Blade Runner: The Final Cut 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 220, October 2017

WSR Score5
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Warner Home Video
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Violence and brief nudity.
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Ridley Scott
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In Blade Runner, Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner who prowls the steel and microchip jungle of 21st Century Los Angeles in a disturbing vision of the future. Deckard's assignment is to stalk genetically made criminal replicates and wipe them out. Their crime: wanting to be human. Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (Tricia Spears)

Special features on the Blu-ray Disc include The Final Cut (2007) with an introduction by Director Ridley Scott; commentary by Scott; commentary by Executive Producer/Co-Screenwriter Hampton Fancher, Co-Screenwriter David Peoples, Producer Michael Deeley, and Production Executive Katherine Haber; commentary by Visual Futurist Syd Mean, Production Designer Lawrence G. Paull, Art Director David L. Snyder, and Special Photographic Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, and David Dryer; the 1982 U.S. Theatrical Cut, the 1982 International Theatrical Cut, and the 1992 Director's Cut of the film; the rare Workprint version of the film (HD 01:50:05) with an introduction by Scott and optional commentary by Future Noir Author Paul M. Sammon; a stills gallery; the making-of documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (SD 03:34:25); All Our Variant Futures: From Workprint To Final Cut (SD 28:33); and an Access featurette (SD 29:33).

The 2.40:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR 10 picture was digitally photographed on film with Panavision Panaflex Gold cameras in Panavision® and sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediate master format, and reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display. Last reviewed on Blu-ray Disc in Issue 171 (November 2012) as the 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition and previous to that in Issue 128 as the 25th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition on HD DVD, this new 4K Ultra Blu-ray Disc features Blade Runner: The Final Cut with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a transfer supervised by Director Ridley Scott. This latest version was assembled from multiple sources, including a high-resolution scan of the film's original camera negative as well as new effects originated and completed entirely in the digital domain. This latest version was sourced from the same 4K digital intermediate that was used as a source for the previous version. For this new 2160p version, Warner has returned to that 4K digital intermediate, with no further modifications other than the application of HDR encoding. The improvements are noticeable, from the opening aerial views of 2019 Los Angeles, especially with respect to the view of the Tyrell Building, with each window, level, and outcropping now sharply and crisply resolved. Throughout the film, the UHD's resolution reveals so much more detail in the stunning model work of the cityscape miniatures. The combination of 4K resolution and HDR encoding reveals numerous fine details that have never been revealed before. From facial features and hair to the intricate clothing (for example, the textured vertical striping on the bow tie worn by Dr. Tyrell during his meeting with Deckard, and the individual strands on Rachel's oversized fur coats), to the varied and complex object textures and star-studded sky details stand out vividly. At Sebastian's home, his family of odd genetically engineered toys, are seen more vividly throughout the frame. HDR is used effectively to intensify lighting effects in contrast to the darker environs. Blacks are deep and solid, and shadow delineation is mesmerizing. The black levels, as well as the shadow delineation, are key for this film, which has many dark scenes and should be viewed in a blackened room using a display with excellent native contrast performance to fully realize the picture's impressively dimensional look. Fleshtones are accurately presented throughout in various lighting conditions. The color palette is visually stunning. This is an exemplary 4K UHD HDR presentation, whose artistic cinematic experience is reference quality throughout and definitely a must own for serious home theatre enthusiasts. (Gary Reber)