HD DVD
Must Own
5 stars
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$78.40
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Overall Grade
5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
5 Stars
HD Video Quality
5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
5 Stars
Supplements
5 Stars
High-Def Extras
0 Stars
Bottom Line
Must Own

Blade Runner (Ultimate Collector's Ed.)

Street Date:
December 18th, 2007
Reviewed by:
Peter Bracke
Review Date: 1
December 18th, 2007
Movie Release Year:
1982
Studio:
Warner Home Entertainment
Length:
117 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

Editor's Notes

Portions of this review also appear in our reviews of the three other 'Blade Runner' high-def releases:

For an overview of the differences between the 'Ultimate Edition' and the 'Complete Edition,' click here to jump to the "Vital Disc Stats" section of this review.

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

If there ever was a film rescued by home video, it's 'Blade Runner.' A commercial flop upon its original theatrical release in 1982, in the intervening years the film has risen phoenix-like from the ashes, thanks almost entirely to a growing legion of cultists who largely discovered the film on tape and disc. This groundswell of admiration built to such an unprecedented degree that it prompted a 1992 re-evaluation in the restored 'Director's Cut,' which enjoyed a surprisingly strong theatrical run that broadened the film's stature and esteem among critics and sci-fi enthusiasts even more. Today 'Blade Runner' is far more revered and respected than when it was first released twenty-five years ago, and thanks to its fanatical following, it gives 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' a run for its money as the Greatest Cult Film of All-Time.

Since so much has been written about 'Blade Runner' over the years, its vaulted place in the cinematic pantheon no longer needs any justification, or explanation. Even if you've never seen the film, you likely know the story. You know it stars Harrison Ford as a bounty hunter assigned to track down four runaway "replicants" (i.e., androids virtually identical to humans). You know that director Ridley Scott's overwhelming visuals have been praised as some of the finest images ever burned onto celluloid. And you've probably heard that it's been re-issued and re-configured in so many different versions that Scott's originally-intended themes have been mucked with to the point of abstraction. Indeed, it's gotten to the point that even with a flowchart of the changes, it's almost impossible to tell which cut of 'Blade Runner' you're even watching anymore.

So what I'm about to say may piss off many of the Scott faithful -- even more so, as it's coming from an die hard 'Blade Runner' fan (I count it as my favorite film). Despite my love for Ridley's epic, I have to say that having finally seen the 'Final Cut' (and after so many months of endless hype), this whole business about it being some radically refashioned version is largely hogwash. Even in its zillion different forms that suffered a zillion different alterations (The added/subtracted narration! The lost unicorn scene! The new effects!), Scott's essential vision has remained largely intact throughout. All of the much-buzzed about changes to the various versions of the film are largely cosmetic (or in the case of the narration, merely the removal of annoyances). Despite myth-making to the contrary, has any version of 'Blade Runner' ever been a massively Frankenstein'd, truly shocking re-interpretation? Hardly.

That's not to say that 'The Final Cut' is not a landmark event. It most certainly is, if only because Scott's definitive vision at last closes the book on the film's epic twenty-five year saga. 'The Final Cut' finally corrects all of the messed-up details and other imperfections that have so bothered Scott (and many fans) over the years. It also allows him to tweak some of the editing and effects that he was unable to complete to his satisfaction at the time of the film's original 1982 theatrical release. (Forget that 1992 "Director's Cut," which Scott now admits was only marketing and not his approved version.) However, unlike many other extended or unexpurgated versions of films that routinely hit disc these days, 'The Final Cut' of Blade Runner' does not incorporate any substantial new footage (there are not, in fact, any new scenes inserted), so aside from the surface changes, there is really nothing "undiscovered" to be discovered here at all.

So, what's the big deal about 'The Final Cut'? First, a quick history lesson on 'Blade Runner's long, strange ride ...

Back in 1982, the film screened horribly with test audiences, so a few producer- and studio-mandated changes were made to Scott's original cut. Narration by Deckard (recorded by a pissed-off Harrison Ford) was added to "explain" the more complex plot points, while a new "upbeat" ending made it seem as if Deckard and Rachel rode off happily into the sunset (actually outtakes borrowed from Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'!). Most controversial of all was the removal of the "unicorn scene" that suggested that Deckard himself may be a replicant.

This first theatrical version of the film has become known as the 1982 "Domestic Cut," which ran 116 minutes (an "International Version" was also released in most territories outside the U.S., adding a few seconds of graphic gore cut to achieve an R-rating in the States). Although the narration was clumsy, it didn't alter the narrative at all (it was simply grafted on existing completed scenes), while the happy ending -- while stupid -- again didn't alter anything that came before it. Only the removal of the "unicorn scene" throws the film's themes in a new light (although clearly not dramatically enough to turn off those who came to appreciate the film on home video in the first decade following its theatrical release).

All of that would change with the 1992 "Director's Cut." Warner, recognizing the film's growing cult audience, contacted Scott to create a new "Director's Cut," and the film was retooled and re-released to theaters. However, Scott has now stated that despite the "Director's Cut" moniker, he was not intimately involved with that version of the film, and that it was rushed into theaters without all of his hoped-for changes. Still, it did go along way toward reinstating his original vision. Gone is the stupid narration, the dumb ending, and the "unicorn scene" was finally revealed. However, because the 1992 cut was lopped together quickly, the editing was a bit clunky and some visual effects inconsistencies from the original remained. Close, but no cigar.

Now, fifteen years after the faux-"Director's Cut," Warner has at last coughed up for Scott's definitive version, giving us the long-awaited 'The Final Cut,' which is essentially the "Director's Cut" with a series of tweaks. The narration and happy ending are still gone and the unicorn scene remains (though now it uses better footage recently unearthed from studio vaults). The graphic gore from the old 1982 International version (which was missing from the 1992 Director's Cut) has also been re-added. Even better, the sequences with the removed narration have been tightened up (they never played properly without the voice-over), and the effects have been cleaned up considerably (including print imperfections and on-set gaffes, such as visible wires on the spinner vehicles). Actress Joanna Cassidy was even called back into duty as Zhora, re-acting her character's demise to correct previously-shot footage with a stunt double that had always looked painfully phony. There are also a couple of new shots taken from archival material to give more atmosphere to the future world, but these are quick inserts -- again, there are no new scenes in 'The Final Cut' that any 'Blade Runner' fan hasn't already seen in one of the previous versions.

Now for the good news. Even after all my complaining, 'The Final Cut' is absolutely essential viewing. It is the authoritative vision of Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner,' even if its individual changes are minor in the grand scheme of things. ('The Final Cut' runs 117 minutes, only one more than the original 1982 domestic cut.) It looks and sounds fantastic, and the minor editing and cosmetic tweaks finally eradicate any lingering memory of the dreadful narration and happy ending. The unicorn scene is also better integrated, and the digital tweaks (including the Zhora scene) never stand out as unnecessary or obnoxious additions, a la the "Greedo shoots first" nonsense that George Lucas foisted on 'Star Wars' fans. Even though nothing in 'The Final Cut' is radically different in terms of context and theme versus the now-disowned "Director's Cut," it is nevertheless the version of the film to see. It's a film that was already a masterpiece, made even better.

Finally, if by some miraculous phenomenon you are actually reading this review but still haven't seen 'Blade Runner,' don't let all this talk of multiple versions scare you off. The upside is that, as a newbie, you can enjoy 'Blade Runner' in the form that was originally intended without any of the baggage that came with its earlier incarnations. Whether you're brand new to the film or you've seen it so many times that you actually know what a "Tannhauser Gate" is, 'The Final Cut' is for you. 'Blade Runner' remains a monumental achievement -- the rare film that only grows deeper and more resonant with every viewing. It's a film for the ages -- and now with 'The Final Cut,' its definitive version has finally arrived.

The HD DVD Set: Vital Disc Stats

'Blade Runner' is making its HD DVD debut in two configurations -- 'The Complete Collector's Edition' and 'The Ultimate Collector's Edition.' (The same two editions are hitting Blu-ray and standard DVD concurrently.)

The five discs in each set are identical: disc one contains 'The Final Cut' and several extras; the mammoth 3 hour-plus documentary "Dangerous Days" gets disc two all to itself; disc three features three additional cuts of the film accessible via seamless branching (the 1982 domestic and international versions, plus the 1992 Director's Cut); disc four houses the "Enhancement Archive," which is loaded with featurettes, deleted scenes and more; and finally, the fifth disc features the ultra-rare "Workprint Version" of 'Blade Runner' that had previously only been seen at rare theatrical screenings and on poor-quality bootlegs. Regardless of which high-def format you choose, tech specs are identical -- you'll get the same video encodes of the film (all 1080p/VC-1), plus Dolby TrueHD audio on 'The Final Cut,' and standard Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on the other versions of the film.

So what are the differences between 'Ultimate Collector's Edition' and the 'Complete Collector's Edition'? Not only does the 'Ultimate Edition' contain all five discs, but it also comes housed in very unique Deckard Briefcase packaging. Perfect for any replicant bounty hunter, the shiny metal case even has a handle to complete the tech-noir look. Inside, in addition to the discs themselves, you'll also find several bonus collectibles, including eight still reproductions on oversized card stock, a limited lenticular image from the film (apparently there are several -- I got Deckard on the street), miniature replicas of the "spinner" that Deckard pilots in the movie and Gaffe's origami of the unicorn (cute), and a signed letter by Ridley Scott complete with a small conceptual art drawing he made during production. The entire 'Ultimate Collector's Edition' package is a very neat offering for fans, and will certainly attract plenty of attention sitting on your home theater mantle.


A peek inside the briefcase.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Blade Runner' has suffered over the years in various tape and disc incarnations. Although I didn't hate the two previous standard-def DVD releases as much as some, Ridley Scott's masterpiece has certainly never received the definitive video release fans that fans have long been clamoring for. So when Warner announced last year that -- at last -- 'Blade Runner' would be given a full-bore restoration (complete with the original film elements scanned in at 4k archival resolution), it was clearly a call to rejoice.

Even better, Warner has not skimped on any version of the film presented on the different HD DVD and Blu-ray editions. The studio offers 1080p/VC-1 encodes of not only 'The Final Cut,' but also the original 1982 domestic and International versions of the film, the 1992 'Director's Cut,' and even the 'Workprint Version.' As 'The Final Cut' forms the centerpiece of the package, I'll focus on that presentation, and then offer some additional thoughts on the other versions.

Simply put, 'The Final Cut' looks stunning. Although again I didn't despise the earlier DVD editions, this restoration is nothing short of a revelation. I've seen the film at least 50 times over the years (seriously), and was absolutely floored by how many visual elements I'd simply never seen before. The detail, texture and depth of the image are spectacular. The original elements have clearly been rehabbed from the ground up, with a flawless print that has had all dirt and blemishes removed, (which is doubly impressive considering how many optical effects there are in the film). But lest purists fear that Warner has overdone it, I was thrilled to see that there is still some legitimate grain to the image, which retains a film-like and natural look entirely appropriate to the vintage of the film.

Colors are also fantastic. This new restoration corrects the overly reddish tint from the previous DVDs, and the subtle and striking blue-green casts are now far more apparent. Fleshtones are also far more consistent, despite all the stylized lighting. Blacks are perfect, and contrast expertly modulated. Jordan Cronenweth's trend-setting cinematography can now be fully appreciated -- particularly his stunning use of light and shadow. Delineation in even the darkest areas of the picture is dead-on, so fine subtleties previously lost in the murk are now readily visible.

Lastly, Warner has delivered a terrific encode. The image retains its sharpness without being overly edge enhanced. Noise is not a problem (even on the darkest areas of the picture, as well as the numerous effects shots). There is also no apparent banding, macroblocking or other nagging artifacts -- simply put, this is beautiful compression work. Warner has absolutely hit it out of the park with this one, and it's easily a five-star presentation up there with the best.

As for the other versions of the film, they almost match 'The Final Cut.' Warner provides three versions of the film on disc three -- the 1982 domestic and International cuts, and the 1992 Director's Cut. As these versions are accessible via seamless branching they share much of the same material, and appear to utilize a master identical to 'The Final Cut.' As such, the video quality boasts the same wonderful colors, jaw-dropping depth and excellent black levels. However, since 'The Final Cut' has been spiffed up in terms of its visual effects and other slight digital tweaks, there are segments of these three other versions that suffer slightly by comparison. Grain can be slightly exacerbated, and contrast sometimes wavers in consistency during effects shots. It's pretty minor, and of course, 'The Final Cut' is where Ridley Scott and Warner appropriately focused most of their attention. Even fans who come to this release most interested in the older versions of the movie are unlikely be disappointed.

Finally, the fifth disc contains the much-fabled "Workprint Version." Although still presented in 1080p/VC-1 video (again identical on both the HD DVD and Blu-ray), the quality here is noticeably inferior. Of course, this version of the film was taken from weak elements, so the often fuzzy picture, weak blacks and pale colors are to be expected. The aspect ratio is also 2.20:1, versus 2.40:1 for the other four cuts of the film, and grain is much more apparent. In any case, since the workprint is labeled as just that -- a workprint -- and is included here for its historical value, its poor quality doesn't detract at all from the set.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

'Blade Runner' received Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on its previous DVD incarnations, but they left a great deal to be desired. Even with allowances for the vintage of the original elements, it was clear that little real work went into cleaning up the source and truly remixing them for the home theater environment.

Warner certainly rights past wrongs for 'The Final Cut' here, delivering a truly splendid new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/16-bit, and identical on both the HD DVD and Blu-ray versions). 'Blade Runner' finally sounds spatially alive and vibrant, with surrounds that now live and breathe -- just as it should be. (Note that 'The Final Cut' is presented on all high-def versions with optional English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround tracks at 640kpbs, plus subtitle options in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.)

The old Dolby mixes of 'Blade Runner' were gimmicky, often bleeding select frequencies to the rear speakers in the most obvious ways possible (whenever a spinner would fly overhead -- whoosh!). This TrueHD remaster is far, far better integrated. The rear soundstage now enjoys much better imaging and seamless pans between channels. Vangelis' legendary score is at last fully immersive, with select instruments often directed to specific channels instead of the whole thing sounding like sonic mush emanating only from the fronts. The expansive street scenes also benefit greatly from fine attention to atmosphere, with rain, crowds and other effects nicely spread all around the listener.

Dynamics are also clearly superior to any previous video release. Low end finally has real heft, and the irritating brightness that plagued the old DVD has been greatly reduced. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the score, which has a much warmer tone while still retaining the cool allure of its '80s electronic elements. Dialogue is much more even-handed in the mix as well; previously, quieter dialogue was lost, but here even some of the more hard-to-decipher words spoken by Rutger Hauser finally make sense. Any source defects have also been eliminated, with the TrueHD track always perfectly clean and smooth across the entire sonic spectrum.

As for the three seamlessly-branched cuts on disc three, each sport Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps) tracks in English and French, plus a Dolby 2.0 Stereo (192kbps) option. (Subtitles include English, French and Spanish.) These Dolby tracks are quite good, but only if you don't compare them to the TrueHD. The source is still the same restored elements used for 'The Final Cut,' but the mixes are clearly different, with many sounds directed to the rears on 'The Final Cut' now far less pronounced. Dynamics are also good but not great, and Vangelis' score is not nearly as powerful. Still, make no mistake -- these mixes are certainly more than listenable.

Finally, the Workprint Version comes with shoddy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (192kbps) only. (Subtitle options again are English, French and Spanish.) Like the video, the audio here is quite rough, but again, it's from a patched-together library of footage, and probably sounds as good as it ever could. At least it's clean-sounding and listenable, so kudos to Warner for sprucing up the workprint to the extent they could.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

Okay, are you ready? Warner has heeded the calls of 'Blade Runner' fans, and has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into the 'Ultimate Collector's Edition.' Matching the packed five-disc 'Complete Collector's Edition' version, this is a virtual encyclopedia of bonus features, albeit one that teeters precariously on the brink of overkill at times. I should also note that all of the material here has not been upgraded to 1080 video, due to what Warner has termed "production restraints" (discs two and four of this set are, in fact, standard DVDs only.)

In any case, both sets are actually pretty similar in terms of breadth of content. The only difference between the 'Ultimate' and 'Complete' editions is the swanky packaging, but the five discs of content are exactly the same on both sets, across both formats. Let's dive in.

Disc One

  • Audio Commentaries: "The Final Cut" - Three tracks are included: director Ridley Scott flies solo in the first commentary; the second is a writer and producer track with executive producer/co-screenwriter Hampton Fancher, co-screenwriter David Peoples, producer Michael Deely and production executive Katherine Haber; and the third is an effects bonanza with visual futurist Syd Mead, production designer Lawrence G. Paull, art director David L. Snyder and special photographic effects supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich and David Dryer. I sampled each to get the general flavor, and was impressed by how specific each track gets, as well as the lack of overlap with the mammoth documentary (see disc two below). I also was surprised to find that I preferred the second writer track to the one with Scott -- not that the director doesn't deliver another fantastic commentary, but as a big fan of Philip K. Dick, I was fascinated by the discussion of the changes made to the original short story, as well as the producers' recollections of the arduous journey the film took throughout its production. The effects track was my least favorite, but that's only because I'm just not that into the subject in general -- if you are interested, this one's also likely to be a must-listen.

Disc Two

  • Documentary: "Dangerous Days" (SD, 211 minutes) - This insanely comprehensive making-of by longtime Scott documentarian Charles de Lauzirika runs not only longer than the feature film itself, but at over three hours it hogs the entire second disc. Simply put, this is the ultimate documentary on 'Blade Runner,' compiling interviews with everyone you'd want to hear from. There are too many participants to list, but among those contributing new interviews are all those featured in the commentaries, plus every main cast member including Harrison Ford, Sean Young, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos and Joanna Cassidy. The biggest compliment I can pay to "Dangerous Days" is that despite the punishing runtime, I didn't look at my watch once. It helps that 'Blade Runner' was such a controversial undertaking, which results in plenty of juicy stories. It's now well-known that Scott and Ford didn't get along, Ford also didn't get along with Young, and both of the film's main producers (and, at times, the studio) didn't get along with the final cut of the movie. Though there are tons of highlights in "Dangerous Days," for me the best segments are those that take a no-holds-barred look at the realities of moviemaking (my favorite bit: original studio recordings of Ford doing the lame voice over narration, and he ain't happy). There is also some fabulous never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage that knocked my socks off. "Dangerous Days" sets a new benchmark for making-of documentaries.

    (Note that "Dangerous Days" features Dolby 2.0 Stereo audio, and subtitle options in English, French and Spanish. The same is true of all of the video-based extras on the rest of the set.)

Disc Three

The third platter features three different versions of the film, selectable from the main menu thanks to seamless branching: the original 1982 domestic cut of the film, the 1982 International version, and the subsequent 1992 Director's Cut. There are no additional bonus features, nor any audio commentaries, although Ridley Scott does offer a new introduction to the disc that provides a short bit of insight on the various versions.

Disc Four

Dubbed the "Enhancement Archive," platter four is filled with deleted footage, more featurettes and promotional materials. Divided into three sections ("Inception," "Fabrication" and "Longevity"), fans will find plenty to revel in here.

  • Featurette: "The Electric Dream: Remember Philip K. Dick" (SD, 14 minutes) - A very nice tribute to the late author, anchored largely by his daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, as well as fellow science fiction writers and luminaries. Covering more than just 'Blade Runner,' the recurring themes in all of Dick's novels are touched upon, as well as his continued relevance to the genre today.
  • Featurette: "Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel Vs. the Film" (SD, 15 minutes) - A continuation of "The Electric Dream," this featurette delves specifically into the considerable changes made to Dick's original novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" The movie's screenwriters and Scott chime in, as does Paul M. Sammon, author of the excellent book "Film Noir: The Making of Blade Runner."
  • Philip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews - While researching "Film Noir," Sammon conducted a series of audio interviews with Dick (the last before the author's death) between 1980 and 1982. Though the sound quality is rough, these are a total find. Dick discusses his feelings on the then-ongoing production of 'Blade Runner,' the small bits of footage he had seen up until that point, and even his thoughts on the casting of Harrison Ford. Fantastic stuff.
  • Featurette: "Signs of the Times: Graphic Design" (SD, 13 minutes) - Kinda geeky, but this is a fun visit with the film's production design team, and a look at the various bits of signage and other graphical elements they created for the film. Love that Atari sign, by the way...
  • Featurette: "Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling" (SD, 21 minutes) - Costume designer Michael Kaplan and make-up artist Marvin G. Westmore weigh in on the film's fashions, which surprisingly haven't dated all that much. Mixing both classic noir styles of the '40s with more modern (i.e., '80s) upgrades, Kaplan and Westmore also share a wealth of never-before-seen test photos and artwork including everything from Rachel's fantastic, multi-striped suit to Deckard's close-cropped hairstyle.
  • The Light That Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth (SD, 20 minutes) - A fitting tribute to the real star of 'Blade Runner,' the late director of photography Jordan Cronenweth. For me, his work on the film is simply the greatest achievement in cinematography over the past few decades, and Scott -- as well as most of the major players -- offer nothing but praise. Also appearing is the man's son, Jeff Cronenweth, who is now an established DP in his own right.
  • Screen Tests: Rachel & Pris (SD, 9 minutes) - Brief screen tests for Nina Axelrod and Stacey Nelkin here, which have been much-discussed by the film's fans. Nelkin was even briefly cast as a "fifth replicant" (but the part was eventually cut before shooting began), and both actress appear to recount their experiences. Casting director Mike Fenton also contributes a new introduction.
  • Deleted and Alternate Scenes (SD, 48 minutes) - This may be the holy grail of the extras for 'Blade Runner' devotees. Many, many scenes that have been discussed for years are finally revealed, including Deckard's visit to Holden in the hospital, expanded material with Blatty and Tyrell, a completely different opening, and even a first-ever glimpse's of Deckard's wife! Even cooler, Warner has remastered all of this material from various sources and re-scored it to create a presentation that's way better than it has any right to be. It's also arranged in chronological order, so watching the whole assemblage creates a little story of its own.
  • Vintage Featurettes (SD, 36 minutes) - Three EPKs produced at the time of the film's release are included: "On the Set" (14 minutes), "Convention Reel" (13 minutes) and "Behind-the-Scenes Outtakes" (9 minutes). Their sole appeal is their vintage nature, and the quality is only decent.
  • Featurette: "Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art" (SD, 10 minutes) - Quick chats with artists John Alvin and Drew Struzan, who designed the movie posters for 'Blade Runner's original release and the new 2007 re-issue, respectively.
  • Featurette: "Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard" (SD, 10 minutes) - Finally, the answer to the question that's been on every 'Blade Runner' fan's lips over the last twenty-five years: is Deckard really a replicant or not? Fans and filmmakers alike weigh in on their thoughts, but as always, Ridley Scott gets the last word, saying that if you don't already know the answer after watching the Final Cut, you're "an idiot." Thanks, Ridley!
  • Theatrical Trailers (SD) - Wrapping up the fourth disc are an avalanche of previews. There is the original theatrical teaser and the full trailer for the 1982 version, a TV spot for the 1982 release, official trailers for the 1992 "Director's Cut" and the 2007 "Final Cut," and finally an online trailer for the "Dangerous Days" documentary.

Disc Five

This last disc includes the "Workprint Version" of the film previously only seen on bootlegs. As previously mentioned, the quality isn't up to par with the restored versions of the film, but it is in HD, and it's certainly a great supplement. As if that wasn't enough, Warner has also produced some bonus features specifically for this version of the film.

  • Audio Commentary - Author Paul M. Sammon ("Film Noir: The Making of Blade Runner") returns oner more time for this solo track. He is obviously the authority on all things 'Blade Runner,' and serves as a comprehensive if somewhat dry tour guide to not only the "Workprint" version of the film, but the changes made to later cuts, as well as various deleted material. I suspect only true 'Blade Runner' disciples will take the time to actually listen to a commentary created for a workprint version of a movie, but it's just another sign of Warner's commitment and devotion to this project.
  • Featurette: "All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint to Final Cuts" (SD, 30 minutes) - As cool as it is to finally see the workprint, I must say I think I enjoyed this featurette even more. Dissecting the various cuts of 'Blade Runner,' it's a concise history of one the most convoluted film reconstructions ever attempted. Scott talks at length about his original vision, how it was diluted and challenged by the film's original producers, as well as what led to the 1992 "Director's Cut that isn't really a director's cut," and finally to the 2007 restoration. Nifty.

Final note: The only thing missing on this gargantuan release are the extensive still galleries that Warner promised in the original press release. We've received official word from the studio that the materials were dropped from all 'Blade Runner' releases (the DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray) due to space limitations, but that they may ultimately see the light of day via the film's official website. As of now, however, there's nothing concrete planned. Stay tuned.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

There are no high-def exclusives on either next-gen version of 'Ultimate Collector's Edition' (or the 'Complete Collector's Edition,' for that matter). Still, given the sheer insanity of the standard bonus features outlined above, it feels a little silly to complain.

Final Thoughts

'Blade Runner' is the rare science fiction film to actually seem more prescient twenty-years after its release. It is the true definition of a cult classic, and its unparalleled vision of the future has left an indelible mark on pop culture. Warner has truly outdone itself with this 'Ultimate Collector's Edition.' The video and audio restoration are fantastic, with the set delivering the same great five discs of content found in the 'Complete Collector's Edition,' plus super-slick briefcase packaging that includes a nice assortment of collectibles. 'Blade Runner' gets my vote for the absolute best high-def title of 2007, hands down.

Technical Specs

  • HD DVD/DVD
  • HD-30 Dual-Layer Discs/DVD-9 Dual-Layer Discs
  • Five-Disc Set

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/VC-1
  • 480p/i/MPEG-2 (Supplements Only)

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.40:1

Audio Formats

  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
  • English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround (48kHz/16-bit)
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (640kbps)

Subtitles/Captions

  • English SDH
  • French Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Portuguese Subtitles
  • English SDH
  • French Subtitles
  • Spanish Subtitles
  • Portuguese Subtitles

Supplements

  • Audio Commentaries
  • Documentary
  • Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailers

Exclusive HD Content

  • None

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