From the 45th Annual New York Film Festival (Sept 28th through Oct 14th)
My eye has seen the glory of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Technically my eyes saw it... but I am thinking about just one of them since the film's opening shot is so dependent on that reflective eyeball. I'd forgotten that, so entranced have I been for decades by its widescreen cityscape with fiery explosions. But the macro eye closeup is a perfect statement for Blade Runner's opening, human but abstract... unconnected to a face.
When you finally get a chance to see this film in its clean and pristine form (i.e. not some grubby VHS print or DVD from ancient negatives) it's difficult to imagine how you lived with previous versions.
I've seen Blade Runner in theaters before (most memorably in the early 90s rerelease) but this experience was divine. My earlier fears about the rejiggering (click the label below for more Blade Runner fanaticism) proved mostly foolish, though I did catch a glimpse of what I believe was a new Joanna Cassidy shot. Otherwise it just felt entirely new through being completely refreshed. God bless chemicals or digital technology or Ridley Scott... or whatever / whomever is responsible.
Though I loved Blade Runner from the start I've always been a little surprised (pleasantly so I should add) that it's developed such a rabid fan base. For, narratively speaking, it's really unsatisfying as typical movie thrills go. The hero is decidedly unheroic. You are not eager to see the villains get theirs. The action sequences end quickly. The big finish is quiet rather than explosive. This 1982 classic is almost anti dramatic yet it's completely absorbing, hypnotic and resonant.
In 2007 it's a time travelling mindf*** to see a movie so clearly and heavenly 80s looking like it just came from the lab. Blade Runner is that rare thing, a piece of art that has definitely aged but is none the worse for having done so. It's not "aged" in the typical derogatory sense of the word. It's only older.
I'm miffed that many of you won't be able to see this in theaters where the über influential imagery and lush immersive soundscapes really make it an experience rather than just a movie. It will have a very limited rerelease before it hits stores. The upcoming DVD release will include all previous versions of the film and will cost a measly $78. That's OK. Starving artists like myself don't need earthly --or in this case offworldly-- possessions (sniffle).