Articles

Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part I

ARTICLE INDEX


"Blade Runner" (Blu-ray)

Blade RunnerSynopsis

In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford brings his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, Deckard hunts for fugitive, murderous replicants - and is drawn to a mystery woman whose secrets may undermine his soul.

Specifications

    • Warner Brothers
      1982, Color
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
    • 1080p
    • English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
    • English/French DD 5.1
    • Directed by Ridley Scott
    • Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This is a film lovers dream come true. Warner has been talking about a special edition of this film for as long as I can remember and the last time we saw this on a shiny disc is when DVD debuted with a mediocre Director's Cut edition that pales in comparison to this.

The fact that Warner has included five different versions of the film and more production features than you can imagine gives this release my highest recommendation. If only every film got this type of release! The original movie was released in 1982 and has gone through major fixes for this update, including repaired special effects.

Technical

I was lucky enough to see this at the Cinerama theater in Seattle a few weeks before the HD release. It was my first chance to see the new Final Cut and have a reference for comparison to this new HD transfer. I must say this presentation was far more impressive than what I saw at the Cinerama and one of the best HD presentations I've seen from a catalog release. You can tell that Warner went through some pain staking effort to get the film looking this good. Contrast is exceptional and probably the biggest improvement that I saw from the film print, which was a bit washed out in comparison. Detail is in line with the better HD transfers we have out there today, but the presentation still has a genuine film look to it. The special effects still hold up wonderfully (Warner actually updated some of the effects), and the color balance of the new final cut is exceptional. While Warner does include four other cuts in this release, all in HD, the Final Cut is by far the best looking one, and the best of the cuts in my humble opinion. Bravo to Warner on a sensational job.

I honestly was not prepared for how good this disc sounds. The Final Cut gets a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD mix that is leaps and bounds over any presentation I've heard of this film before. The soundtrack has been retooled a bit and it shows. There is great use of the surround environment and some very cool pans and discrete surround usage. I thought it sounded great at the Cinerama, but it sounded even better in my home theater. Dialogue is clean, with great timbre and none of the annoying grating that I hear so much from older films. Bass response is tremendous with superb tactile effects and tight mid-bass. Overall a track that is demo worthy!

Extras

This five disc set is absolutely loaded with extras. As I mentioned before, there are no less than five versions of the film: The Final Cut, The Director's Cut, The Workprint, The Theatrical Cut, and the International Cut. There are also two discs worth of special features including interviews, production features, a look at the new cut and the effort that went into it, feature commentaries, and trailers. I can't imagine a fan of this film not owning this collection.