Sci-fi movie fans will know all about the history of Blade Runner and how there have been several releases of the movie and much acrimony along the way. The Final Cut -- created for the 25th anniversary -- claims to be the final, definitive version, and it's out next Monday on HD DVD and Blu-ray.
And that's not just a studio claim, Sir Ridley Scott himself tells us in his lengthy intro to the film -- we're being sarcastic, the intro is 37 seconds long -- but he does say it's his favourite. We also learn that the whole movie has been through a 4K process and that this is the best-quality print we'll ever see of it. New special effects have been added, deleted scenes reinstated and the soundtrack has been remastered in 5.1-channel.
It's clear from what we've seen so far from the HD DVD version that the picture quality is amazing. The old special effects look good too, but nothing about the film has changed, it has the same grimy look as the original. The difference is it's now presented in.
In terms of extras, there's the aforementioned 37-second introduction by Scott, and three audio commentaries, one with the director himself, and two with various other members of the production team. Disc two, which is a regular DVD, and thus presented in standard definition, has a documentary called Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner. This documentary is much better than most of the extras you usually get on a DVD or hi-def disc -- it's well produced, interesting and feels like a worthwhile use of your time.
If you're a massive Blade Runner fan, you might want to forgo this release and get the US five-disc Complete Collector's Edition, which features all the previous versions of the movie -- the 1982 Theatrical Version, 1982 International Version and the 1992 Director's Cut. You also get more extras, including some audio interviews with Phillip K Dick. There's even a copy of the Blade Runner workprint, so you can see the film in an unfinished state and learn about the production process with commentaries and a documentary.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut costs £17.99 on both Blu-ray and HD DVD and is out on 3 December. If you're a Blade Runner fan, this is certainly your year. Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to dream of electric sheep. -Ian Morris