By Marty Mulrooney
Twenty-five years in its arrival and as many feet high, it stared at me through the darkness, a large, unblinking eye. Reflected in its depths was a whole cityscape; a futuristic Los Angeles, terrifying in its bleakness, plumes of fire rising from stacks up towards the heavens.
So there I was, with the biggest grin on my face, watching this eye. I wasn’t afraid; I had seen it before. But never so clear, or so…BIG. Admittedly, to catch the film Blade Runner during its first big screen run in 1982, I would have to build a time machine: I hadn’t been born yet. Seeing it here now, looking brand new, felt like a revelation.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut, directed by Ridley Scott. Another version you ask? Well yes, it is the same film that has been released in different forms over the years…but it is also so much more. If you see one film this December 2007, don’t give in to the new films that actually offer nothing new at all. See a film that is 25 years old, and has stood the test of time amazingly well.
The new transfer is stunning: it could have been filmed yesterday. The traditional effects put modern CGI to shame. The new Final Cut presents the film in its most clear and effective way yet, with careful new editing omitting any mistakes and clarifying the storytelling to perfection. The newly mixed soundtrack will fool you into searching for an orchestra pit at the end.
To give some context: I went on the first night to see the re-release of Blade Runner. The place was packed. Nobody talked: everyone just sat in appreciation and awe. Old fans felt overwhelmed and new fans were born.
A few days later, I went on opening night to see the new offering from the same director, American Gangster. The cinema was half full, several people left before it was over and a small gang of yobs decorated the air with popcorn as if it were confetti at a wedding…or a funeral.
For readers who have not seen Blade Runner before, I have purposely left the details of the film, specifically the plot summary, out of this article. This film truly benefits just being watched cold turkey, with no preconceptions.
Films like this come around once in a lifetime. To come around again twenty-five years later is an opportunity not to be missed: this is not only a sci-fi classic; it is cinema at its most innovative, effective and thought provoking. Wholeheartedly recommended.
(This was written upon the film’s re-release in cinemas in December 2007. Blade Runner: The Final Cut is also now available on DVD and Blu-ray Disk, and comes highly recommended by Alternative Magazine Online.)
UPDATE: If you enjoyed this article, then you will probably love our interview with sci-fi director Duncan Jones! (Son of David Bowie and director of Moon.) Check it out here!