STARRING: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah

1993, 112 Minutes, Directed by: Ridley Scott

Description: This version is so much better, mostly because of what's been eliminated (the ludicrous and redundant voice-over narration and the phony happy ending) rather than what's been added (a bit more character development and a brief unicorn dream). Star Harrison Ford originally recorded the narration under duress at the insistence of Warner Bros. executives who thought the story needed further "explanation"; he later confessed that he thought if he did it badly they wouldn't use it.

Steven Spielberg started it with his Special Edition version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Director James Cameron made a habit out of it by releasing Aliens - Special Edition and Special Edition versions of  The Abyss and Terminator 2 - Judgment Day. (No doubt we’ll be seeing a special edition of version of his Titanic hit one day as well.) And George Lucas made a bundle out of it with his Star Wars - Special Edition.

But directors have been releasing versions of their films that are different from the ones seen on the big screen initially for quite a while now. Sometimes they are longer, better, merely adds or removes this or that scene. Most of them find a home on the video shelves although a few of them made limited, if not major, release in cinemas.

This particular version of Blade Runner isn’t only available on video, but made it to the big screen as well a few years ago. It is the version of the film that Ridley Scott would have released back in 1982 if he could have and its release has a convoluted history and finally made it our way because of the huge cult following the film has garnered since its original release. (It was a commercial disappointment upon its initial release.)

The changes made are:

  • Dropping the Chandler-esque voice over by Harrison Ford
  • Adding some moments to the love scenes between the Harrison Ford and Sean Young characters
  • Fleshed out a few other scenes
  • Providing what Scott himself describes as a “somewhat bleaker ending”
  • Inserted a short dream sequence involving a unicorn

The changes made to the movie aren’t that considerable at first glance, but the sum of it adds up and in the end this particular version of the film differs substantially from the original cut.

It is a much improved film and if you haven’t seen either versions then this is the one to check out. If you have seen the original version, well, then I’m afraid that you’ll have to see it again. Yes, it’s that good . . .


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