Blade Runner’s Final Cut

One of the greatest sci-fi films is getting some truly deluxe treatment.
Blade Runner - Ridley Scott

When Lucasfilm announced that they’d be releasing the original Star Wars movies (you know, the ones where Han shoots first), geeks everywhere were understandably excited. Until, that is, they learned that these ​“Original Trilogy” releases would not be receiving the same grandiose treatments that the other Star Wars releases had received. Rather, the releases would simply be transfers from the original laserdisc releases, which came out in the early 1990s and aren’t full of anamorphic goodness.

This might not seem like a big deal to most, but basically, it means that folks with brand spankin’ new widescreen TVs will be getting a second-rate product. Which seems like quite the cop-out, especially to fans who have been practically begging for Lucasfilm to release the original, untouched movies. As such, many fans are, to put it mildly, a little ticked and feeling betrayed all over again.

Now, contrast that to the super-duper deluxe treatment that Blade Runner, arguably one of, if not, the greatest sci-fi film of all time, will be receiving.

Blade Runner was one of the first movies to receive the DVD treatment, but the treatment it got was certainly nothing to write home about. I’ve got a copy of the original DVD release, and it’s about as barebones as they come.

But now, two new Blade Runner releases are on the horizon. The first, which comes out in September, is a two-disc re-release of the ​“Director’s Cut” that came out in 1992 that was scheduled to come out last year, but got caught up in some legal issues. However, in 2007, Blade Runner: The Final Cut will be released, and personally, this is the one I’m excited about.

The ​“Final Cut” set may contain up to four versions of the film: the original U.S. theatrical cut, the expanded international theatrical cut, the 1992 ​“Director’s Cut,” and Ridley Scott’s ​“Final Cut,” which will feature restored scenes, etc. Of course, there will probably be a bevy of extras and special features, which is something that a film of this stature absolutely demands.

And along with a super-nifty DVD release, the ​“Final Cut” will also do a limited theatrical run as part of the film’s 25th anniversary.

Blade Runner is one of those rare sci-fi films whose vision of the future will still be hailed as ​“visionary” a hundred years from now. And that’s because the movie’s focus isn’t on wowing the audience with eye candy and special effects (though its circa 1982 special effects often look far more convincing than most of the CGI we see today).

I’ve watched the film many times, and its meditations on existence, the meaning of life and spirit, sacrifice, and the responsibilities of being creators still inspire and challenge me. And of course, its art direction, cinematography, and set design are still unparalleled to this day, and countless movies — including The Matrix — owe it a major inspirational debt.