Request a Review with a Contribution!

12/21/14

BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT - REVIEW


After tampering with his sci-fi noir masterpiece in a defining way, back when he put together his Director's Cut, Ridley Scott then felt confident enough, many years later, to deliver his Final Cut which aimed to fix a few things as well as make the visuals look even more slick.

If making a definitive version of the film that would truly stand the test of time was the plan then this is only half a victory. Some inconsistencies are "fixed" from that shot at the end where the dove flies off into a bright blue sky when it's meant to be the middle of the night to the noticeable strings on those departing spinners. A key line from Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) is changed completely: "I want more life, f***er!" has become "I want more life, father!", an alteration I don't personally agree with as it's likely that Batty would attempt to intimidate his so-called father by using a very human word at that point, a swear word to show him how much he's evolved emotionally in such a short amount of time. That line did always stand out but that was a good thing: changing it in that way, I would argue, negates its impact and makes it bland. One of Bryant's (M. Emmet Walsh) lines is also changed but this tweak is much more seamless and serves the accuracy of what he's saying.

A scene is reshot pretty much entirely, the one where Zhora (Joanna Cassidy) crashes into some store windows, and what used to look like a stunt-person suddenly looks like a CGI'ed version of the now much older actress playing out the same scene. An imperfect sequence that always worked fine regardless has now become an imperfect sequence that still works fine regardless so this was predominantly a waste of time. The film is now bloodier and more brutal which makes some of the harsher moments that little bit more impactful and unsettling: Tyrell's (Joe Turkel) death scene was already rather gruesome but now the shot lingers on his demise just long enough to make you feel really uncomfortable. Otherwise, you see a little more of the city streets, some moments are extended for the better and the film's visuals have never looked prettier. Blade Runner, thankfully, remains a gorgeous, unparalleled cinematic vision of the future and, on the big screen, it's a knockout.

The ending is no different than in the Director's Cut so don't expect an electric sheep to pop up just yet. The changes made here work mostly to polish a gem we all know pretty well, allowing us to love it even more and introduce it to a modern audience. To be fair, some of the alterations help the movie breathe a little bit and give us more in the way of beautiful visuals, plus some minor errors are skilfully ironed out. Those, however, were always nitpicks and never truly hurt the film. In some cases, they even gave certain scenes an abstract quality. To be honest, this Final Cut is a mostly unnecessary exercise but it's one that allowed me to revisit what is quite possibly my personal favourite movie minus those pesky strings and marvel at Philip K. Dick's (and Scott's) dystopian vision of 2019 Los Angeles on the big screen so, for that, I'll always be thankful. If you've never seen Blade Runner, however, I would start with the original then slowly build up to this one.

Blade Runner is still a ground-breaking, highly influential sci-fi masterpiece, of course, and even though The Director's Cut remains arguably the best version of it, I'd check out this Final Cut preferably in the cinema as it's truly a visual treat.

A must for fans.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts