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Blade Runner.... which version?

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Despite being a fan of sci-fi, I've somehow managed to get to the grand old age of 32 without ever having seen Blade Runner.

It's time to rectify this - but which version should I get? Is there a widely acknowledged 'definitive' version? I don't know much about the film - so no spoilers please! - but am aware of multiple version, including one with a narrator, and one without - is that right?

So which one would people recommend? (my preference would be to buy via iTunes btw, so not sure if that limits my choice)

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Despite being a fan of sci-fi, I've somehow managed to get to the grand old age of 32 without ever having seen Blade Runner.

It's time to rectify this - but which version should I get? Is there a widely acknowledged 'definitive' version? I don't know much about the film - so no spoilers please! - but am aware of multiple version, including one with a narrator, and one without - is that right?

So which one would people recommend? (my preference would be to buy via iTunes btw, so not sure if that limits my choice)

The Final Cut version released on Blu-Ray and DVD is the one to go for, in my opinion. It looks absolutely stunning, too, like the film was made yesterday.

Hopefully you'll be able to find it on iTunes too.

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Get the 2007 Final Cut. As far as I know it completely supersedes the Director's Cut thanks to its fixed special effects, tightened edits etc.

If you find you really love the Final Cut, you can delve into the original theatrical version later. (I have to admit I've never seen that version.)

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There are 3 main version which are fairly easy to get (though which ones are on iTunes I'm not sure)

1. The original theatrical release (the one with the narration) which is generally seen as the worst due to the said narration and dodgy ending (IIRC the ending sequence had something to do with The Shining)

2. The Directors cut which is better i.e no narration or dodgy ending but isn't a true directors cut according to Ridley Scott (the director)

3. Final Cut which is the true directors cut as Ridley Scott actually did this one.

Personally I like them all but I have a particular soft spot for the Directors Cut as that was the first one I saw, though the Final Cut is possible better. Having said that I first read the story of Blade Runner in the back of the old Star Wars comic back in the eighties :)

If you like it there is also a documentary by Mark Kermode and an excellent book called Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, though I'd steer clear of the novels which follow on from the film.

Edit: too slow :)

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I'd plump for the 1992 version; the 2007 variant has two alterations that I've found increasingly irksome: one detracts from a character's menace so as to cram in a grating line that's completely redundant given the film's pronounced religious subtext, and the other substitutes a startling poetic conceit for a less interesting - but more realistic - climactic shot. The 2007 cut does, however, expand a sequence in the film's middle that is amongst the most bold and excessive in Scott's filmography.

Still, I imagine that for a neophyte either of those two cuts will have exactly the same effect, so don't let a set-in-his-ways grumbler like me put you off watching the director's cut of what is a very, very fine film.

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Afraid the original was the one I saw first, and it's always been the one I've loved and grew up with. I personally don't care what anyone says, but to me the whole voice-over gives the film that fantastic film-noir private dick feel that I adore.

However, the film works amazingly well whatever version you see, and I can't deny that the clean-up done to it for the 2007 version is really, really stunning.

Bloody timeless film - so far ahead of it's time when it was made....sigh, I adore it so very much!

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But then, I love the Stallone Judge Dredd film too, so I clearly know fuck all about films and should never have been allowed anywhere near a Film Studies teaching job.

Well, I can possibly go one better and confess I love 'Meet Joe Black' too...

Basically, everything I now say can safely be ignored I guess :P

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I think it comes down to whichever version you saw first, really. Or saw at a formative age. Nothing wrong with preferring the theatrical cut – although this does obviously mean that you have no taste and are insane and have weird hair – but for a first timer, it’s hard to argue that they should watch anything but the Final Cut, given that it’s the version that’s as close as is realistically possible to the filmmakers’ original intention.

That said, I had a look at the Wikipedia page on the alterations to the Final Cut, and there are much more than I remember, although they’re almost all so small that you’d have to be a proper Blade Runner expert to notice. There’s one change in the Final Cut I’m not sure about, in that I think I prefer the original line of dialogue

(the change from “fucker” to “father”, which seems a little redundant, and lacks the menace of the original delivery)

, but it’s hardly Greedo shooting first.

There’s also the fact that there was nothing really wrong with the Director’s Cut. You could argue that the alteration of the dialogue

near the start to remove the references to the “sixth replicant” is a correction of a genuine continuity error, but you could equally argue that the error enriched and deepened the universe of the film. The same goes for the amendment of the shot of the dove flying off. I don’t know anyone who was bothered by the shot in the original, but M Hulot seems to be bothered by its removal, and it appears to have enhanced his enjoyment of the film, even if it was an honest to god mistake. I would say that neither is better, really, although R Scott or M Hulot would obviously disagree.

That said, the one change I would support is the removal of the “2019” date from the start of the film. Nothing dates an SF film like dating it.

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That said, the one change I would support is the removal of the “2019” date from the start of the film. Nothing dates an SF film like dating it.

Totally this. That and the absence of anything resembling the internet always reminds me of how naive some SF films are.

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The only thing in Blade Runner which looked dated when I watched it the other day was the Vid Phone in Taffy Lewis' bar (Deckard uses it to call Rachel). But still, it makes for a good scene. Wouldn't have been the same if he FaceTimed her on his iPhone 12.

There is a documentary on the five disc edition about the protracted production of the Final Cut which is well worth watching. It's tucked away on one of the discs you wouldn't expect it to be on, so you might have to root around for it. It was mainly driven by some devoted fans, with Ridley getting involved fairly late in the game.

The most interesting bit was how they got Harrison Ford's son, who was roughly the same age as Harrison when he was in the original, to come in and do some lip synching for a scene where the original dialogue and lip synch didn't match at all. They stuck the trademark Harrison Scar on his face, filmed him speaking the proper dialogue then superimposed his jaw onto his dad's face. Freaky, but it works seamlessly.

One thing I'm glad they never put back in was the scene where they go and see Holden in the hospital (he's the guy who Leon blasts through a wall at the start). I love the way you've got this cool looking detective dude at the start, who gets totally and unexpectedly pwned within a few minutes. The fact that you never see him again adds to the effect.

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I've only ever seen the director's cut and loved it. I heard the voice over in the theatrical cut was tacked on and Harrison Ford totally phoned it in, so it sounded shit as well.

Quality film though, I've been meaning to get it on Blue Ray now I've got a player...

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Watched this for the first time earlier this year (on HD-DVD woo!) and totally loved it. The making of was fascinating too and put me off ever wanting to see the theatrical cut. Especially the bit where Ford is mocking and laughing about the voiceover script.

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When the Final Cut boxset came out, I somehow managed to watch all 5 versions in a weekend.

And I'm not even much of a fan of the film.

I mean I recognise that it's a brilliantly-made film, and it's very rich and deep and moody, and it's an important piece of science-fiction that influences all cinematic portrayals of dystopia. But it's a hard film to enjoy. It's so slow and stressful and depressing.

All the characters are... well... autistic! Deckard has no emotions (his wife left him for having no emotions or passion in the voiceover version. Or he's a replicant. Or he's just Harrison Ford). Deckard has a strange emotionless relationship with the emotionless replicant Rachel. The replicants he hunts are fighting for their right to feel human, but nevertheless their actions prove them to be detached sociopaths.

I understand why the film wasn't a success at the time, and why I never managed to watch it in one sitting whenever it was on TV. The boxset gave me a good education on the film, but I don't need to see it again for a long time.

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If you can find it track down the PC game by Westwood. The voxel characters look crap and it can be a pig to run on newer systems but if you can get past those two hurdles you'll love it.

I nabbed it in a charity shop ages ago. Superb game.

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