Harrison Ford is Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner who prowls the steel and microchip jungle of 21st Century Los Angeles in a disturbing vision of the future. Deckard's assignment is to stalk genetically made criminal replicants and wipe them out. Their crime: wanting to be human. Loosely based on the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
Special features on Disc One of this four-disc set include an introduction by Ridley Scott (30 seconds) and three optional feature commentary tracks from cast and crew. Disc Two contains a documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner (215 minutes) and four trailers. Disc Three contains no bonus material. Disc Four contains only bonus material and includes the following featurettes: The Electric Dreamer: Philip K. Dick (14 minutes), Sacrificial Sheep: The Novel Vs. The Film (15 minutes), Fashion Forward: Wardrobe And Styling (21 minutes), The Light That Burns: Jordan Cronenweth (20 minutes), Promoting Dystopia—Rendering The Poster Art (ten minutes), Deck-A-Rep: The True Nature Of Rick Deckard (nine minutes), Nexus Generation: Fans & Filmmakers (22 minutes), Signs Of The Times: Graphic Design (13 minutes), an audio interview with Philip K. Dick, screen tests for Rachel and Pris (nine minutes), 22 deleted scenes, an alternate opening sequence and two alternate endings—all prefaced by an introduction; six trailers and TV spots; and a 1982 archive of three promotional featurettes, which are: On The Set (14 minutes); Convention Reel (13 minutes); and Behind The Scenes Outtakes (nine minutes).
The anamorphically enhanced 2.40:1 DVD is a marked improvement over the previously released discs, with noticeably better resolution and more solid black levels. The black levels, as well as the shadow delineation, are key for this film, which has many dark scenes. Colors are bold and vibrant, really popping from the screen, and contrast is very nicely rendered. The picture has an impressively dimensional look to it. There are times where the image can look overly soft, and compression artifacts and pixilation are noticeable at times throughout. Occasional color fringing can be seen. Edge enhancement is also used, but is not overly distracting. The picture looks good, but not quite as good as the newest releases will. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD shows impressive resolution for the most part, especially considering the film's age. There are many moments, however, where the picture is decidedly soft. Still, black levels are deep and shadow delineation is impressive, making for a dimensional-looking image. Colors are rendered very well and fleshtones look realistic. While the image is not perfect, it looks very good considering the age of the film. Unfortunately, we were not able to get a Blu-ray Disc copy of the film before going to print, but a review of it will be posted on our Web site as soon as we receive a copy. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is spectacular, with nicely placed phantom images around the room and a good use of each channel to create a detailed soundfield. There are times when the surround channels are not used effectively, but the front stage is so broad and deep, it can go unnoticed that the surround channels do not have a signal sent to them. Pans from the front of the room to the rear are crafted brilliantly, with a completely seamless transition between the two stages. Dialogue intelligibility is generally good, and while the occasional effect and piece of music can have an aged, distorted twang, fidelity is generally good. Occasionally dialogue has an edgy, clipped distortion. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding sounds very much like the DVD's encoding, but the HD DVD's Dolby TrueHD encoding does provide an improvement in dynamic range, with a lower noise floor and better audibility of the most quiescent portions of the soundtrack. Occasionally clipping distortion can be heard in both encodings. Again, this is a superb mix that thoroughly enjoyable. (Danny Richelieu)