This weekend I caught a screening of Blade Runner: The Final Cut, which opened in a whopping twenty theaters around the country to promote the release of (count ’em!) three different Blade Runner sets on DVD on December 18.
The Blade Runner Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition even comes in a bad-ass stainless steel(ish?) briefcase, because Warner Brothers wants you to know that purchasing any other edition makes you much less of a man.
What could possibly occupy five different DVD discs in a box set for a single movie? Well, if you’ll recall, there have been four versions of Blade Runner to hit movie screens since 1982. Plus, you get a “work print” of the film in the set, which I’m pretty sure means that you’re going to get a huge roll of film covered in dust, Scotch tape, and fingerprints.
I’d like to thank Netflix for saving me the effort of crafting plot synopsis:
In the smog-choked dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, blade runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called out of retirement to snuff a quartet of “replicants” — androids consigned to slave labor on remote planets. They’ve escaped to Earth seeking their creator and a way to extend their short life spans. In the course of Deckard’s mission, he gets romantically entangled with Rachel (Sean Young) — a replicant who’s oblivious to her humanoid heredity.
Yep. That pretty much nails it. Chalk one up for Netflix.
So, here’s the skinny on The Final Cut.
- Deckard’s voice-over narration of the film is still mercifully absent.
- Director Ridley Scott “remastered” the film (i.e., blew the dust off of it), including re-shooting some scenes and improving some special effects. He did a damn good job making everything seamless, because–even though I knew which parts had been treated, like Deckard’s pursuit of replicant Zhora–I had a tough time spotting the modifications. Cheers.
- SPOILER ALERT The unicorn is back. Deckard dreams of unicorns, and the cop played by Edward James Olmos leaves an origami unicorn outside Deckard’s apartment, suggesting, “Hey, dude, I know what’s going on in your screwy little replicant head, Ok?” So… Deckard’s a replicant. That settles that.
- No happy ending for Deckard and Rachel. Well, not in the massage parlour sense of the term, anyway. They run away together to live out their very few remaining replicanty days. END SPOILER
- Rutger Hauer is Rutger Hauer, which is a good thing in exactly three films: this one, Ladyhawke, and The Hitcher.
- I still get sleepy in all the same parts. I think it’s all the dark, rainy scenes and Harrison Ford’s mumbling that get me.
- It’s pretty sweet seeing Ridley Scott’s sweeping, detailed, highly-textured vision of the future on the big screen. “Immersive” comes to mind.
That said, I had fun spotting all the ways in which Scott’s vision of the future turned out to be so very, very wrong. You know… fun in an arrogant I-live-in-the-future-right-now-so-I-already-know-what-happens sort of way.
Apparently, in Ridley Scott’s future, 1980s punk hairdos make a raging comeback. The very same punk hairdos that I saw in Weird Science on HBO Zone at 2am on Saturday night.
In other news from the year 2019: Pan Am Airlines returns from insolvency, according to a huge neon sign above Los Angeles. Mass production of ten-inch tube TV screens resumes, complete with boxy VCR-type machines with analog clocks. Countries with advanced mobile technology like South Korea and Japan will be surprised to find out that video cell phones fall out of favor in 2019 in lieu of video payphones on street corners and in the back of bars. (Don’t forget to carry lots of quarters!) Also, dialing a zip code in front of a phone number is no longer necessary in 2019, perhaps thanks to off-world colonization lowering Earth’s overall population.
Of course, the future does have flying cars, space colonization, and human-like androids, so… who am I to judge? Sorry, future.