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Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10 from N/A votes
Release: 18 Dec 2007 /

Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner

Genre: Documentary
Director: Charles de Lauzirika,
Stars:
Synopsis: The definitive three-and-a-half hour documentary about the troubled creation and enduring legacy of the science fiction classic Blade Runner, culled from 80 interviews and hours of never-before-seen outtakes and lost footage.

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Critic Reviews


(reviewed as part of the Blu-Ray 2-disk set with Blade Runner - The Final Cut)

The tortured tale of finding the most 'authentic' version of this '80s classic seems almost like a mirror of the story itself. Clones upon clones. Even the 'Director's Cut', it seems, was not the last word. Thankfully, Blade Runner – The Final Cut, has more than just resounding conviction. The director's imprimatur does appear in both in his introduction and the three-and-a-half hour documentary made by a third party. But, more importantly, it is a cogently convincing balancing act which encapsulates the best nuances of its themes – state control, the meaning of identity, and the essence of humanity itself.

Digitally restored and re-mastered, the set incorporates new footage and special effects, re-mastered sound, an introduction by Ridley Scott (who says he's finally happy with this version – phew!), three filmmaker commentaries including Scott's, and the 'definitive' documentary that includes outtakes, deleted scenes, new interviews, screen-tests and an intelligent examination of the movie's creation and controversial legacy.

DVD 'commentaries' have cynically been described as entertainingly endless rambling. This set is no exception, and the trivia they include often duplicates the professionally produced study in the accompanying documentary. Choice of style, if you like.

The documentary is well above standard offerings of its kind. In analysing the film from many angles (including pre-production, art department, casting and scripting, controversies over the story and versions, and its chequered history) it lets you realise the enormity of the task in creating an iconic futuristic urban film-noir world in the days before CGI. Another interesting irony for a movie that champions reality over the human/replicant abyss. Years later of course, the interest in the 'real' is being revived, from Tarantino's 'reality stunts' in Deathproof, to Carlos Reygadas' preference for authenticity over CGI in Silent Light.

Major disagreements on set are not skimmed over – even one where the crew take to wearing rebellious t-shirts in defiance of Ridley Scott's bossiness, and the measures he takes to handle the situation. Profound gulfs separating approaches of various scriptwriters are discussed in a mature and enlightening fashion. Perhaps enough time has passed to put passions into perspective. David Peoples and Hampton Fancher explain their writing methods and we can appreciate how the practicality of the former, balanced the zealous vision of the latter. The documentary allows a viewer not involved with the industry to appreciate the complexity of talents in various roles.

Purists may say that a film such as Blade Runner should only be appreciated on the big screen. I am firmly in that camp with most films made for cinematic release. But several things argue for the purchase of this set.

Firstly, if you can watch it on Blu-Ray and on a suitably large wide screen, the amount of visual and aural detail will blow you away. If you are new to Blu-Ray, you could do much worse than make this your virgin purchase. Secondly, Blu-Ray can handle a vast amount of data – even more than HD. You get enough quality viewing on this set to hold your attention for several evenings. Thirdly, you can assuage your cinephile conscience by noting that the film's cult following and place in history was largely assured through small screen viewing. Tip: switch the English subtitles on as you listen to the commentaries. And even the subtitles are well done, intelligently placed, moving to the top of the screen when they might otherwise obscure an important detail.

But if your curiosity needs to review the now 'retired' versions, there's also a 5-disk (collectors')Final Cut. Just don't make any illegal copies or we'll have to come after you . . .

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