With the "Blade Runner" sequel coming out this weekend, you’re probably thinking about watching the original. But did you know there are no less than seven versions of the 1982 cult classic? Here’s what to watch and what to avoid before you see Blade Runner 2049.
US Theatrical Cut
Ok, real talk — this version sucks. This is the one where they forced Harrison Ford to voice over the whole movie because studio executives thought it was too confusing. It's so cringey that people actually thought Ford was intentionally giving bad VO so it wouldn’t be used, which he later denied.
It also includes a “happy ending” featuring unused aerial shots from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" that makes ZERO SENSE.
Don’t watch this one. Seriously, it’s really bad. Don't believe me? Check out some of the YouTube comments on the original ending:
International Cut (Criterion Collection)
Basically the same thing as the US cut, but with more graphic violence. This includes things like poking out eyes, holding someone up by their nostrils, and nails going through a hand, all of which is super super bloody.
Cool if you’re into that kind of thing, but it still doesn’t make up for the horrific narration.
The Director’s Cut
This one is a huge leap forward, but still not perfect. Warner Brothers released this version without director Ridley Scott’s permission using a “work print” of the film which was missing scenes and had different music in parts.
However, it did cut out the voice over, the “happy ending,” and they put back the famous unicorn dream sequence that suggests a completely different ending.
Close, but no cigar.
The Final Cut
This is the one, guys!
After a lot of complaining on the part of Ridley Scott, Warner Brothers finally let him release a fully-supervised final cut. This version thankfully trusts that the audience will understand the movie’s themes without being spoon-fed. It’s still open-ended, but at the same time less ambiguous, and you can really feel Scott’s directing in the unicorn dream sequence. Plus no VO, no happy ending, and it looks amazing.
It’s a masterpiece, and if the reviews for Blade Runner 2049 prove to be true, we’re in for another sci-fi classic.
Check out "Blade Runner 2049" this Friday October 5th.
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