25 March 2009 | Chip_douglas
This is it: the one cut. For now at least.
Hidden away on the fifth and final disc of the Blade Runner boxed set, paired with the never before released Workprint of the film is this little documentary detailing Charles De Lauzirika's work restoring and tweaking Blade Runner into the so-called 'Final Cut'. A project he started in 2001, was put on hold in '02, got another green light in '05 and was finally released in 2007.De Lauzirika, who produced and directed all the other documentaries in this set, takes center stage now and begins with counting off the previous 4 known versions of the film: US theatrical, International Theatrical, Directors cut (all on disc 3) and the work-print (disc 5). First of all the crew had to catalog all the original negatives of the film, which had been marked for destruction (aka 'to be junked' in 1988, but somehow managed to survive, just sitting there on pallets in a warehouse. That is to say, all the reels were still there, if not all the of the original sound recordings.
Original Blade Runner Special Effect supervisors David Dryer, Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich were brought in to add insight and give their blessing to the new alterations and tweaks that the Final Cut team was proposing. Which continuity problems were to be changed and which one were to be considered 'beloved mistakes' Three major alterations get special attention in this documentary. First and most famously, Joanna Cassidy was game enough to dress up in Zhora's skimpy outfit (the top half at least) in front of a green-screen, so new footage of her head could be placed over stunt woman Lee Pulfort. Even more far-fetched and geeky is the fact that Harrison Ford's son Ben was asked to be his father's lip-double (complete with a phony Ford scar) to make the make the scene of Deckard talking to Abdul Ben Hassan. The final pet peeve the team just had to fix was the iconic shot of the dove (you know, Roy Batty's soul) flying up into the sky. This is the one completely digital alteration to the film.
Clearly a labor of love for Charles and his collaborators, who are proud to describe themselves as geeks and super-fans. But where do you go from there, having completed your tribute to the film you love most in the whole of moviedom and got to contribute to the final, definitive (for as long as it takes) version. Only the future can tell.
8 out of 10