by Lee Hazell
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s hard-boiled, cyber-noir thriller that defined the way we would create our dystopian futures for the next three decades and beyond. A tour de force of cinematography where every frame was quite literally a masterpiece. The film has been known to audiences in at least five different ways. The Workprint, the U.S. Theatrical Cut, the International Cut, and the Director’s Cut.
Finally, in 2007 Warner Bros. released The Final Cut, which despite the so-called Director’s Cut, is the only version of the film that was assembled with Ridley Scott in complete control of the edit. It is the definitive version of the science fiction classic and the only one considered to be canon. This means that The Final Cut is the only version that the upcoming sequel, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival), will be based on.
When first conceptualising the idea of giving Blade Runner a sequel in 1999, Ridley Scott must have envisioned a director like Villeneuve would come along to take the reins. That’s why it’s taken almost two decades to reach the screen. You can’t hand Deckard’s universe over to any Jack, Dan or Sam. If you’ve seen his back catalogue, you will realise why Scott tasked him with bringing the sci-fi P.I. back to life. His sense of light and shadow show that he knows what it is to light film noir and his instinct for visual grandeur makes him perhaps the only director on the planet who could handle such a daunting task.
Such a particular choice for director, though, would be nothing without making sure you move forward with a perfect lead. Harrison Ford is one of our most beloved actors and no one short of greatness would be appropriate to take his place. Gosling is the most compelling leading man to come along in decades, and one of the only actors alive who could pull off Ford’s world-weary alienation with such a degree of disarming vulnerability.
The new 4K Ultra High Definition release of the original film reminds us why it is held in such reverence and why the sequel had to be treated with such care. Los Angeles in 2019 is the best-realised science fiction landscape in the medium’s history. It took the futuristic billboards of modern day New York and advanced them by fifty years, creating a backdrop that was at once recognisable and grounded in reality, but was also a thrilling look into the future of modern-day America.
The plot, involving the use of Replicants as slaves and Deckard’s quest to shut them down before they upset his superiors, touches upon many of humanity’s greatest, and toughest, questions. A hallmark of all the most important science fiction.
Blade Runner is one of the biggest sci-fi films of the 20th Century. Experience it as it was meant to be seen with the brand-new, 4K UHD resolution that renders some of the most stunning imagery ever committed to film with even more gorgeous detail.