you're reading...
365, Movies

Day 123: Bladerunner: Theatrical Cuts

The two versions seen in US and UK/Worldwide of the iconic Sci-Fi classic.
Replicants” searching for answers find their way to Earth.
Now one man has the job of ensuing they are “retired“.
Deckard (Harrison Ford) is called back to his old job as a Blade Runner by his ex-boss Bryant (M. Emmett Walsh). His job is sounds simple, find and destroy four rogue androids, but these are highly dangerous – combat trained – machines. They are also as human as their manufactures could make them.
The authorities are embarrassed by the Replicants, as they are called, return to Earth as they are only authorised for use Off World.
Deckard hasn’t encountered this series of robots, Nexus 6, so he is sent to Tyrell (Joe Turkell) who built them to find out more. There he meets and analyses Rachel (Sean Young), another Nexus 6 but a more advanced version with no concept that she is a robot and with a past. Implanted memories – dreams and so forth – convince Rachel she cannot be a replicant.
But Deckard decides to use old fashioned detective work to find the four missing replicants. Leon (Brion James), Zhora (Joanna Cassidy), Pris (Daryl Hannah) and their leader, Roy (Rutger Hauer).
A deadly chase ensues where Deckard may learn more about himself than he dared even dream.

Okay, one of my absolute top favourite movies of all time, the first movie I bought on DVD and one I have in some many, many versions and formats.
Obviously the description above generally services for all versions. As will, indeed, the following few paragraphs.
Blade Runner set the tone in the early 80’s for dark Sci Fi. An ambitious adaptation of a Phillip K Dick story “Do androids dream of electric sheep“, the movie boasts excellent special effects, a gripping story arc and wonderful cast.
The story is only loosely adapted from the source material, which I also I recommend to anyone interested in near future Sci-Fi, after all this is set in 2019 – not long now!
Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford are at their peak in this movie, both extracting everything from their characters, wringing the sponge dry as it were. Probably the highlight of Hauer’s career.
All the cast are well chosen, a personal favourite of mine is J F Sebestian, played by William Sanderson. Of course I love those wonderful toys he builds as his ‘friends’. The idea of a genius that is so naive adds to the charm of the movie. Indeed, I think JF is the only character that comes across as requiring the sympathy of the viewer.
Not that the plight of the Replicants is without its irony, sadness or sorrow.
The setting, gloomy, futuristic and oppressive, is so massively enhanced by some of Vangelis’s best work that the story has to be that much better to prevent the whole thing feeling like a complex, over-long electro-punk music video. Lucky that is the case, aided by the marvellous acting.
A lot of the credit for this movie has to go to the astonishing vision of the director, Ridley Scott. The fact that the movie got finished (only due to a 27 hour stint on their last ‘day‘ of filming) after tearing through its budget and then some is down to his force of will. That story can be explored in some detail in the documentary “Dangerous Days“, which I reviewed earlier in the year.
What you take from the movie is a personal ‘journey’, for several it proves the end of the line and there is a touch of noire to the whole thing. Is there such a thing as a happy ending.
Depends which version you’re watching.

US Version

This version of the movie is available in the 5 disk Complete Collector’s Edition.
Only really important differences, as with the International Version, is the annoying voice-over and the happy ending. Interesting from a UK resident perspective to see how the two vary though.
What it comes down to is that the US version is ever so slightly edited for violence.

International Version

This version of the movie is available in the 5 disk Complete Collector’s Edition.
As with the US Version the only really important differences are the annoying voice-over and the happy ending.
The International version has a little more blood and violence in key scenes, mainly in the Bradbury Building. Most viewers would feel the differences but wouldn’t notice them directly.

The Voice-Over

Curiously, this was inserted into the movie at the insistance of the producers. The Previews, using the Workprint version reviewed earlier, gave feedback that the audience was struggling to understand the movie.
Harrison Ford was there requested to perform the voice-over. The various extras available in this collection inform us that voice-over featured in many of the scripts but was not part of the script used by Ridley Scott during production. This narration does not include the short sequence used at the end of the Workprint version.

The Happy Ending

Workprint audiences also felt the ending was too enigmatic – possibly too bleak. So the producers also insisted on a new, happy ending. So cuttings from “The Shinning” and a quick “car” scene were filmed and follow the original ending, the lift doors closing. The effect destroys all the feel and life of the movie, sucking the life out of the thing extremely effectively.

Things to look out for: Opening sequence, dystopian vision, “No choice, huh?“, annoying voice-over, Voight-Kampff test, “Tortoise? What’s that?“, refrigerated working conditions, photo editor, wonderful score by Vangelis, flying cars, Tyrell Building, Rachel (Sean Young), excellent performances from Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford, death of a god, “…you have burnt so very, very brightly, Roy.“, Advertising in the sky, Voight-Kampff revisited, “How can it not know what it is?“, Memories, Photos, Zhora’s unusually high profile job, “Have you felt yourself exploited in any way?“, acrobatics and hot eggs, JF’s toys, “Home again, home again…“, hunted and hunter through empty apartment block, “…you’ve gotta shoot straight.“, roof-top revelations, “like tears in rain“, pathetic happy ending
Released: 1982
Certificate: 15
Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, William Sanderson, Joe Turkell, Joanna Cassidy, Brion James, Daryl Hannah, M. Emmett Walsh, Edward James Olmos
Rating: finally an opportunity to see the voiced-over version, surprisingly not quite as annoying as i remember but still unnecessary, highly recommended
Part of the “Five-Disc Complete Collector’s Edition

About harlekwinblog

"Thoughts of an idle mind." Information Security professional.


One thought on “Day 123: Bladerunner: Theatrical Cuts

  1. Reblogged this on Netflowers and commented:
    One of my favorite movies (all-time)

    Posted by Netflowers | 2012/05/19, 1:01 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: