MICHAEL BODEY DVD LETTERBOX
WHEN is too much DVD not enough? When you’re releasing a five- disc collector’s edition of arguably the greatest science fiction film, Blade Runner .
I’ve expressed my lukewarm interest in director’s cuts previously and, to some extent, another version of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece is hardly essential, given he’s had a crack at two previous director’s cuts. But this version has been 10 years in the making and, as Scott says, ‘‘ Out of all the versions of Blade Runner , this is my favourite.’’ And he seems a discerning type.
Yes, all the versions are contained in the new Collector’s Edition and Ultimate Collector’s Edition: the 1982 theatrical and international versions; the 1992 director’s cut; and a workprint version.
Far be it from me to log the differences between each version; indeed, I can’t imagine getting through all five versions of the film. What I can say, though, is that Scott’s new version of the film is extraordinarily good, both in content and delivery. The archaic, Tron - type computer graphics featured throughout the film are quaint when presented with a lustre from its fantastic restoration and remaster. Scott’s vision of a dark, wet future remains prescient and incredibly well- rendered given its origins in the early 1980s.
Rutger Hauer, who played Roy Batty, was in Australia recently to promote the DVD. As he puts it, the film ‘‘ was ahead of its time’’.
‘‘ It’s great to see it’s around and we’re celebrating it,’’ he says. ‘‘ It’s almost like classical music, this version. This movie is classic and beautiful and it doesn’t die on you, that’s what’s weird. It’s a very special one, that’s for sure.’’
And it is the one Hauer is forever asked about, despite having more than 100 other performances to his name. Not that he’s bothered by that. The Dutchman says the film restored his faith in American filmmaking.
On his first US film, Nighthawks , the director was booted off and both his mother and best friend died during the filming.
‘‘ My belief in American movie making had been shattered,’’ he says. Blade Runner was his third US film and, ‘‘ I had so much fun I could hardly believe it was possible, so it sort of evened out. I was also excited about it because there were few people who really seemed to get it: everybody was sort of on the outside, but I can tell you I was on the inside, I had it,’’ Hauer admits.
‘‘ To have such a strong feeling, hoping that it would be true, and then having the audience carry it for so long — an audience and a lot of luck, of course — but to see it stay out there, I thought that was wonderful.’’
Hauer’s catalogue of performances is an occasionally mystifying one but ever growing. He agrees the DVD format has given his career a second life. ‘‘ Definitely, I’m here because of TV and DVD and all the movies that I did that keep running,’’ he says. ‘‘ A lot of my movies have not been commercial successes but a lot of them have been very interesting and have a nice entertainment quality to them.’’
But one film stands above them all. Hauer believes the final version of Blade Runner
* * * DISC WATCH: Damages ( Sony, M, $ 59.99) One of the strongest US dramas of 2007 has rightly been recognised in the Golden Globe nominations. The Nine Network’s scheduling of it here was initially confusing, so for those who mistakenly dropped off the series, this very cinematic New York thriller is bound to please. ■ bodeym@ theaustralian. com. au