Bladerunner

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Posted November 9, 2007 in Film

Ridley Scott’s 7th and definitive cut of his futurist noir classic whizzes across screens this month before its December DVD release in a box set crammed with versions 1, 2, 3, and 6. (I know one uber-geek who plans to watch all five in one day with a stack of frozen pizzas.) Paradoxically, this cleaned-up digital print makes Scott’s crowded, misty, neon streetscape seem even murkier; fuzz I chalked up to old VHS tapes really is just production designer Lawrence G. Paull dumping ashtrays into the air. You can see every sweat droplet on viking heartthrob Rutger Hauer as his replicant tragic hero Roy Batty rails against the dying of the electrodes. And when Harrison Ford swills a well-deserved cocktail after a battering brawl with Leon (Brion James), the pillow lipped redneck replicant, for the first time I saw a ribbon of blood slide into his vodka. The grime aesthetic suits Phillip K. Dick’s vision of the future where even with robot slave technology, people still let the dishes pile up in the sink. Fifteen years later, Blade Runner’s predictions for Los Angeles 2019 are a fascinating mix of prescient and misdirected. Giant video billboards, check. Little Tokyo sprawled across LA, not so much (though it was a reasonable guess during the rise of Toyota, Sony, and sushi). Ford’s corny voiceover (a studio insistence) has long been deleted, but this reissue is the first to trim seconds off of the panoramas that held steady as his ex-assassin grudgingly rattled off narration like, “I quit because I’d had a belly-full of killing.” And when a bitter Roy gouges out his manufacturer’s eyes, the added gore intensifies the Oedipal pain. (Amy Nicholson)


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