Blade Runner Multiple Versions, Multiple Posts?
September 23, 2014 2:20 PM - Subscribe

I just watched the "Final Cut" of Blade Runner. There are five versions of Blade Runner, but IMDB only acknowledges a single version (the original US release). Some of the versions differ fairly radically so I am concerned about making a general Blade Runner post.

I was curious how you all felt about posts about specific versions (I'm particularly interested in the director's cut and the final cut) or if you all just want an all out Blade Runner post. My main concern is with so many different versions, one post could easily get confusing and messy.

(Incidentally the Final Cut is now free on Amazon Prime.)
posted by miss-lapin (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looking at that wiki page, you can narrow it down to three - Original US release, director's cut, and final cut. The others don't seem like they would be readily available, and I think the original US release is pretty hard to come by too.

That leaves director's and final cuts - the primary difference there is some extra violence and an expanded unicorn dream sequence. Both nice to have, but probably won't make a huge difference to the discussion.

So I would just make one post and let people discuss whatever version they have seen. Plus that opens up discussion about how the various versions compare, which could be interesting.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:36 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Didn't the versions have very different endings? If you're a fan this is a big deal I would think.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:33 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

(Don't have a particular opinion one way or the other - I happen to like the flat, dumb delivery of the voiceover narration Harrison Ford intentionally did - hoping they wouldn't use it - but I know I'm in a minority here. It makes it more of a hardboiled detective movie, but I'll save it for the thread proper... :))
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:34 PM on September 23, 2014

Need a video diff. I've seen it more than once and have not noticed anything that jumped out as being significant.
posted by sammyo at 4:31 PM on September 23, 2014

The wikipedia link explains the major differences between each version. The major differences are between the US original theatrical release and the director's cut, and the director's cut. The endings are mainly the difference but also the voice over (Us original version) change the movie in very dramatic ways. I'm not an insane fan but I've seen three of the five versions and yes they are different in ways that I noticed with even years between viewings.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:53 PM on September 23, 2014

Okay so this was bugging me so here's some more information from Wikipedia about the Director's Cut differences:
Warners hired Arick, who was already doing consultation work for them, to head the project with Scott. He started by spending several months in London with Les Healey, who had been the assistant editor on Blade Runner, attempting to compile a list of the changes that Scott wanted made to the film. He also received a number of suggestions/directions directly from the director himself. Three major changes were made to the film:
  • The removal of Deckard's 13 explanatory voice-overs.
  • The insertion of a dream sequence of a unicorn running through a forest. (The original sequence of the dream was not found in a print of sufficient quality; the original scene shows Deckard intercut with the running unicorn. Arick was thus forced to use a different print that shows only the unicorn running, without any intercutting to Deckard.) The unicorn scene suggests a completely different ending to the film: Gaff's origami unicorn means that Deckard's dreams are known to him, implying that Deckard's memories are artificial, and therefore he would be a replicant of the same generation as Rachael.
  • The removal of the studio-imposed "happy ending", including some associated visuals which had originally run under the film's end-credits. This made the film end ambiguously when the elevator doors closed.
(Interesting side-note: "In 2000, Harrison Ford gave his view on the Director’s Cut of the film saying, although he thought it "spectacular," it didn’t "move him at all." He gave a brief reason: "They haven't put anything in, so it's still an exercise in design."[12]")

Having thought about it, my vote is "Director's Cut" (1992, 116 minutes).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:04 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

A post per version would fragment discussion way too much.

I would prefer one post, with the below-the-fold noting the multiple cuts and the (major) differences between them -- that way commenters can choose to either discuss general themes or dig down into specific differences between cuts.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:12 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think we can handle it in one post. This is such a well-known breakdown as far as what was done and what was intended by what was done that it shouldn't leave much mystery.

Most fans strongly prefer the Director's Cut, although some (like me) have fewer objections to the voiceovers and new ones to the changes that made Deckard's nature more explicit. I don't think the "happy ending" ruins the film but the elevator closing is such a perfect way to end the narrative that it's to be preferred.

I own the DVD box set that includes all the versions -- five, I believe, without checking, but there might have been one more that was from a work print or something like that. So obviously I'm a huge fan -- but I think arguing over versions like this is pretty silly. If you can, I suggest looking up contemporary reviews -- Pauline Kael's is particularly evocative, although some fans think she actually didn't like it. She did, however, seem to instantly recognize how influential it would be.
posted by dhartung at 12:56 AM on September 24, 2014

I don't think we're arguing so much as discussing.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:24 AM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I definitely think the differences are minor enough for one post to work.

When were you thinking of posting this? I have the film on Blu-ray so I could go back and watch again if I have time.
posted by selfnoise at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2014

The big difference is from the original release, which is pretty key. I was going to post it some time over the weekend, maybe friday, but I can hold off if people want to rewatch first.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:32 PM on September 24, 2014

I didn't really mean we were arguing here, just that the differences are, IMO, not as big a deal as all that in the long run.
posted by dhartung at 1:30 AM on September 26, 2014

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