Blade Runner: Directors Cut (1992)
|Year Of Production||1992|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Ridley Scott|
Warner Home Video
Edward James Olmos
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Placement - Yes. Annoying - No.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is below par, but watchable.
The audio is average.
I have said my piece about the total lack of extras.
|DVD||Panasonic A-350A, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ|
|Speakers||Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive|