Off World (Graphic/Photoshop Image by Ross Care)
BLADE RUNNER: The Final Cut
I recently saw the newly restored print of Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER at the state-of-the-art Landmark Cinemas in West Los Angeles. The classic science fiction film has appeared in a number of guises since its original release in 1982. As of 2001 one of Leonard Martin’s movie and video guides commented “at least two alternate versions have been released since the original, followed in 1993 by the ‘director’s cut,’ which the film’s champions hail as a vast improvement.”
This edition is subtitled The Final Cut and is on a limited release in theaters prior to an exhaustive DVD release, allegedly featuring every version of the film. While I am certainly among the film’s champions I had heard a new theatrical version was in the works and so had deliberately abstained from watching any small screen version for some time now. No matter what you may personally feel about the various editions – I personally always liked the original version with what I always felt was a rather haunting and noiresque voice-over – this new version is certainly an optimum experience.
Visually and aurally this film was made for the big screen and the visuals are magnificent, and not having seen any version of it for some time allowed me to experience the sense of wonder, fascination, and horror I felt on my first viewing. There is a sense of scale to the awesome Panavision shots of a futuristic and polluted LA that can simply never come across on video.
Dramatically and conceptually BLADE RUNNER still packs an emotional wallop as well, and the deaths of the replicants remain among the most chilling in genre cinema. Harrison Ford has a kind of goofy, vulnerable charm that is absolutely right for the character and the supporting players are equally distinctive and well realized visually and dramatically.
This limited engagement will run seven more days (according to today’s, Friday, October 19, 2007, LA Times). The Landmark, at W. Pico and Westwood in West LA, is one of the town’s newest luxury screening venues and everything there, projection, sound, ease of access and free parking, seemed practically perfect on the Tuesday afternoon I was there.