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Friday, May 26, 2006

Blade Runner on DVD...FINALLY!!

OK, I didn't really care for Blade Runner, but I know a lot of people do. I also know that it's one of the last remaining films that's truly deserving of a super-special-edition DVD.

And it's finally happening.

Let me give you a bit of the history...Blade Runner. Directed by Ridley Scott, same guy who did Alien and grew up to do Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and, most recently, Kingdom of Heaven. Way back in 1982, Scott was told to hurry up to finish it, in test screenings people didn't get it, and the studio went and horribly edited it to make it more commercial. It flopped.

But, it did gain a massive, massive cult following.

Flash forward to 1990. Someone discovers an old work print version of the film. (A "work print" is the very first edit, before it's gone to test screenings or anything.) A few movie theatres start showing it...calling it "The Director's Cut." Ridley Scott is pissed, because it's not a director's cut. So, they asked Scott back into the studio to make a true director's cut. The only problem was, Scott was busy making Thelma and Louise. Scott wound up preparing his director's cut during his coffee breaks on Thelma and Louise. Scott always complained that he wasn't able to dedicate as much time to it as he wanted, and he walked away from making the director's cut very dissatisfied with finished product.

Didn't matter, because Blade Runner: The Director's Cut hit theatres in 1992. It flopped. Again. But those fans in the cult following thought it was much better than the original.

Flash forward to Y2K. DVD has officially taken the world by storm. Blade Runner: The Director's Cut is released in a vanilla DVD. It's a huge seller. Scott is once again asked to come in and prepare his final cut, for a super-special-edition DVD.

But...a legal quagmire erupted over the rights to the film. The project was on hold, and it was feared never to see the light of day. New DVDs of the film were never made, with fans having to do with the crappy DVD of The Director's Cut.

Until now.

Today, it was announced that the legal quagmire is resolved! Ridley Scott is back in the editing house with no distractions, and he's finally preparing his final, authoritative, definitive, final cut of Blade Runner. Fully digitally restored...computers to finish off special effects that we're never finished...Scott is finally finishing it the way he wanted to!

Now, here's the grand scheme.

This September, the 1992 Blade Runner: The Director's Cut gets a brand-new, 2-disc special edition. Following the Disney animated formula, it'll only be available for 4 months, then yanked off store shelves.

Then, in 2007, just in time for Blade Runner's 25th anniversary, Blade Runner: The Final Cut will hit theatres. This will be that final, authoritative, definitve, final cut that Ridley Scott is now piecing together.

Then, in the fall of 2007, we'll get the DVD boxed set The Ultimate Blade Runner Collection. On this set, you'll get all 4 edits of the film:

- The original, 1982 theatrical version
- The original, 1982 European version (it has more explicit violence)
- The 1992 Director's Cut
- The 2007 Final Cut

Plus a whole slew of bonus features TBA.

All four versions of the film will be digitally remastered, anamorphic widescreen, and brand-new 5.1 surround sound mixes.

Needless to say, this is one DVD that nerds all over the world are rejoicing over.

And, just becuase of the current climate, the nerds are turning to Lucasfilm and saying, "See, George? THIS is how you do it!"

And PS...it's not being released just on DVD, but also on the two next-gen formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

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