Blade Runner: The Final Cut

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I’m not fanboy enough to give you an exhaustive rundown of all the scenes Ridley Scott recut, reshot, rescored, and reshuffled to create this “ultimate” version of his 1982 scifi milestone. Rest assured, that list will be online within hours of the December 18 release of the much-anticipated 5-DVD set. But I can tell you that Blade Runner, the movie that defined the cyberpunk look long before William Gibson wrote the opening lines to Neuromancer, has never looked or worked better. I had the pleasure of seeing it on a big screen for the first time in hi-def digital projection at the Walter Reade Theater, and I can’t remember the last time a scene sent chills through me like Roy’s “C-Beams” speech.

Yes, the unicorn is still there, the ending is that of the 1992 director’s cut, and apparently, there’s new music by Vangelis. The sequence where Deckard takes down Zhora has been redone substantially, and the shot in which Roy lets the dove fly is definitely new. There may have been a few new CGI vehicles, too. But everything is done tastefully and subtly; nobody here shoots first who didn’t shoot first before, and those Atari billboards are still were they used to be.

The new cut confirms Blade Runner‘s status as a major achievement and the high water mark of Ridley Scott’s career. It’s also fun to see a younger Edward James Olmos as Gaff in a movie that his new show Battlestar Galactica owes so much to conceptually. The Final Cut will screen at the NYFF on September 29 and comes to the Ziegfield for one week starting October 5. Go if you can.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Ridley Scott, 1982/2007. *****