MICHAEL BODEY DVD LET­TER­BOX

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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

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