Friday, January 04, 2008

How I Spent Christmas Vacation

I guess EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER WANNA KNOW about Blade Runner is in the new boxed set.

I learned a lot of it, though I have a few featurettes yet to view.

Dangerous holidays
It took me a while to finish "Dangerous Days," the making-of documentary on the boxed edition of Blade Runner.

It's about 3 1/2 hours long, but it's a fascinating look into the creative processes that translated the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? into the classic science fiction movie.

You go from the inception to the post-release and long-term phenomenon. Lots of outtakes and behind the scenes footage are included, even an interview with the artist who created the neon elements for the set.

The early portions of the documentary, detailing the first drafts and early story boards of a screenplay first called "Dangerous Days" are, to me, the most fascinating with both writers Hampton Fancher and David Peoples supplying insight.

The Results - Movies included
I watched the set's new director's cut, illustrating the results of the angst and hardship portrayed in the making-of. The new cut, while not drastically different from the earlier director's cut, fixes things I'd never noticed were broken. I've decided I do like the final cut and its more abrupt ending better than the theatrical release from 1982 with its voiceover and hopeful conclusion, though thankfully it's nice to have that version to review.

I didn't get to see the movie until the fall of '82 because Central Louisiana theaters didn't run the movie that summer. When I finally got to see it, the opening crawl was screwed up though eventually they got that fixed so that the immersion into the Blade Runner world was possible. I liked it then but wasn't blown away as some people were.

In retrospect it's possible to clear my earlier blindness and appreciate better just how good a film it is and how unique. It's real science fiction as it rarely makes it to the screen.

I'm glad I had a couple of days to relax with the boxed set with limited interruption.


Charles Gramlich said...

I liked Blade Runner when I first saw it but I probably wouldn't include it in my top ten favorite films of all time. I certainly would include it in the top ten of just SF.

Miladysa said...

It's a great film and unlike many improves with each viewing.

Lana Gramlich said...

My roommate in Toronto was a total Blade Runner nut (although that's mostly because he's a fan of Sean Young's nose--long story.) I sometimes enjoy the "making of" or "behind the scenes" extras on DVDs. It's neat to see how they did things, etc.
Rutger Hauer rocked in that movie!

Sphinx Ink said...

BLADE RUNNER is one of my all-time favorites--an absolutely cool and visionary movie, with layers of meaning. And the visuals were so far ahead of their time. They've been copied so much that newer viewers of the film probably can't appreciate how unique its whole look was when it was released.

Sidney said...

Definitely Top 10 SF, Charles, I agreed. I'd urge you to rent the director's cut, even the '92 version. There are a couple of tweaks that really make a difference.

I agree Miladysa and Sphinx, there's so much detail there are always new things to see, and yeah Lana Hauer is great. They say he contributed the "tears in the rain" portion of his speech in the commentary.

Clifford said...

Yeah, a good SF flick. One of the few true science fiction flicks. Last year I bought myself a projector to hook up to my computer so I could project films on the wall...a couple of friends came by and brought Dune, which I'd never seen, but had always intended. What a mess that film was...made me respect what they'd accomplished in Blade Runner all the more.

Sidney said...

That's a good idea. My computer is in my office so I have to sit in my office chair to watch anything online. I need to do something like that or move it to the den. Or get a wireless hub.

Erik Donald France said...

Excellent! Can't wait to see it. My brother got it for Christmas.
Was always a fan even of the "botched" original cut.

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