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Blade Runner: Ultimate Collection

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Reply #30 on: September 03, 2007, 09:40:11 PM
New "Blade Runner" cut is "how it should have been"

Twenty-five years after "Blade Runner" was panned by critics and pulled from theaters, British director Ridley Scott savors revenge with the final cut of the science-fiction film now considered a cult classic.

Presenting the new version of what he considers his most accomplished movie, Scott recalled the difficulties he had when he first pitched the work to Hollywood.

"I was a new kid on the block in Hollywood, so driving to those studios every day was a magical mystery tour. But it was hard, the whole process of making the movie became quite difficult," he told reporters at the Venice film festival after a press screening.

"I wasn't used at that point in my career to having too many cooks in the kitchen, and I think there were many people who started to get involved.

"So out of it came a hybrid version of what I'd originally intended. Consequently ... we had a bad opening, bad previews, confused previews. I was killed by some critics ... then I thought it would be gone away for ever," Scott said.

The futuristic thriller is set in the year 2019 and follows policeman Deckard (Harrison Ford), a "blade runner" trying to catch and kill four human replicants who have escaped from a space-based colony.

The response at early sample screenings before the official release in June 1982 was so weak that the producers forced Scott to add voice-overs to the film and change the final scene to make it a more "happy ending."

"I thought I'd really nailed it, I really thought I'd nailed it. And the person I used to show it to was my brother (director Tony Scott). And my brother, he loved it so much. Then we preview, and the previews are really, really bad, and my confidence is really dented," said Scott.

The reworking of the film led to "voice overs which started to explain what was about to happen, who the characters were and who was going to do what to who, which is the antithesis of a good movie making process," he said.


Despite the changes and two Oscar nominations, bad reviews and the almost simultaneous release of Steven Spielberg's hugely popular "E.T." ended the theater run of "Blade Runner" prematurely.

Yet the film eventually achieved cult status through re-issue on television and home video.

Scott, 69, said he had almost forgotten about it until he saw clips on music television channel MTV and realized that his film "was having a strong influence on younger generations."

Over the years, five versions of the film have been released, including a director's cut in 1992. But Scott said the "Final Cut" -- which will be issued as a collector's DVD edition later in the winter -- was "really as it was intended to be."

"A good film is like a good book, you might go to the shelf and take it off and revisit it. There are not a lot of films I can do that with from my collection of material," said Scott, whose other titles include international hits such as the first "Alien," "Thelma & Louise" and "Gladiator."

At present, Scott is working on "Body Of Lies," one of several Hollywood movies on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months. But he said he would like to make another science fiction film.

"I am continuously looking for that so if anyone has got a science fiction script in their briefcase, give it to me."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #31 on: September 29, 2007, 10:27:15 PM
A Cult Classic Restored, Again
Source: New York Times
IT’S been 25 years since the release of “Blade Runner,” Ridley Scott’s science fiction cult film turned classic, but only now has his original vision reached the screen.

“Blade Runner: The Final Cut” — as the definitive director’s cut is titled — was scheduled to play at the New York Film Festival Saturday night, opens at the Ziegfeld in New York and the Landmark in Los Angeles on Friday, and comes out in December in a five-disc set with scads of extra features.

An earlier director’s cut played in theaters 15 years ago to great fanfare and is still available on DVD. But the new one is something different: darker, bleaker, more beautifully immersive.

The film, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” takes place in Los Angeles in 2019. It follows a cop named Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) who hunts down androids — or, in the film’s jargon, replicants— that have escaped from their slave cells on outer-space colonies and are trying to blend in back on Earth.

What’s hypnotic about the film is its seamless portrait of the future, a sleek retro Deco glossed on neon-laced decay: overcrowded cities roamed by hustlers, strugglers and street gangs mumbling a multicultural argot, the sky lit by giant corporate logos and video billboards hyping exotic getaways on other planets, where most English-speaking white people seem to have fled.

Mr. Scott designed this world in minute detail and shot it at night, from oblique angles, mainly on Warner Brothers’ back lot in Burbank, Calif., pumping in smoke and drizzling in rain.

“I’ve never paid quite so much attention to a movie, ever,” Mr. Scott said in a telephone interview from Washington, where he’s shooting a spy thriller. “But we had to create a world that supported the story’s premise, made it believable. Why do you watch a film seven times? Because somebody’s done it right and transported you to its world.”

He created this world from what he saw around him. “I was spending a lot of time in New York,” he said. “The city back then seemed to be dismantling itself. It was marginally out of control. I’d also shot some commercials in Hong Kong. This was before the skyscrapers. The streets seemed medieval. There were 4,000 junks in the harbor, and the harbor was filthy. You wouldn’t want to fall in; you’d never get out alive. I wanted to film ‘Blade Runner’ in Hong Kong, but couldn’t afford to.

When “Blade Runner” came out in June 1982 it received mixed reviews and lost money. The summer’s big hit was “E. T.,” Steven Spielberg’s tale of a cute alien phoning home from the tidy suburbs. Few wanted to watch a movie that implied the world was about to go drastically downhill.

“Here we are 25 years on,” Mr. Scott said, “and we’re seriously discussing the possibility of the end of this world by the end of the century. This is no longer science fiction.”

The special effects that produced this vision were amazing for their day. Created with miniature models, optics and double exposures, they seemed less artificial than many computer effects of a decade later. But like film stock, they faded with time.

For the new director’s cut, the special-effects footage was digitally scanned at 8,000 lines per frame, four times the resolution of most restorations, and then meticulously retouched. The results look almost 3-D.

The film’s theme of dehumanization has also been sharpened. What has been a matter of speculation and debate is now a certainty: Deckard, the replicant-hunting cop, is himself a replicant. Mr. Scott confirmed this: “Yes, he’s a replicant. He was always a replicant.”

This may disappoint some viewers. Deckard is the film’s one person with a conscience. If he’s a replicant, it means that there are no more decent human beings.

“It’s a pretty dark world,” Mr. Scott acknowledged. “How many decent human beings do you meet these days?”

The clue to Deckard’s true nature comes in a scene that was cut from the original release and only recently unearthed by Charles de Lauzirika, Mr. Scott’s assistant and the restoration’s producer, In the film, Deckard falls in love with Rachael (played by Sean Young), a secretary at the Tyrell Corporation, the conglomerate that makes replicants. She discovers that she’s a replicant too. Her memories of childhood were implanted by Tyrell to make her think she’s human.

In the last scene of Mr. Scott’s version, Deckard leads Rachael out of his apartment. He notices an origami figure of a unicorn on the floor. A fellow cop has often left such figures outside replicants’ rooms. In an earlier scene, Deckard was thinking about a unicorn. Looking at the cutout now, he realizes that the authorities know what’s in his mind, that the unicorn is a planted memory, that he’s a replicant and that he and Rachael are both now on the run. They get into the elevator. The door slams. The end.

Neither this scene nor any unicorn appeared in the 1982 release. That version ended with Deckard and Rachael escaping, driving through green countryside, Deckard telling us in his Philip Marlowe voice-over — which ran throughout the movie — that he had learned Rachael is a new type of replicant, built to live as long as humans. They smile. The end.

How to explain such a drastic change? The veteran television producers Bud Yorkin and Jerry Perenchio put up one third of the film’s $22 million budget and the completion bond, which stipulated that if the film went over budget they had to pay the overrun but would also take ownership of the movie. The film went $7 million over budget.

Preview screenings were disastrous. Crowds went to see the new Harrison Ford movie, thinking it would be like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and they were befuddled. Mr. Yorkin and Mr. Perenchio, whose relations with Mr. Scott were always tense, took over.

In some accounts, Mr. Scott was kicked off the picture and had nothing to do with the voice-over or the happy ending. This isn’t quite accurate.

“I was in a minor argument over it for about six hours,” Mr. Scott recalled. “Then I was fully on board.” He had contemplated a voice-over early on, inspired by Martin Sheen’s in “Apocalypse Now.” When the previews bombed, he revived the idea and had his screenwriters, Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, work on it. The new owners discarded that draft and hired Roland Kibbee, a frequent writer for the detective show “Colombo,” to do a rewrite.

Mr. Scott didn’t like the revision, but he edited it into the movie anyway. He also asked Stanley Kubrick for outtakes of rolling countryside that were shot for “The Shining,” and used them as backdrop for the desired happy ending.

“I went along with the idea that we had to do certain things to get audiences interested,” Mr. Scott recalled. “I later realized that once I adopted that line, I was selling my soul to the devil, inch by inch drifting from my original conception.”

“My original concept,” he said, “was almost operatic: the cadences, the deliberate pacing. I mean that in the sense of the best comic strips, the ones that adults read, which are very operatic. ‘Batman’ — you can’t get more operatic than that.”

Afterward, Mr. Scott moved on to other films. In 1989 a Warner Brothers executive, going through the vaults, came across a 70-millimeter print of Mr. Scott’s original cut. In May 1990 the print was lent to a Los Angeles theater showing a festival of 70-millimeter films. Fans lined up around the block. The same thing happened when two art houses screened it in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sensing a windfall, Warner Brothers announced the release of a director’s cut and brought in Mr. Scott. It was a rush job — much of the deleted footage couldn’t be found — but it was closer to what he had intended.

In 2000 Mr. Scott announced that he was working on a multidisc set that would include a polished director’s cut. But the project collapsed when the Mr. Yorkin and Mr. Perenchio wouldn’t transfer the rights.

This refusal was widely attributed to lingering bitterness. Mr. Yorkin, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles, denied that. “It’s just there was no reason for another release,” he said. “We needed an idea that would make it an event.”

Last year they realized the film’s 25th anniversary was coming up. “That was an idea we could hook it on,” Mr. Yorkin said. A deal was struck with Warner Brothers. The project was revived.

Mr. de Lauzirika plowed through 977 boxes and cans of film, stored mainly in a Burbank warehouse, and found the missing pieces — including the complete unicorn scene — along with several discs’ worth of material for DVD special features. And the technical experts restored the picture to a level of detail that would have been impossible a few years earlier.

“In many ways,” Mr. de Lauzirika said, “the delay actually helped. So all headaches aside, it’s hard to be bitter. I’m actually quite grateful.”
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #32 on: September 30, 2007, 11:44:22 AM
'Blade Runner,' Take 3
It was coolly received in 1982, but Ridley Scott's bleak science fiction film has undergone revisions, and this time he thinks they got it right.
Source: Los Angels Times

RIDLEY SCOTT was living in London in 1980 but looking for a leading man for his first Hollywood movie. The script was a strange one -- it was a surreal tale adapted from a 1968 novel about murderous artificial people in futuristic Los Angeles -- and Scott didn't have a certain title since he couldn't use the more-than-a-mouthful name of the book: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Scott did have a star in mind, though: He had seen "Star Wars" and decided that he wanted his star to be the actor who had played that charming scoundrel Han Solo.

"The reaction of one of the producers was: 'Who the hell is Harrison Ford?' One of the reasons I went for Harrison was the fact that I knew that Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas] were doing this thing called ["Raiders of the Lost Ark"]. It smelled good to me. I simply called up Harrison's agent and said, 'I want to meet Harrison as soon as possible.' Like two days later we met and he turned up with the stubble and the hat and the leather jacket on because he had been shooting. It was like 10 o'clock at night. So my meeting for 'Blade Runner' was with Indiana Jones."
Scott chuckled at the memory, then groaned, reached for a bag of ice and propped his leg up on a chair. The 69-year-old British filmmaker was fresh from knee surgery -- "Too much tennis," he said with a sad shrug -- and at the time was still working on his 19th film, "American Gangster," due in theaters in November. But he was eager to talk about "Blade Runner" and the past because he's getting a rare chance to revisit and reengage both. Scott oversaw a new remastered version of the film that enhances its Vangelis score, adds snap to its visual effects and even includes a bit of new footage, all for the 25th anniversary of the dystopian epic. "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" will be shown for a month at the Landmark Theatre in West L.A. and then will go on sale as a DVD in November.

The tale of "Blade Runner" is not a sunny one. The version of the film that reached theaters in 1982 (it opened against "E.T.") was weighted down with a somnambulant voice-over narrative and a tacked-on ending that Scott loathed; the set too had been a contentious one, with Ford and Scott locked in a surly struggle. Also, Philip K. Dick, the author of "Do Androids Dream," died just four months before the film reached the screen.

Then, famously, the history of the film took a sharp turn away from ignominy. First, the advent of the home-video era brought the movie to a wider audience, one that was increasingly attuned to the film's cyberpunk visions and its technological concepts.

Then, close to the film's 10th anniversary, a so-called director's cut was given a theatrical run in Los Angeles and broke revival-house records. That version was actually a preview print, as Scott refers to it, which might have been missing the monkey-wrench additions (like that clunky Ford voice-over) but also was missing large chunks of music and a key dream sequence.

This current "Final Cut" version, Scott said, comes closest to what the film could have been and, in his mind, should have been.

"It's quite a thing to come back to this film now, after all this time, after a quarter of a century," said Scott, whose résumé includes "Thelma & Louise," "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down."

"This is a film that, in many ways, has echoed throughout popular culture in a very special way."

The film also seems to have been a career landmark for just about everyone involved.

"I was never on another movie set quite like that one," said Daryl Hannah, who portrayed the sexualized android called Pris. "I was very young, and every day it felt the way you fantasize that making a movie would be -- like you're stepping into another world."

Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor who played the menacing but poetic killer android called Roy Batty, talks about how the movie "captured a vision of the future that to this day holds up. That's quite an achievement. It was a film all of us knew was going to be special. A lot of that is because of Ridley."

Although in hindsight everyone seems to laud Scott's bold film, at the time there was considerable debate on the quality of his anachronistic noir vision. There were critics who were divided on the film, but, before that, there was also the crowd of financial backers and studio executives who felt it was too convoluted and complicated and needed to be dumbed down for audiences.

"I learned a lesson from all of that," Scott said, leaning over again to rub his rebuilt knee. "I learned to stand my ground. I was stubborn, but I learned I should have been more stubborn."

Future vision

WATCHING "Blade Runner: The Final Cut," anyone who lives in Los Angeles today would be struck by how prescient the film was about the direction of society and culture. To Edward James Olmos, the film, set in 2019, amounted to a crystal ball in many of its details.

"What you see now is how unique this image of Los Angeles is and, in hindsight, how correctly it predicted so much, such as the mix of urban Latino and Asian cultural influences in the city," said Olmos, who portrayed a taciturn cop in the movie. "About the only thing in the film we haven't gotten yet is those flying cars."

L.A. today perhaps isn't quite the blow-torch skyline and acid-rain megalopolis of "Blade Runner," but the film certainly created standard images and codified themes for several generations of science fiction films. It's hard to watch such movies as "The Matrix," "The Terminator," "The Fifth Element" or "Minority Report" (which was also based on Dick's writing) and not see links to "Blade Runner." MTV, cyber-punk fashion, graphic novels and even some architecture have pulled elements from the visual accomplishments of "Blade Runner."

From the novel by Dick, the film took its core plot of a bounty hunter on grim, dying Earth chasing down androids who have a pre-set "death date." For the film, these hunters were called "blade runners" (a name that came from an unrelated William S. Burroughs novel; producer Michael Deeley and Scott just liked the sound of it) and the androids were called "replicants." That term came from screenwriter David Peoples' daughter, who was studying biology at the time and offered the term. "We were going to call them humanoids," Scott said, "but that sounded pretty good, so we used it instead."

What may be most unusual about the film is how many of the key components came from the actors involved. One example: Hauer, concerned that his death scene was too protracted, jotted down a few lines about the nature of death, and that became his soliloquy during the powerful rooftop scene in which his character dies in a downpour.

"He wrote these lines, they were like Shelley," Scott said with a measure of awe. "He wrote it in his trailer and, like 45 minutes later, we just did it up there on the roof. I always have cast actors who are not afraid to speak up. On 'Blade Runner,' there were some significant contributions."

Maybe none were more significant than the contributions by Olmos. It was his idea that his character talk in "Cityspeak," the hybrid of four languages that shows the polyglot nature of L.A., and it was also his notion to fiddle with a piece of paper and create origami while in the background of one scene.

"I really was trying to find a way to blend into the background and not do anything but also not look like I wasn't doing anything; it's difficult to do that, you don't want to distract from the action in the scene, but you also don't want to look artificially still," Olmos said. "You need to be like a tree in the wind."

The casual creation of fidgeting became a key part of the film; the origami, linchpin symbols in the film. The paper unicorn shaped by Olmos' character, for instance, telegraphs to the audience a huge plot point: that Ford's character, Deckard, is himself an android.

"It all fit together perfectly, but that shows how confident Ridley is on the set and how he is constantly working toward the place the story should go and how open he is even while filming," Olmos said. "It's a true talent, and he has that confidence to embrace the art around him."

Still, the embraces during the making of "Blade Runner" were sometimes more like a wrestling match than a hug-fest. "Yes, there was a lot of passion and conflict, it's true," said Sean Young, who portrayed Rachael. "But I think that's because there were things worth fighting for."

Scott, who had already directed "Alien," had come to the project after a stellar career making television commercials (a few years later, he would make the celebrated "1984" ad for Macintosh) and right after walking away from an aborted attempt to bring the Frank Herbert novel "Dune" to the screen. Scott's older brother had just died unexpectedly, and the director hoped that in making his first film in America he might distract himself from the grief. "I wanted to make a movie," Scott said, "where I walked through the gates at Warner Bros., the ones I had only seen in Cary Grant movies and old horror movies."

That sort of carefree daydream soon gave way to sour complications. There were several versions of the script, and the first writer, Hampton Fancher, quit after Peoples was brought in to rework the story. Much has been made too of the squabbles between Scott and Ford.

"No, we're fine," Scott said. "Actually, I got on all right with him at the time, but it was such a difficult film to convey that I got tired of explaining it . . . and Harrison tends to be a person who keeps himself to himself, particularly in those days, and if that happens with an actor, then so do I."

Scott paused and then grinned mischievously. "And generally speaking, I actually think the movie was one of the better things he's done. Hee hee."

Even with Ford as reluctant star (he was the lone notable absence when "Blade Runner: The Final Cut" made its premiere at the Venice Film Festival a few weeks ago), the resonance of "Blade Runner" is unmistakable now. For one thing, it propelled the late Dick to the status of Hollywood concept machine; there have been eight other films based on his writings and three more are in the hopper. None of them, though, has matched "Blade Runner" and its mix of Philip Marlowe and fire-pit future tech.

Scott, meanwhile, has not revisited science fiction. "I suppose I haven't found a future that is as interesting as that future."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #33 on: October 02, 2007, 01:59:00 PM
Exclusive: The Real Deal
Digital film restoration and a final cut reveal the true Blade Runner.
Source: Digital Content
Those who have faithfully followed every version of Blade Runner will be heartened to know that through the magic of digital film restoration, it has now received Ridley Scott's definitive cut. Blade Runner: The Final Cut airs in theaters in early October. And on Dec. 18, three different assemblies of the five different cuts of the film and its components (plus extra content and a three-hour-plus making-of documentary) become available on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray.

The multiple-cut Blade Runner mystique was touched off in the early '90s when a workprint of the film leaked out for a Los Angeles film festival, according to Charles de Lauzirika, restoration producer for the new cut and DVD producer for all the extras.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, here's a rundown of the various versions of this inestimable sci-fi classic. The original film was released in 1982. At the same time, an international version went out. “It might just have been an alternate cut that Ridley and [supervising editor] Terry Rawlings prepared. It might have been done before the MPA rating,” de Lauzirika says of the cut, which contains some additional violence. But he's not sure.

Then there's the workprint, sometimes called the “New Art,” for which there is no negative. This version surprised fans when it was shown at what de Lauzirika remembers as the Cineplex Odeon Fairfax 70mm Film Festival. He ascribes the cut to Scott and Rawlings, and he says it just happened to be the 70mm version that Warner's archivist Michael Eric pulled out of the vaults for the festival. The entire fifth and sixth reels of the film have temp music (from The Planet of the Apes, Humanoids from the Deep, The Hand, and others) because it was the test-screening cut, and they didn't have all of Vangelis' score in yet, de Lauzirika says. There's no voiceover except at the very end.

Then, in 1992, came the Director's Cut, known for, among other things, having cut Deckard's (Harrison Ford) narration. However, according to de Lauzirika, this didn't turn out to be Scott's definitive version, and was rather done internally at Warner Bros. while Scott was busy finishing up Thelma and Louise and prepping 1492.

All four of these versions were deemed worthwhile to bump up to HD for release, according to Kurt Galvao, director of feature postproduction assets and technology at Warner Bros. The team checked the tracks, did color correction, created 3D masters of the three negatives — for the 1982 original and international and the 1992 director's cut. “Then we had the New Art [or workprint] version. That one's a 70mm print, and it's the only print in the world that exists, and there's no negative behind it. We scanned that — knowing that it's a print and it's fading, but being that it's one of a kind, we thought we would do as best we could with that and create it in HD as well,” Galvao says.

All of this was occurring as the fifth version — Scott's final cut — was painstakingly assembled from original elements, including the original 65mm negative. De Lauzirika has been working on it over a seven-year period. “And this time, Ridley approved every single thing that went into it — every single cut, every single effect,” he says.

“We're right back to square one,” Galvao says of The Final Cut elements. “We scanned the cut negative, plus the negatives we dug out of vaults in England, here at Warner Bros., and [co-executive producer] Jerry Perenchio's vault as well. We went through and viewed every frame of every roll that we could find.”

 “Honestly, I got to go through 977 boxes and cans of mag, IP, INs, 65mm visual effects comps, 35mm original dailies … everything ever printed,” de Lauzirika says. “I saw amazing, amazing material — much of which we've been able to pull and put on the DVD in some form, even if it didn't make it into The Final Cut.

“I think The Final Cut is the best version of them all. The picture and sound on it are just astounding. We really put a lot of work into the restoration, and we transferred the actual original neg at 4K, and it just looks stunning. Even more stunning are the visual effects, which were originally 65mm elements, then scanned at 8K. It looks like 3D. It's so sharp, with all these details that I'd never seen before.”

According to Galvao, the assembly and restoration for The Final Cut included some reworking of the original effects — tightening some mattes, doing some wire removal, etc.

De Lauzirika and his team worked with a variety of original elements. “It was either optical or mag or whatever they had in the vaults,” he says. “We also had on mag original ADR sessions and various visual effects, and very interesting audio enhancements that we were able to pull.”

De Lauzirika was never able to find the original production sound or any of the audio. Fortunately, there were still archival 6-tracks, from which raw material could be used to fill in the gaps that had been caused by edits, trims, or moved voiceovers. “Per Hallberg and Karen Baker and the Warner sound team did a really great job in piecing it together,” de Lauzirika says. “Now we have a coherent, full-blown, 6-track, 5.1 mix for the DVD and for the theatrical release.”

Technicolor handled much of the new restoration of Blade Runner. Working from 4K scans from the studio, Technicolor provided a new DI color-grade performed between its new Stage 6, Culver City, Calif., facility on the Sony lot while the render and other restoration services were performed at TDI in Burbank, Calif. Jill Bogdanowicz was the lead digital colorist, with some support from Stephen Nakamura. Thom Polizzi led the Technicolor team, while Tom Burton handled extensive restoration services such as dust busting and scratch removal, as well as a few visual effects shots. The Stage 6 facility conformed the definitive cut with the new VFX provided by Imageworks, etc. Scott oversaw the color-grading sessions at the Stage 6 facility. The color-grading was performed on one of the company's Da Vinci Resolves. Film-out was carried out at TDI on the Arrilasers.

 De Lauzirika's team included four special effects houses: Sony Pictures Imageworks, Illusion Arts, Lola Visual Effects, and The Orphanage. Imageworks did quite a bit of work, primarily the Zhora sequence, including fixing the shot in which an obvious stunt double runs through glass in a bad wig (a greenscreen shoot with the original actor Joanna Cassidy allowed Sony to seamlessly weave her in to every shot). “[Sony] also did little tweaks, like the first time we see Batty in the film,” de Lauzirika says. “Originally, it was two stolen shots from later in the film, which made no sense.”

Illusion Arts handled a lot of the matte painting work and a lot of the landscapes and cityscapes. “There's a shot at the end of the film where Batty dies and Deckard releases a dove up into the sky,” de Lauzirika says. “It always went from this dark, gritty, rainy Blade Runner to clear blue sky, with aluminum, corrugated buildings and silver sci-fi tubes, which look nothing like Blade Runner — but that's because they were rushed, out of money. They shot it during postproduction at the last minute. We've now gone in with Ridley and replaced that original dove into a much more appropriately dystopian Blade Runner background.”

Lola Visual Effects did a lot of little tweaks, finesses, and wire removals. “They've been kind of our safety net throughout,” de Lauzirika says. “They picked up a lot of things that just weren't getting covered in some of the other assignments. And then there was The Orphanage, which started the project doing wire removals and little continuity tweaks as well.”

Remember, in 1981 there was no CGI, and all the special effects of the flying vehicles over the apocalyptic wilderness of Los Angeles were done in-camera. “There was some optical printing, obviously, but there were a lot of multiple passes on visual effects shots,” de Lauzirika says. In the opening shots, the famous Hades landscape with the fireballs on the refinery towers took 17 in-camera passes. “They'd push in, rewind it, pull back, to do each fireball element, each interactive glow of the fireball, each spinner that was flying over, each lens flare,” de Lauzirika says.

 “There's actually a funny story about that,” he continues, recalling the frequent earthquakes of 1981 Los Angeles. “They would set up a seismograph to the camera, then they would run the shot overnight, and if they came in the next morning and saw a spike on the seismograph, they'd kill the shot because they'd know there'd be a bump in it and the whole shot would be ruined. Back then, the slightest little thing was like a bunch of dominoes falling.”

“The Final Cut is sort of like the best of all previous cuts, with quite a bit of new material in it,” de Lauzirika sums up. “No voiceover at all, no happy ending at all. It has a true unicorn dream of Deckard's that was not seen in the '92 cut. The '92 cut was an outtake from the unicorn scene shot for Blade Runner but edited differently, because they just didn't have the materials back then. We have them now. During our restoration project, we tracked down the original cut of the unicorn scene. We went to the original negative and restored it, so now it appears as it was always intended to appear.”

The DVD releases will also contain de Lauzirika's documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner, featuring 80 in-depth interviews with cast, crew, filmmakers, and critics, as well as archival footage. De Lauzirika claims the documentary could have run longer than its three-and-a-half hours, and for Blade Runner fans, it's a must. “Even if you read something like Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner, which is considered the definitive making-of book, there are still things you have no idea existed before now,” he says.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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grand theft sparrow

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Reply #34 on: October 07, 2007, 04:05:19 PM
I saw this at the Ziegfeld Friday night.  I've seen the theatrical cut a bunch of times and the 92 "director's cut" a few times as well, including once on the big screen.  The Final Cut is THE definitive version of Blade Runner.  If you're a fan of the movie and you're in NYC or LA, go see it on the big screen. 

This isn't a Star Wars situation in which the new effects take you out of the movie because you know that A) they weren't there before; and B) they were made to stand out and distract you.  This is exactly what a restoration/FX enhancement is supposed to do, restore and enhance and that's it.  They took great care to not only make the film look as sharp and clean as possible (without losing its dirty, grimy feel) but they also made the effects look as close to the original images as possible.  This is still the Blade Runner we know and love; the only real difference, besides a few added shots here and there, is that it makes you feel like you were watching the older versions through a slightly frosted window.


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Reply #35 on: October 24, 2007, 08:23:04 PM
A limited theatrical release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut is expanding to select markets around the country, and some of the screenings are expected to be in 2K resolution digital projection where available. Here's a list of dates and locations (look for more updates on the film's official website):

10/26 - Seattle (Cinerama, Seattle - 35mm), Washington D.C. (Uptown, D.C. - 35mm), Portland (Cinema 21, Portland - 35mm), Salt Lake (Gateway Megaplex, SLC - Digital)

11/2 - Chicago (Music Box, Chicago - 35mm), Santa Barbara (Arlington, Santa Barbara - Digital), Baltimore (Landmark Harbor East, Baltimore - Digital)

11/9 - Boston (Coolidge Corner, Brookline - 35mm)

11/16 - Detroit (Main Art, Detroit - 35mm)

11/18 - Austin (Paramount, Austin - 35mm)

11/30 - San Francisco (Embarcadero, San Francisco - 35mm), Dallas (The Inwood, Dallas - 35mm), San Diego (Ken, San Diego - 35mm), Minneapolis (Uptown, Minneapolis - 35mm)

12/7 - Denver (The Landmark @ Greenwood Village - Digital), Philadelphia (The Ritz 5, Philadelphia - 35mm)

12/25 - Boston (The Brattle, Cambridge - 35mm)

1/2/08 - Austin (The Paramount, Austin - 35mm)

1/4/08 - Nashville (The Belcourt, Nashville - 35mm)

1/18/08 - Durham (Carolina, Durham - 35mm)

2/1/08 - Columbus (Drexel Gateway, Columbus - 35mm)

2/15/08 - San Francisco (Castro, San Francisco - 35mm)

2/29/08 - Sacramento (Crest, Sacramento - 35mm)

Yes, we know... Austin is listed twice. Not sure why - this is what Warner gave us. If you're a fan of Blade Runner, we definitely recommend seeing The Final Cut on the big screen before it arrives on disc on 12/18.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #36 on: October 24, 2007, 09:05:13 PM
Damnit, no love for Houston. Hopefully it gets added later.


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Reply #37 on: December 07, 2007, 03:36:15 PM
Sound and Vision magazine has a cool new feature story up on the restoration work involved in creating Blade Runner: The Final Cut, which streets on all three formats on 12/18:

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #38 on: December 07, 2007, 03:56:57 PM
Good read! Anticipating December 18th :)


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Reply #39 on: December 08, 2007, 06:28:57 PM
Sweet set pics

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Reply #40 on: December 09, 2007, 05:59:14 PM

Damn, amazon.co.uk is giving out the soundtrack with the film.



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Reply #41 on: December 10, 2007, 06:58:01 PM
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #42 on: December 12, 2007, 08:32:26 AM
...on which is printed a signed letter from Ridley Scott (explaining how and why The Final Cut was created)

I hope someone posts a scan of this letter (since I'll be going for the 5-disc BR).


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Reply #43 on: December 22, 2007, 11:05:14 PM
I got the 5 disc set as an early Christmas gift.
It's really great.
I think I had only seen the Director's Cut because I cringed when I heard the dull Ford narration in the Theatrical Cut.

One frustrating thing - though there is a good amount of deleted/alternate scenes, you still see more shots in the documentary that are not included with said delete/alternate scenes.
I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.


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Reply #44 on: December 24, 2007, 02:55:13 PM
Got it today. Already got my vote for Xixax Best DVD Award.

When you open it, it looks like this:

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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