Don’t let the mixed results of Prometheus fool you, Ridley Scott once made amazing motion pictures. Like many members of my generation I was enamored with Star Wars as a child and eager to see more elaborate forays into science fiction. The only real pay off arrived in Blade Runner, a movie that I saw on a rainy afternoon at the local cinema after a medical visit in Boston, MA. It made an indelible mark on my psyche that has remained fresh until this day.
A breathtaking visual experiment, Blade Runner was based (loosely) on the work of Philip K. Dick, an author whom I would become more familiar with in my adulthood. Rather than depicting a story-book fantasy of George Lucas’ Star Wars, Blade Runner was set in a decaying over-crowded future-world where the very nature of reality and identity were suspect.
It’s funny that for years, the only version of Blade Runner on was a straight transfer, then a Director’s Cut version with hardly any special features. The limited edition HD-DVD/DVD set in a Voight-Kampff case featuring numerous cuts of the movie, an engrossing documentary, a bizarre 3-D film cell and a die-cast flying car is the pearl of my collection, but very few people were fortunate enough to find it.
Included in the set was the ‘final cut,’ which director Ridley Scott had the most say in. Sadly, author PKD did not live to see this or any finalized version but what he did get to watch before he passed pleased him. The film and the novel on which it is based ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ are both very different but of all the motion picture adaptions of Dick’s work, this comes closest to capturing the paranoia and alienation prevalent in his work. Blade Runner is also possibly the last ‘important’ sci-fi film made to date.
Well, apparently there is such a thing as second chances. This autumn, a new Blu-ray special edition is being released which comes close to replicating the HD/DVD set if not… dare I say it… improving upon perfection.