hawk Down) has gone back into post production to create the long-awaited definitive new version, which Warner Home Video will unveil on DVD December 18th in the U.S. Blade Runner: The Final Cut, spectacularly restored and remastered from original elements and scanned at 4K resolution, will contain never-before-seen added/extended scenes, added lines, new and improved special effects, director and filmmaker commentary, an all-new 5.1 Dolby® Digital audio track and more.
A showcase theatrical run is also being planned for New York and Los Angeles October 5.
Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young and Daryl Hannah are among some 80 stars, filmmakers and others who participate in the extensive bonus features. Among the bonus material highlights is Dangerous Days - a brand new, three-and-a-half-hour documentary by award-winning DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika, with an extensive look into every aspect of the film: its literary genesis, its challenging production and its controversial legacy. The definitive documentary to accompany the definitive film version.
Said Sir Ridley Scott: "The Final Cut is the product of a process that began in early 2000 and continued off and on through seven years of intense research and meticulous restoration, technical challenges, amazing discoveries and new possibilities. I can now wholeheartedly say that Blade Runner: The Final Cut is my definitive director’s cut of the film."
DETAILS OF BLADE RUNNER EDITIONS
BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT SPECIAL EDITION (2-DISC)
RIDLEY SCOTT'S ALL-NEW "FINAL CUT" VERSION OF THE FILM
Restored and remastered with added & extended scenes, added lines, new and cleaner special effects and all new 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio.
BLADE RUNNER: COLLECTOR’S EDITION (4-DISC)
The Four-Disc Collector's Edition includes everything from the 2-Disc Special Edition plus three additional versions of the film, as well as an “Enhancement Archive” bonus disc.
1982 THEATRICAL VERSION
This is the version that introduced U.S. movie-going audiences to a revolutionary film with a new and excitingly provocative vision of the near-future. It contains Deckard/Harrison Ford’s character narration and has Deckard and Rachel’s (Sean Young) “happy ending” escape scene.
1982 INTERNATIONAL VERSION
Also used on U.S. home video, laserdisc and cable releases up to 1992. This version is not rated, and contains some extended action scenes in contrast to the Theatrical Version.
1992 DIRECTOR'S CUT
The Director's Cut omits Deckard's voiceover narration and removes the "happy ending" finale. It adds the famously-controversial "unicorn" sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant.
BLADE RUNNER: ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S EDITION (5-DISC)
The 5-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition includes everything from the previously described
4-Disc Edition, plus the ultra-rare, near-legendary WORKPRINT version of the film, newly remastered. The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will be presented in a unique 5-disc digi-package with handle which is a stylish version of Rick Deckard's own briefcase, in addition each briefcase will be individually numbered and in limited supply.
This rare version of the film is considered by some to be the most radically different of all the Blade Runner cuts. It includes an altered opening scene, no Deckard narration until the final scenes, no "unicorn" sequence, no Deckard/Rachel "happy ending,” altered lines between Batty (Rutger Hauer) and his creator Tyrell (Joe Turkell), alternate music and much more.