Blade Runner: Directors Cut (1992)

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Released 25-Nov-1999

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 111:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ridley Scott
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Harrison Ford
Rutger Hauer
Sean Young
Edward James Olmos
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Vangelis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Placement - Yes. Annoying - No.
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   Blade Runner is director Ridley Scott's visionary and classic masterpiece of cinema making, based loosely on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

   Rick Deckard is a cop, a member of the Blade Runner squad, whose task it is to hunt and exterminate (murder?) wayward replicants. These are genetically engineered, living androids created to perform menial and dangerous duties off-world in the colonization of space. However, they have been created so perfectly that after a few years they develop their own emotions, feelings and morals. This is when they become dangerous, and this is when ex-Blade Runner Harrison Ford is pulled back from retirement and into active duty.

    Such is the premise of this movie. What this doesn't convey is the sheer scope and detail of the world created by Ridley Scott. This is a truly remarkable creation of Los Angeles in 2019. There is an incredible amount of detail. The cinematography is unique. Imagine The Fifth Element, but a whole lot darker and less populous. Grimy, dirty and dank. The only people left on earth are misfits, people not healthy enough or unwilling to travel off-world and into the new life.

    When first released during theatrical previews, it was felt by the studio that the audience did not "get" the plot. So, Harrison Ford was forced to add a narration, giving the movie a film-noirishness. It has been rumoured that Harrison Ford himself did not like this, and so delivered his lines with as little enthusiasm as possible. Having watched the original many times, I can see some truth to that. In 1991, Ridley Scott produced his preferred Director's Cut version for video release. Gone is the narration, and Vangelis's mesmerizing score is allowed to breathe. Added is Deckard's famous Unicorn dream. This scene is of paramount importance: without it, Deckard is human. With it, Deckard is a replicant himself. The story is benefited enormously with the inclusion of this sequence, and is much preferred.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     When this DVD first appeared in the U.S. people raved about the sharpness and clarity of the image. Countless comparisons were done between it, the VHS and the laserdisc. A long time has passed since then - more than two years! So - how does the image hold up next to recent discs? Unfortunately, not at all well. It is identical to the U.S. release of 1997, which I believe to be the same as the Japanese release of 1996. In effect, we have a three year old disc being released as new in the last months of 1999. That is a shame.

    This is a below average transfer, plagued by every problem in the book. Having said that, it is vastly superior to any VHS version I have seen, and has been universally acknowledged as being better than the laserdisc - so, it is the best version we have at this time. The shortcomings of this presentation are unforgivable given the status of this movie.

    The transfer is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. Here is a movie which screams for widescreen, and now has it (at least, in Australia). My Pan & Scan VHS (which has worn thin from overuse) only lets you peer into a small window. In 2.35:1, it is like watching a different movie, and it is breathtaking.

    Sharpness was distinctly average. This appears to be upconverted from the NTSC transfer, though that is just my opinion from my familiarity with the R1 disc. Whilst not as bad as the worst discs I have seen, for a 16x9 anamorphic transfer it is not nearly as good as it could be. However, there is plenty of detail left in the picture, allowing the superb sets and city-scapes to be viewed in all their glory. Shadow detail was very good. Most of the movie takes place in very dim conditions (it is always night time, and usually raining), and detail can always be made out in even the darkest scenes. Low level noise was prevalent throughout the film, and came close to being distracting at times.

    The colours are very warm, and have an ever-so-slight orangey tint. Flesh tones are rendered very well, as are the propensity of neon signs which flicker and light the streets in blues, reds and greens.

    This is clearly an early compression job from Warner. At times, the image appears on the verge of pixelization, especially in some dark scenes. Much of the low-level noise throughout the film is actually MPEG compression artefact. Pausing during these difficult times reveals macro-blocking in slight colour gradations, a particularly difficult thing for MPEG to handle given the low bit-rate of this disc. Had this been an RSDL-formatted disc, I am confident that most of the noise in the image would have disappeared. Film-to-video artefacts consist of constant telecine wobble, from the opening credits to the closing. Though not particularly distracting during the movie, it does look rather ludicrous during the credits to see the titling wobble all over the place. Aliasing is at times abhorrent, but thankfully there are only a handful of times where this occurs due to the general darkness of the movie. There are numerous nicks and scratches on the print throughout, but nothing overly intrusive.

Audio

    This audio transfer is, in keeping with the video, rather ordinary.

    There are three audio tracks on this disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track. I listened to the default English track.

    Dialogue was easy to understand. There were times where the dialogue would distort, and other times where ADR looping was apparent. However, the vocals were integrated well into the mix.

    Audio sync was usually fine, apart from some appalling ADR re-recording. There is a scene in particular in Chapter 15 (46:35) where the voices do not come anywhere near the mouth movements. Indeed, Harrison Ford actually can be seen talking for a full three seconds with no voice heard!

    The musical score is by the master of electronic instruments Vangelis. He was at the height of his popularity during this movie, and anyone who has watched the magnificent Cosmos TV series or heard his Chariots Of Fire score will undoubtedly be moved by his ethereal, inspired music. This is a remarkable, beautiful  score, and the synthetic atmospheres perfectly match the mood of the visuals and complete the other-world feeling which surrounds this movie. I have listened to this soundtrack in isolation many, many times and never tire of it. Thankfully, this version does not have Deckard's narration, and so much more of the score can be heard. I would have loved a music-only soundtrack on this disc, and any future special edition would be remiss to omit one.

    The surround channel is used wonderfully to heighten the atmospheric presence of the scoring. Flying cars whiz from front to rear, and general reverb is handled well. This does not compete with any 5.1 mix, but for a movie of this vintage, it is very good. Again, a movie of this status demands a new 5.1 remix. The day that happens is the day I die and go to heaven.

    The subwoofer got minimal use, but was helpful in filling out Vangelis' score.

Extras

    This is a landmark movie, a masterpiece of cinema demanding a whole raft of extra features. What have we got? Nothing. Zip.

Menu

    The static menu has no theme, merely the WB logo. Come on? Not even the scene selections are complete.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both versions are identical. I believe the video is also upconverted NTSC, as there is no gain in detail whatsoever. The only benefit of our version is the lack of 3/2 pulldown which plagues NTSC film-to-video transfers and renders them jerky, and a lack of scan-lines. Ours is therefore superior, but not by much.

Summary

    A classic movie which has been given outrageously poor treatment. This is a crime.

    The video quality is below par, but watchable.

    The audio is average.

    I have said my piece about the total lack of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Cordingley (bio)
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A-350A, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player.
AmplificationSony STR DE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
SpeakersCentre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Rod W (Suss out my biography if you dare)

Comments (Add)
New disc??? - wolfgirv
Re: New Disc - Dr Hackenbush
Re: New Disc -
We will wait and wait -
Is that *still* going on ?!! - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
SE delay details - Mopy (read my bio)
Ultimate cut/3 disc set finally! - wolfgirv
More on the Blade Runner Final Cut Release - njd
New release - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Ominous? [re: new release] - Neil
The Great Train robbers were amateurs! - penguin (there is no bio)
Re: The Great Train robbers were amateurs! (penguin) - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!)
Re: Great Train Robbers & the Skywalker Ranch - Neil
re: Great train robbers were amateurs - wolfgirv
Blade Runner: Director's Cut It's back baby! - Steveo
Sounds like... -
Blade Runner -
RE: Blade Runner - Steveo
Re: Re: Blade Runner -
Re. Re. Re. Blade Runner -
why not wait for 'Blade Runner - Final Cut' - rob_da_bank (I'm not ready for a bio Lois)
remastered Blade Runner. - wolfgirv
RE: remastered Blade Runner -
Blade Runner availability - Steveo
remastered release -
re: remastered release - wolfgirv
re: remastered release - Billycan
November remastered version deserves a new cover! -
Re: Deserves a new cover - Neil
Ultimate Edition on the way...... -
re: ultimate edition - wolfgirv
re: ultimate edition -
Five disc set price! - wolfgirv
Re: Five disc set price! -
PAL 5 disc set for under $50 with free shipping -
Review of the 5 disk set??? - REPLY POSTED
5 disc Blade Runner - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
Final Cut BluRay - Le Messor