Thursday, February 21, 2008

Best DVD Release, 2007

Blade Runner: The Final Cut- Four-Disc Collectors' Edition [Warner] (24 points/6 votes)

“Most classic films have one definitive edition for their fans to savor, but Blade Runner is a special case. From the initial test screenings to the 1982 theatrical release until now, Blade Runner fans have been challenged and perplexed by a number of different versions of Ridley Scott's sci-fi noir. But a comprehensive collection seemed no more a reality than protagonist Rick Deckard's vision of a galloping unicorn- a comprehensive set of the film's myriad incarnations eluding us.

“That is, until Warner Brothers released The Final Cut, the film's final destination after two and a half decades. Put together by Scott himself without studio interference, Blade Runner purists can now see the film as was originally intended by the helmer. But while that alone was cause for celebration, Warner Brothers also released a four-disc "Collector's Edition" DVD set, a virtual treasure trove of Blade Runner enlightenment. There's the usual bonus features one would expect from an exceptional DVD set, such as screen tests, trailers, and three commentary tracks featuring Scott, co-screenwriters Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, and producer Michael Deeley, to name a few.

“But fans will be pleased to see a plethora of featurettes, examining the development of the poster (featuring the late John Alvin), the film’s enduring impact and fan base, comparisons with Philip K. Dick's novel, and perhaps most interestingly, Deckard’s humanity (despite what Ridley Scott says, the debate isn’t over). Not to be missed is Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner, an inception-to-present documentary of the film's production that at 214 minutes leaves no stone unturned. And it dishes out the goods, from what could have been (an off-world mass grave for replicants) to how it was cast (Ridley Scott pushed for Sean Young despite objections) to Roy Batty’s beautiful dying monologue (Rutger Hauer improvised the best part).

“Amidst all the extras it's possible to overlook the film itself; not only is The Final Cut present, but three other versions as well: the 1982 domestic release, the 1982 international release, and the 1992 Director's Cut. Each of these looks and sounds jaw-droppingly gorgeous. And for those unsure of the difference between the versions, there's a feature about that, too. If that’s not exhaustive enough for you, extra-devoted fans can plunk down some extra chinyen (Blade Runner money) for the “Ultimate Edition,” filled with goodies such as glossy pictures and a miniature spinner, as well as yet another cut of the film- the original workprint screened for test audiences- all in an imitation Voight-Kampf test case. But what should be sweetest of all to Blade Runner fans is the knowledge that without their devoted support and love of this beautiful, melancholy masterpiece, The Final Cut and its superb DVD release wouldn't exist, and the film would be lost, like tears in the rain. “ ~ James Frazier

Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition [Paramount] (22/5)
The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky [Abkco/Anchor Bay] (19/4)
Killer of Sheep [Milestone] (13/3)
Ace in the Hole [Criterion] (12/3)

Click here for complete results


Jason_alley2 said...

Whoops - totally forgot about "Twin Peaks" and "Killer Of Sheep" - I probably wouldn't have thought the "Twin Peaks" box set was eligible though, considering it's not a movie. It is, however, a DVD. Duh!

Kza said...

Heh, I voted for "Killer of Sheep", which I've never seen, but forgot about "Twin Peaks", which I own.

Steve C. said...

I shoulda voted for Killer of Sheep instead of Early Bergman. Bah.

James said...

I thought about voting for "Killer of Sheep" myself, but the not having seen it thing disqualified it for me.