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Silly headline, I know, but I just wanted to throw this up as quickly as possible, especially following the Star Wars fiasco (Star Wars v3.1b vs. 1.0 and Coca-Co— er, Star Wars Classic).

I have been waiting years for this, and it’s finally happening. Ridley Scott is releasing his multi-version DVD of Blade Runner. Here’s a press release (also sent to me by Marcy):

Warner Home Video is bringing Ridley Scott’s futuristic film noir classic Blade Runner back to DVD in a big way.

After recently securing a new long-term agreement for the worldwide rights to the 1982 film, Warner announced several new DVD releases to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

In September, Warner presents a limited four-month re-release of the 1992 director’s cut of the film, which was originally released as one of the first DVDs in 1997. For years this has been the only version of the film officially available on DVD.

“A number of people have told me that in the start-up days of DVD, Blade Runner was absolutely the first DVD title they wanted, so much so that they purchased it even before their first DVD player,” said Jeff Baker, SVP and GM of WHV.

In 2007, Warner will unveil Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Scott’s definitive new version of the cult classic, which stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah.

The film will be released theatrically in select major U.S. cities, followed by a multidisc special-edition DVD release that also will contain three alternate versions of Blade Runner: the original U.S. theatrical cut, the expanded international theatrical cut and the 1992 cut. A wide array of bonus features are being prepared for the anniversary edition.

“This is clearly Ridley’s signature film, and we are thrilled to have it back,” Baker said.

Compare that with what Lucas has been doing with his movie. In the realm of science fiction, Star Wars and Blade Runner stand out as being true classics, genre-defining films that sent all moviemaking onto new paths. However, Ridley is smart enough to give all fans of his movie a choice. A true fan of this movie, like me, will eagerly slurp up every version to examine and compare. In fact, back in 1999, Marcy and I showed up at a 70mm screening of what was advertised to be the director’s cut of Blade Runner, only to be surprised that it was a film festival/audience preview version of the film from before its original release. I won’t repeat the details here because I wrote a long, detailed review back when I was knee-deep in Reviews on the Side. Go read that review if you’re at all curious about the movie or about how deeply-rooted my geek genes run.

Back to the point: I would have eagerly slurped up multiple versions of Star Wars and Empire on DVD, but I’m a filthy, unintelligent, unwashed fan-dog who knows nothing of the brilliance of Lucas’ final (yeah, right) version of those movies. Lord Lucas has pooh-poohed both his own artistic creation of 1977 and the fans’ love of that version. He knows best.

I know Ridley has a big ego and can be a pain in the ass, but he is not so self-absorbed and egotistical to believe that any current vision he might have of Blade Runner is the only one the world should ever see. Lucas, on the other hand, seems to be so out of touch that he, like a dictatorial lunatic, has been trying to sell the world on his modern version of Star Wars alone, and like the memory hole in 1984, the past should be re-written or erased. If George had any sense, he’d do what Ridley is doing: release a nice DVD set that includes all versions of the movie (without the cheapskate packaging and art that Fox was forced to use for all the Star Wars DVDs). I know that Ridley has been working on this Blade Runner set for years, and I trust that the multiple versions will all be at least somewhat restored and, at the very least, ANAMORPHIC. Ridley is not alienating his fans (NO PUN INTENDED! REALLY!), but appreciating them, letting them have something wonderful to watch and geek out to. Georgie, on the other hand, has consistently angered us, and now I, for one, could give a shit about this upcoming release. If Georgie had, from the start, come out with a set containing the three versions of the movies (yes, Empire has been changed again), we’d all have been happy and snapped up the sets like mad, thanking George for letting us enjoy the variations of the movie he has so gently offered forth to us, his mighty fans.

Ridley also has the advantage, for the sake of this comparison rant, that his 1982 theatrical version of Blade Runner was butchered by the studio. His director’s cut in 1992 was truly Ridley bringing the film back into line with what he’d intended to make. The version I saw in 1999 is proof of this. (Again, see my review for more details.) I imagine Ridley’s “final cut” version will be cleaning up the scars left from salvaging the 1992 version from out of the flames of the 1982 version. He will not be making Pris an all-CG creation to present his original concept of her as more impossibly beautiful and Replicant-like. Or some other Lucasian bullshit like that.

Well, so much for the short post. I’m very excited. But I have not wet my pants. I’ll leave that to others. I require dry and comfortable briefs for the rest of the day.


G-Man Expounded Thusly:

We Star Wars fans like to bitch about anything Lucas does, but cave in in the end and buy whatever he puts out there. I for one, am excited by the thought of the tv series that i’ve been hearing about but probably WON’T be buying the unaltered versions of the movies. I have two copies of different versions on VHS plus a version on DVD already. I’m a bit of a completist, but this is getting ridiculous.

And for what its worth, my 4 and 6 year old nephews have just gotten into Star Wars over the past week. I have suddenly become their coolest uncle EVER!

Friday, May 26th, 2006 • 8:39pm • Permalink

J Expounded Thusly:

Something worth remembering, rather a large point, actually, is that WB literally puts out hundreds and hundreds of DVD releases each year. Lucasfilm puts out one. The economics are easy to figure out. If WB loses money on a release, it’s not a big deal. If Lucasfilm loses money on a release, it’s a big deal. Fox only distributes Lucasfilm’s titles; all costs are borne by Lucasfilm. It’s just something to consider.

I’m not saying you’re right, they’re right, whatever. Pretty much, it’s an unwinnable argument. Hopefully, once people see the DVDs, they’ll say, “Hey, these are actually pretty good.” We’ll see.

Sunday, May 28th, 2006 • 12:31pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Good point. Though Lucasfilm, unlike WB, has a guaranteed money-maker. I know Lucas is stingy with packaging and features and all that, but when you have such an in-demand property, the company should do right by those who gave Lucas all his cash to begin with. (I got another tidbit of Lucasfilm cheapskate info today, but I wont share it here.) Yes, is is certainly true, though, that Lucasfilm is pretty much a one-franchise place. Okay, two franchise. Does Paramount have the same deal with the Indy films as Fox deos with the Star Wars films?

Another point: to spend who knows how much money making Yoda CG in Empire mand making the first three movies 3D and not spend anything to present the original versions with at least a minimal DVD standard of quality shows Lucas has money to burn on his “risky” franchise. The choices made speak for themselves.

People are NOT going to see the DVDs and go, “Oh, hey, these look pretty good!” unless it’s immediately followed with “…for something transfered from stone tablets.” They are not anamorphic, not restored at all, and in Dolby Pro Logic… Yes, that’s 2.0, not even 5.1. Really, it’s pathetic.

I guess I should admit that it is the people who don’t care or who don’t know any better who will be pleased. Not going the extra step for people who love the movies (like Disney when DVDs first came on the scene) is just selfish and ignorant. Or something like that. Lazy and cheap might be better words to use. Or hasty and opportunistic… I don’t know why Lucasfilm is coming out with this >right now, but they could have waited to fix up the movies and release them in a beautiful DVD on their own. Then everyone would have been happy… the people who love the new versions, and those who would love to have the old ones to watch as well.

Monday, May 29th, 2006 • 6:29pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

At the beginning of the last comment, I did not mean to imply that Warner Bros. does not have a money-maker on its hands with Blade Runner—I think it does—but that Lucasfilm is working with a guaranteed moneymaker whereas the WB, to John’s point, can afford to put out some money-losers. So while the economics would favor the huge studio that releases hits and misses, Lucasfilm has a rare a special property on its hands, and so can afford to loosen up just a little.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 • 11:09pm • Permalink


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