First off, because it’s the most personally significant – BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT. BLADE RUNNER is my favorite film of all time. I don’t make movies like this, nor do I even aspire to on some levels, but this remains my favorite movie. The density, depth, intellect, and all the things that a movie should have – this has. I went HD-DVD in the high definition wars so that I could afford to see this movie in HD. I was content to wait for the end of the wars, but this single film pushed me over the edge. I was NOT going to be buying a 5 disc set twice. That’s too much money. One way or another, I wanted it in HD and I wanted to see it in HD. Last night this dream came true.
At work, my Amazon.com order ($27 including shipping) arrived with a 5 disc set, 5 versions of the movie on 3 HD-DVD’s and 2 more standard DVD’s filling over 9 hours of documentaries, behind the scenes, deleted scenes, and all the things a fan-boy like me could ever desire. One thing omitted was a UK famous documentary called “On the Edge of Blade Runner” which was the most comprehensive documentary and history of the movie made – never officially released in the United States for rights reasons – and missing interviews with star Harrison Ford – who both hates the movie, his performance, and director Ridley Scott. The key word in that sentence is “was”. The new, nearly 4 hour long documentary made for this DVD blows that UK one away. DANGEROUS DAYS combines outtake footage, rare 16mm promo footage, even video taped clips, and puts all of it together with newly made videos – including Harrison Ford, to air out some laundry of my Seminole 1982 favorite.
I haven’t even put in the other 3 versions of the movie or listened to a commentary track (of which there are many), or even the other extras disc. Last night was a religious experience of watching the movie in HD with surround sound and turning the phones off. I was struck by the beauty, depth and look in HD-DVD, but I was equally shocked by how similar the movie was to all prior versions. It wasn’t drastic changes, all very small, subtle ones. A few lines of dialogue were changed or added, some small shots inserted here and there, but overall it’s the same as the 1992 “director’s cut” which was not endorsed by the Director, Ridley Scott.
What I love in the movie is the cinematography, lighting, set design, and performances. Harrison plays an unlikable protagonist, and does so with range, unlike most of his characters. Rutger Hauer steals the entire movie away with an incredibly diverse, deep character with many lines improvised, but done so well. I like that the movie, like the best science fiction, presents complex ideas, and ideals, and lets the audience deal with them. The dialogue is always underrated because it doesn’t treat the viewer like an imbecile. The main concept relates to how man-made people, androids/Replicants, are “born” as adults, and can’t handle the complexities of emotions that come with the human form. They have a 4 year life span as a safety net when they inevitably go wacko, so to me the idea of thinking how well most 4 year olds deal with their emotions – translates to how these Replicants act on screen. Brilliant how they make me do some work to think about what I’m watching, but they don’t do it by cheap gimmicks or bad filmmaking technique – just old fashioned narrative.
I can’t wait to finish watching what else is on here. Best $27 ever spent on this one. $27 for probably 20 hours of content – a definite bargain.
IMAX – I AM LEGEND/DARK KNIGHT IMAX TRAILER
Now I saw someone’s cell phone bootleg of the new BATMAN BEGINS 2 – THE DARK KNIGHT trailer online. Now this was not even truly a “trailer”, as that one officially came out Sunday in HD online and it was okay, didn’t do much for me. I’m not a huge Batman (or even DC Comics) fan. I like the movies, but don’t love them. I watch them, might rent, but never on the “must own” list.
I saw BATMAN BEGINS, liked it, but didn’t convert me to a Batman fan. I feel blasé about the new movie enough to watch the trailers, which for movies I’m looking forward to – I tend to try to avoid any reviews, spoiler news, trailers, etc. So for this, I watched because I’m not that excited and had 6 minutes to kill. The IMAX only trailer, which was shot in IMAX no less, even in poor quality blew me away.
When it came time to see I AM LEGEND, I paid the almost double admission price to see it in IMAX, not even to see that movie in IMAX – but this Batman trailer. That alone was worth $12. It was amazing, not only the picture quality, sound, whatever – the whole scene from the upcoming Batman movie – freakin’ SWWEEEEEEETTT. The music and scene were like a clip straight out of HEAT (1995, dir:Michael Mann). No hint of this being a comic-book movie. Even more so that BATMAN BEGINS, the concept being “realism”, they are taking this one even more into that arena. Even with an outrageous comic book villain like THE JOKER, they have a grounding in reality – no CGI, nothing too comic book-y, just straight on story. Wow.
Then I watched I AM LEGEND. Good movie, liked it, but what a mistake putting that trailer BEFORE the movie. I AM LEGEND is not a face paced movie, and I liked that. It wasn’t a balls to the walls action movie.
PETER JACKSON will be involved in THE HOBBIT movies. His plan to do 2 movies is a go, and he is officially and completely signed to EXECUTIVE PRODUCE the movies. Will this be a hands on or “in name only” Executive Producer job? Could it be like Spielberg ghost-directing POLTERGEIST and 100% controlling post production without the figurehead director? Or will it be Tim Burton “producing” BATMAN FOREVER, where the name was attached but he wasn’t there and there ain’t a fingerprint on the movie from him?
The plan is to break THE HOBBIT book into 2 movies by also adding a ton of prequel material for LORD OF THE RINGS onto it. There are chances to make this tie very well into LORD OF THE RINGS. In THE HOBBIT, the character of LEGOLAS does not appear, but he could easily be written into it as a cameo. His character’s father plays a major role, so adding him into the scenes into the movies make sense, plus there’d be better continuity than the books even had.
I hope PJ directs. Fingers crossed – PJ I hope you bring this home to the world that wants your magic back in 2010 and 2011.
Peter John Ross