Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Ridley Scott’s stunning dystopian allegory about the meaning of life, where technology ends and humanity begins, Blade Runner—from the Philip K. Dick cyberpunk novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?—draws from many influences. Perhaps the strongest are the classic Fritz Lang film Metropolis and the Heavy Metal sci-fi magazines of the 1970s. The story follows gruff lawman Deckard (Harrison Ford) chasing androids called “replicants” that are nearly indistinguishable from humans. Deckard falls in love with one of the female replicants he’s hunting, Rachael (Sean Young), who was until recently unaware she wasn’t human. The film climaxes in a brutal battle between Deckard and the inimitable Rutger Hauer playing a desperate replicant trying to extend his life. The film (appearing here in its 2007 Final Cut version) has gone on to influence many films including The Fifth Element and Ghost in the Shell. Runner was shot in the anamorphic format on 35mm Eastman 100T 5247 film with special effects done on 65mm Eastman 100T 5247 film. The Final Cut used a 4K digital intermediate master and arrives on 4K Ultra HD in an HEVC 2160p (4K) encodement framed at 2.40:1 with HDR10 high dynamic range. This Ultra HD release is very crisp, and the gritty look that has always defined it is retained, with even more detail and depth of field thanks to the HDR and extra resolution. The colors in the neon-lit cityscape are jaw-dropping, but the shadow detail and inky blacks make it look almost 3D at the same time. The scene where Deckard applies the Voight-Kampff test to Rachael, with the shade of the amber light peering through, is just one of the stunning scenes that shows off the pop of the HDR and the extended detail and color gamut.

Blade Runner has been remixed to a Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1-compatible) soundtrack. The film has never sounded better, whether it’s the din and clatter of the streets fully surrounding us, the flying cars whooshing overhead, or the dynamics of the Vangelis score.

Warner includes the fantastic 3½-hour-long “Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner” on DVD. Also in this filled-tothe-brim set is a Blu-ray with The Final Cut and a second Blu-ray containing the U.S. Theatrical, International Theatrical, and Director’s Cuts. Three audio commentaries are provided: one with Scott, one writer/producer commentary, and one with noted visual futurist Syd Mead. An HD UltraViolet Digital Copy is also included.

Studio: Warner Bros., 1982
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos / TrueHD 7.1 core
Length: 117 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young

Ovation123's picture

Back in 2007 (yikes—11 years ago), I bought the 5-disc HD DVD release. Just before going to see 2049 last fall, I pulled out the Final Cut disc from the set, to get a refresher. Naturally, like many (many) WB HD DVDs, this one generated the dreaded “error code—some long number string” about 15 mins into the film. I was pissed off enough to buy the iTunes version so I could watch it right away. Regular blu-ray releases of the 5-disc set, long out of print, are very expensive in Canada. Even though I’m not UHD capable yet, I’ll gladly pony up for this release to get a more reliable copy of what I have.

Funny enough, none of my non-WB HD DVDs give me any grief (it’s why I haven’t replaced all of them by now—that, and some of them were bought at fire sale prices when the format died and I would not necessarily re-buy them at a higher price).

Traveler's picture

Very very good movie.

Deus02's picture

One of the elements I missed in Blade Runner 2049 was the Vangelis score in which his music just seemed to be beautifully in sync with the mood of the movie all the way through from beginning to end. I felt the newer version was a little too dark and too intense.

Brandon, I am assuming of the three audio commentaries, the third(which you did not mention)was the Harrison Ford commentary which was an integral part of the original movie and is it part of this new 4K Final Cut version?

stalepie's picture

I remember not liking the blue-green color timing this new version has. Is it any different in the new UHD release? The original Director's Cut DVD and Laserdiscs look more red/brown/gold.