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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Thriller > Artificial Intelligence > Robots > Replicants > Mystery > Murder > Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K (1982/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-rays + DVD/four disc set)

Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K (1982/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-rays + DVD/four disc set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A 1080p Picture: A- Sound: A-/B+ Extras: B Final Cut/Film: A-

After being attacked politically, exploited and misunderstood as a result, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) still amazes, impresses and influences filmmakers, viewers and much more while being more accurate in its predictions of a dystopian future than anyone would have liked to have had when it arrived in the early years of a supposed 'bright new day in America' that was a big hoax. Several years ago, Scott got to finish his Final Cut from all the saved extra film footage, plus original camera materials in 35mm and 65mm film in 2007. We reviewed the 5-disc set that resulted and was also part of a now highly-collectible box set in no less than two formats (a third DVD set was also issued) at this link...


The upcoming sequel imagines that Harrison Ford's Deckard is still alive, replicant or not, he has not expired, which could still fit most interpretations of the film people have and all endings unless one surmises the final point is the shortness of life makes it precious and priceless no matter what form of life you are and you expect he does not have long to live. He apparently has outlived Sean Young's Rachel, but more on that when it arrives on 4K Blu-ray.

The original 1982 film was criticized at the time for being 'too dark' and that had some validity, but that also came from bad projection, bad video copies, bad film copies and some expecting everything to be too well lit like bad TV. Now that the arrival of digital post David Fincher's Se7en has offered presentations so dark that Blade Runner looks like Wizard Of Oz, more people will finally realize what we fans of the film have know all along: the film has a superior use of color even against the darkness it brings with it.

I stick by everything I've said about the film in the previous review and elsewhere, but recent political events prove it a work of art, that many still have not caught up with it or understood it and too many never will. Its re-release timing, along with its sequel hitting screens soon, could not be better.

Thus, that leaves me moving onto the technical performance (for now) of the film here, easily one of the best back catalog and 4K titles on the market to date.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10-Bit color; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition 2.35 X 1 image is as stunning as expected, color accurate throughout, stable, rich, warm, deep, with jet blacks, ivory white, wide-ranging reds and offering clarity the older 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the regular Blu-ray could not and cannot deliver, a disc also included here. I wish the late great Director of Photography Jordan Cronenweth, A.S.C., was around to see this looking as amazing as the best 35mm prints and 70mm blow-ups of the film. Despite all of its imitators (especially lately in the few filmmakers smart enough to even try and imitate it) over the years, the film is a classic and one of the reasons is it has a look like no other film and one that will never be totally duplicated again as it should be. In this form, the film is a must-see, especially in 4K, which delivers the film in its most undeniable form and impact.

Sonically for 4K, the film has been further upgraded for Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless sound, whereas the regular 1080p Blu-ray still offers a really fine Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, but the Atmos opes up the film just that little bit more showing how creative and even innovative the sound design was and it has an even more accurate soundfield. Since the Blu-ray was originally issued, the Vangelis music score was issued in a limited edition, audio-only, ultra high definition Super Audio CD edition from Audio Fidelity, so the Atmos upgrade was a good move, even if those SA-CD tracks were not used for any of the discs here. Not bad for a film originally a Dolby 70mm 4.1 magnetic stereo surround release in its best theatrical presentations. It also looks like the film was meant to be the fifth Warner release in their MegaSound bass format, but the format was cancelled as .1 LFE low bass sound effects became the norm in the industry.

Extras include Digital Copy of the film, while the 4K disc includes the Final Cut trailer in full 4K, plus the three older audio commentary tracks that are also on the 1080p regular Blu-ray, one of the three discs repeated here from the previous 2007 multi-disc set we reviewed at the link above. That 1080p disc was the #1 disc from the original set, while Disc #3 from that set becomes #3 here with three cuts more cuts of the film in its International Version, U.S. Theatrical Version (both from 1982) & 1992 Director's Cut that eliminates the infamous Ford/Deckard voice-overs and was the cut Warner issued after Criterion made the film an upscale home video hit. The two Blu-rays also offer these same three audio commentary tracks on the 4K disc, plus...

The Electric Dreamer: Remembering Phillip K. Dick

Sacrificial Sheep: The Novels vs. The Film

Phillip K. Dick: The Blade Runner Interviews

Sign of the Times: Graphic Design

Fashion Forward: Wardrobe & Styling

Screen Tests: Rachael and Pris

The Light that Burns: Remembering Jordan Cronenweth

Deleted & Alternate Scenes

1982 Promotional Featurettes

Trailers and TV Spots

Promoting Dystopia: Rendering the Poster Art

Deck-a-Rep: The True Nature of Rick Deckard

Nexus Generations: Fans and Filmmakers

[NOTE: We were told we have a different set of discs by accident since we posted this ands never got the official content list, et al, so some of this might not be accurate. We'll updatewhen we get the official update...]

We do sadly lose the two Blu-rays from the older set that included the interesting Workprint version and the other a bunch of extras, so the fourth disc here that is a DVD, has trailers for 4 other releases from years ago, but includes the Dangerous Days documentary that producer of the restoration Charles de Lauzirika directed among the many he was making at the time. It was shot in HD of the time like all the studio featurettes were, so why is it not on Blu-ray here? Did they lose the HD master? Is that master somehow degraded? Are they mad at de Lauzirika for some unknown reason? Does the HD just not look that good today and needed to much work to fix it?

As interesting and melodramatic as those possibilities are, I would guess it is so anyone without a 4K set-up or (gasp...) even Blu-ray set-up (there are more people out there without players than you might think!) might get the set by accident, only have a DVD player (sad) and like or love the film. They might even just be curious about the film. So what can they watch? Only this featurette, which is very thorough and well done. Thus, they might just be inspired enough to go get a 4K or Blu-ray player and set up to enjoy the film the way it is meant to be seen and is so extremely well presented here.

Lucky for them, they'll not only be not disappointed, they'll be amazed and stunned because Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K is not only one of the best 4K titles now on the market, it is one of the best demo titles on home video in any format and is a must-own for all serious motion picture fans. Get it!!!

You can also read about the sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017) in its own 4K set at this link...


- Nicholas Sheffo


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