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Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Film director Ridley Scott will be releasing Blade Runner: The Final Cut in US cinemas this week and on a 5 disc DVD set in December. Fred Kaplan in The New York Times praised the re-edited film with remastered special effects as "something different: darker, bleaker, more beautifully immersive."

Blade Runner: The Final Cut trailer

I first heard of Scott's film and Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? in a 1983 Dick obituary for the Australian science magazine Omega, similar to the US magazine Omni from the same period. The faded VHS copy of Blade Runner at the local video-store never lived up to the hype. I didn't experience the full visual impact of Scott's film until I was an undergraduate in La Trobe University's cinema studies program in the mid-1990s which screened a laserdisc version of the original cut and the 1992 director's cut. References to Blade Runner, Dick and his VALIS experience would pop up in editorial conversations for 21C Magazine and Disinformation throughout the mid-to-late 1990s.

As Scott acknowledges, Blade Runner transplanted Hong Kong's seedy underworld into New York's urban sprawl. In doing so, Scott foresaw the contemporary anxieties about megacities and shadow globalisation. Blade Runner's tech-noir imagery would also influence theorists from Erik Davis and Mark Dery to Mark Davis' City of Quartz (Verso Books, New York, 1991) and its school of radical urban theory.

Kaplan's article talks about the post-production battles around Blade Runner's original release and the legal negotiations for the film's 25th anniversary. Scott disputes several of the anecdotes in Paul Sammon's Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner (Harper, New York, 1996) and similar books. Scott's Blade Runner: The Final Cut also follows another Digital Hollywood trend: an archival-like obsession with DVD extras such as different production versions, commentaries and documentaries.

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