More raves for Blade Runner - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 12-25-2007, 06:24 PM
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Default More raves for Blade Runner

Just in case any one is crazy enough to have not picked this up yet I thought I'd add another review to the thousands out there.


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Blade Runner (HD DVD) Review - The Complete Collector's Edition.

Studio: Warner Brothers.
Orignial Release Date: 1982, 1992, 2007.
Format: HD DVD (HD-30 Dual-Layer Discs)
Packaging: Five-Disc Set
Video Encoding: 1080p/VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1


Very few films have the storied history of Ridley Scott's visually spectacular science fiction film noir, first released in 1982. Based loosely (and I mean very loosely) on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by the late Philip K. Dick, this was the first major Studio adaptation of the legendary authors work. The adapted screen play - by producer Hampton Fancher and writer David Peoples (Unforgiven, 12 Monkeys) - maintains the polluted, industrilaised socioty of "...Electric Sheep", where off world colonization is the last escape from a dying world.

Rick Decard is a former bounty hunter who specializing in the 'retirement' of any illegal androids that might make there way back to earth. He is called back into action when a team of these artificial, genetically breed slaves, known as 'replicants' return to seek there maker. This new breed, the Nexux 6 model happen to be stronger, smarter and faster than you average bounty hunter but suffer from a limited four year life span that not even the all powerful Tyrell corporation can reverse.

A relative commercial failure in it's day, Blade Runner went on to gain something of a cult following. This eventually lead to a limited theatrical re-release by the studio. The original edits of the film were the subject of much controversy with several changes tacked on by the studio that changed the tone and even the thematic interpretation of what was intended to be a much more layered, ambitious work. Amoug the many of the disputed edits that are on record, the 'Workprint' is probably the most infamous. This is the copy that was mistakenly sent to a small number of west coast cinemas for the initial re-release. The rest is history.

Several sell outs screenings followed. Two years later, an official 'Director's Cut' is finished with approval from Scott and released worldwide. This was 1992, a very badly transfered DVD following on shortly afterwards but for years since the romors of a new Final edition floated. Remastering and repacking the film for HD DVD and a new theatrical run while creating a new 4K digital intermediate, the restoration effort has been eagerly awaited.

'The Final Cut' does not differ as wildly from the previous incarnation as much as the workprint/directors cut did from the original release. Some new effects scenes have been added (with some dubious ones being replaced or digitally remastered). Small continuity errors are fixed, wire frames are edited out of shots, that kind of thing. The result works very well.

The brilliantly ambiguous ending of the directors cut has remained intact for this 'Final Cut'. The debate of Decard's true nature (one that puts the director at odds with even the writers!) is likely to continue for many more years. Scott still seems to be arguing his side despite the numerous layers within the film that suggest otherwise (think of the Tyrell corporation motto, for one).

The picture quality on the HD DVD transfer is remarkably clear and vivid for a film of it's age. In fact it's pretty much flawless. The lengths the production crew went to create the world of Blade Runner have never been captuered better. Every shot is layered with remarkable detail making several viewings necessary to appreciate everything on screen from miniature origami figures to giant billboards (Google for 'the curse of blade runner' for some fun historical background).

The soundtrack has also been newly remastered and sounds good. Seriously good. This is one of the best audio demo discs available today. The famous Vangelis score is mixed into all channels. There's great use of the LFE channel and some nice surround moments. The noodle stall has the crowd noise mixed heavy into the rear channel for example. Opening shots of ships flying in and out screen are very well mixed too.

The review here is for the Complete Collectors Edition. The five discs include the original 1982 domestic cut, the 1982 International version (we Europeans like our violence uncut!), the workprint, the 1992 Director's Cut, and the final cut. Only the final cut has received the full restoration effort but all five versions are released in High Definition.

Add to this nine hours of extra material that includes various audio commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes and theatrical trailers not to mention the newly produced three and half hour 'Dangerous Days' documentary (the scripts original working title, by the way). Quite simply, this is easily the best HD DVD package released this year.

Warner deserve a lot of credit for doing this film justice. The only disappointments were the lack of a HD DVD exclusive picture-in-picture commentary and the fact that due to time constraints, the Dangerous Days documentary is mastered in SD. Still, an excellent package. Given there is an entire generation who have not yet witnessed this film, the Blade Runner set could not be more highly recommended.

-
Citizen Erased
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:57 PM
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well i may be the only one to say this but Blade Runner was a disapointment, having never watched Blade Runner before and reading the 5 stars across the board review on here I bought it in the BB 3 for 2 HD DVD sale and having just watched it the movie was too slow and tried to be too artsy. The audio and visual was spectacular but the movie wasnt anything but, this is my 1st HD purchase that I will sell
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Old 12-26-2007, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dark Lord Greg View Post
well i may be the only one to say this but Blade Runner was a disapointment, having never watched Blade Runner before and reading the 5 stars across the board review on here I bought it in the BB 3 for 2 HD DVD sale and having just watched it the movie was too slow and tried to be too artsy. The audio and visual was spectacular but the movie wasnt anything but, this is my 1st HD purchase that I will sell
I actually was somewhat disappointed the first time I watched Blade Runner. But upon subsequent viewings, I started to see more layers until I really began to appreciate the complexity and irony of the story...this sort of arrogant behavior toward androids by humans, as if they had more of a right to live. It was touted as an action film at the time, which really short-changed the depth of the film. So it was deemed "too slow and artsy" by most critics back then.

Philip K. Dick's story was very much a product of 60's science fiction and the pre-occupation with robots. Today, it's my favorite film of all. Give it another chance, and if you don't like it the second time, then I guess it's just not your taste. I don't think Blade Runner tried to be too pretentious at all. It introduced scenarios, pitting humans against machines on a moral level.
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Old 12-26-2007, 04:12 AM
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I may rent this movie again and give it a second viewing, I wasn't too impressed by the story either. However I was impressed by the picture quality and sound due to how old the film is. I was pretty amazed by that alone...
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Old 12-26-2007, 04:46 PM
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Having watched Blade Runner on different formats, and varying levels of quality over the years (all pretty poor), watching the new HD DVD was easily the best HD DVD experience I've had over the year that I've owned an HD player. I noticed details I had never seen before, and the final cut is perfect, and it was actually overseen by Ridley Scott this time. For those that don't like Blade Runner, that's fine, movies are a subjective experience. But if you want to see a 1982 film that's received pretty shabby home video treatment over the years, and now looks spectacular, you might want to give it a rental, even if sci-fi isn't your bag.
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Old 12-26-2007, 05:49 PM
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Default "He say you Brade Runa"

For me an awesome film, but it's interpretation is dependent
on what you bring to the party.

This restoration is a great achievement by Warner and Ridley Scott.

dxr
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2007, 08:04 PM
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Yah I'm gonna have to say this film sucked. I was highly disappointed, and whats up with Harrison Ford having like no lines for 20+ mins of the film?
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by gunz4sale View Post
Yah I'm gonna have to say this film sucked. I was highly disappointed, and whats up with Harrison Ford having like no lines for 20+ mins of the film?
I didn't mind at all. It gave him a chance to act instead of gruffly grumbling "Get off my plane" or any number of inane phrases he's normally handed.
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Lord Greg View Post
well i may be the only one to say this but Blade Runner was a disapointment, having never watched Blade Runner before and reading the 5 stars across the board review on here I bought it in the BB 3 for 2 HD DVD sale and having just watched it the movie was too slow and tried to be too artsy. The audio and visual was spectacular but the movie wasnt anything but, this is my 1st HD purchase that I will sell
The movie came out about 25 years ago, I remember it well and it was not a box office success, completely the opposite. Because it is stylish and has an interesting dark look and is reminiscent of the old film noir masterworks of the 40's, it has grown in stature. As far as an interesting story that is suspenseful and well told, I think it falls flat. I have recorded the version of the movie to D-VHS that was being played on one of the channels, probably HDNet Movies but never watched it. Based on the glowing reviews here, I gave in and just ordered the Blu-ray version today and I will watch it again for the first time in some time. My previous recollection was that I liked the version with the Harrison Ford narration best, probably the theatrical cut. It has had so many reincarnations trying to return a portion of the investment that I don't know what version I will like best now. It has such a loyal cult following, I am going to really try to see it in the best light possible and hope to like it now. If not, your auction of Blade Runner on eBay will not be the only one.

Chris
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Old 12-27-2007, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by KGB View Post
I actually was somewhat disappointed the first time I watched Blade Runner. But upon subsequent viewings, I started to see more layers until I really began to appreciate the complexity and irony of the story...this sort of arrogant behavior toward androids by humans, as if they had more of a right to live. It was touted as an action film at the time, which really short-changed the depth of the film. So it was deemed "too slow and artsy" by most critics back then.

Philip K. Dick's story was very much a product of 60's science fiction and the pre-occupation with robots. Today, it's my favorite film of all. Give it another chance, and if you don't like it the second time, then I guess it's just not your taste. I don't think Blade Runner tried to be too pretentious at all. It introduced scenarios, pitting humans against machines on a moral level.
I bolded the comment I feel hits the nail on the head the most. Many of the great 50's and 60's Sci-Fi concepts have unfortunately become a little underwhelming when taken into the context of our time now. The robot theme has been visited over and over again with all of the same questions being asked: Do they have a right to live? Do they matter less than humans? etc, etc, etc.

In other words...there is nothing really new or ground breaking here and for many younger viewers it might even seem a little pointless.

I say rent it and make your own decision. Those that give it 5 stars across the board are probably being a little too generous and are just excited to have it on HDM. The regular DVDs were always lousy so the PQ and AQ are prolly a huge improvement but overall I think they are going overboard with the praise.
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