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BR-FC in Chicago, Illinois, USA

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dmohrUSC

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Post Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:51 pm

BR-FC in Chicago, Illinois, USA

So my wife and I finally beheld the BR-FC, and projected onto a theater screen, hallelujah! (En route from Madison, WI to Chicago, we also got through our 2nd audio CD of Italian-language lessons for our trip to Italy next spring, but all of you probably aren?t quite as interested in that.)

The Music Box Theatre in Chicago is a quaint old repertory theatre near Wrigley Field, maybe 400 seats max. A little unfortunate that this was the only theatre in all of Chicago (hell, all of the Midwestern USA) to play the movie ? but, between the Music Box and nothing, I?ll take the Music Box! I can finally say that I saw the FC projected in a theatre, and now die happy :lol: It was a 35mm print, not a digital projection, and I?m still really looking forward to revisiting the FC on the DVD set next month, since during the reel changes in the theater I could make out slight but significant color and lighting changes between the various reels.

Everyone?s already heard of most of the primary changes between the previous versions and the FC ? you can check them out in previous postings here, or on BR?s listing on Wikipedia. In this post, I?ll try to focus on the smaller details that I picked up on along the way, because c?mon, let?s face it, obsessing over the specifics are part of what make this so much fun for us, the fans! (I have a few other notes re: the quality of the screening itself, which I?ll save for the end of this post, since I don?t want it to detract from my overall impressions of being able to finally experience the FC.)

First things first: at the theatre I saw it in, the print of the movie went directly to the Ladd Co. logo, so I have no idea what type of Warner Bros. logo is at the start of the movie, though I assume it?s the most recent version. The opening credits were indeed exactly the same as they?ve always been.

The opening sequence above L.A. 2019 was perhaps the most astonishing single minute of the entire movie. It?s a visionary sequence that has deservedly enshrined BR in movie history, and it?s never been more powerful than it is here in its final, ultimate incarnation. As has been stated before, the opening shot?s timing of the fireballs? flaring on the buildings beneath has been fixed.

The second shot ? the next shot of the city where you start to see the Tyrell Co. pyramids in the background ? is absolutely incredible, and maybe (am I really saying this?) even more impressive than the FC?s opening shot. The first fireball in the second shot has been doubled in scale and time ? now it?s like a series of explosive concussions going off, ?baam-baam? ? and the visual and sound FX of the spinners during this sequence have been totally enhanced for maximum effect. The sheer impact of this sequence is so intense now, so jawdroppingly breathtaking, I literally felt my wife shrink back in her seat during it, as if her whole body was saying, ?Jesus god almighty!!!?

I?ve seen BR around 10 times in the theatre before, but I?ve never been as floored or moved by this sequence as I was now (unless if I count being 12 years old in 1985 and seeing BR for the first time on video). It is such a majestic and colossal, yet galling and horrifying sight to behold ? and, of course, a supreme cinematic and artistic achievement. The best way to describe my emotional reaction to this sequence is: I?m sure you all remember the priceless moment in ?The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers? when Brad Dourif?s character ?Wormtongue? beholds the horrifyingly evil army of Uruk-Hai warriors that the dark wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) has created and is about to unleash, and a single tear falls from his eye at the sight of this unspeakable monstrosity. Falling tear aside, that was honestly my own internal reaction to seeing the opening sequence of the FC: ?so this is what our world has come to.?

Lest anyone misinterpret me, I should add that this was a GOOD and POSITIVE reaction for me to have, because it goes to show how unbelievably effective the opening sequence is at conveying all that has been tragically lost in our world. BR?s exquisitely realized L.A. of 2019 is completely offensive, appalling, monstrous, terrifying, an environmental, industrial and socio-economic abomination ? which is EXACTLY as it should be!

(I?ve said it before on this site, will say it again ? BR is the flipside of Cormac McCarthy?s post-nuclear-apocalypse nightmare world in his Pulitzer-winning novel ?The Road,? which I also cannot recommend enough to every BR fan out there. When you read ?The Road,? and take in its equally horrifying and totally uncompromising power, it almost comes off as a companion piece to BR. And it only goes to further illustrate what an incredibly accomplished and profound work BR is. To think of all the times I?ve discussed BR with people over the years who?ve told me, ?I hate that movie, I hate the world it creates, it?s disgusting, it makes me feel filthy,? etc., I wonder, are these people having the same reaction to reading McCarthy?s ?Road,? and dismissing it on those same terms as well?)

And after the first minute?s ultimate visual-FX horrorshow-landscape of all time, I think it's absolutely brilliant for Ridley Scott, Hampton Fancher & David Peoples to thrown us into Holden?s and Leon?s V.K. test at the office table right off the bat ? Holden sipping his coffee, smoking his cigarette, sighing out of routine boredom ? ?just another day at the office.?

When we first see Deckard, his reading the newspaper has been truncated, including the blimp announcement from the DC, ?Let?s go to the Colonies!? and ?This announcement has been brought to you by the Shimato-Dominguez Corporation, helping America into the new world.? That?s all gone now, and Deckard?s getting over to the sushi stand is much quicker.

So much has been talked about re: all the visual enhancements to the movie, but I was also incredibly impressed by A. how many new audio enhancements have been added, and B. their quality. Most of this new audio work was done very thoughtfully and creatively, and I?d say I truly appreciate 95% of the new audio that?s been added to the FC, which I think is a terrifically successful percentage when you?re attempting to tinker (albeit with an extraordinary level of respect) with a certified classic.

On the spinner ride to the police station, there?s lots of spinner-headset audio spoken in Japanese, and on the spinner ride to the Tyrell Corp., there?s lots of spinner-headset audio spoken in German. I don?t know if it was just the theater I saw the movie in (I?ll get into details later), but these new audio enhancements were very prominent, but I personally didn?t feel like they added much to the overall impact of the picture ? who knows, maybe I?ll grow to love them in time, but these new additions didn?t come off as Cityspeak, the ?mishmash of Japanese, Spanish, German, what have you? that we all know and love. It was just transmissions of people speaking in outright individual languages, and for me personally, these voices detracted from the effect of the visuals and other sound FX as well as Vangelis? score; but others might feel differently about it.

It?s thrilling to hear Bryant?s finally saying ?two of them got fried running through an electrical field.? So long, Mary-the-sixth-rep.

When Deckard travels to the Tyrell Co., I could be mistaken, but it felt like Vangelis? main theme kicked in earlier during this sequence.

One of the ten greatest new FX shots in the movie is the last shot of Gaff?s spinner flying above the Tyrell Co., and the entire new cityscape that has been added in the background. It?s totally consistent and believable. Hats off to the FC restoration crew on this one. Also, it appeared that there was a very subtle new zoom-in during the second half of this shot, which actually felt really cool.

When Deckard drives out of the tunnel en route to his apartment, and up the hill into the city, the FX in this shot has been really upgraded. It used to be so smoky and rainy and full of beaming lights that you weren?t able to make out much definition ? but now there?s a new skyscraper video screen in the far-away distance, and new spinner traffic.

I?m not sure if it was in previous versions, but you now see the green ?floor number? lights briefly flicker on Deckard?s yawning face as the camera dollies around him in the elevator.

Some people have posted here that they?ve preferred the unicorn dream sequence in the DC to the FC. I?ve watched the FC?s unicorn sequence on Yahoo about fifty times, and although the new closeups of Deckard were incredible, I really wondered if I didn?t prefer the version in the DC as well. But seeing the FC in the theatre totally blew away any reservations I had about this sequence, and what almost impressed me more was the sound design rather than the imagery. The soundtrack has completely been retooled, so now you hear the sounds of the unicorn?s galloping and breathing fade in to the soundtrack very subtly at first, but then heavier later (listening to this clip on Yahoo doesn?t even begin to do this sequence justice; if you don?t get a chance to see the FC in the theater, you *must* hold out for checking out this sequence in a home viewing with a decent sound system before passing judgement). The audio is dreamy, but the hard cuts to and from Deckard?s face and the unicorn only intensify the freakishly surreal ?un-reality? of the moment, and it?s now much more unnervingly (and successfully) ?what-the-f***-is-going-on??? of a moment. Love it, love it, love it!

I don?t know if it was just the theater I was in, but I didn?t hear Deckard say ?Zhora or Pris?? when he was looking at the snake scale in his apartment (as he does in the WP, and someone here previously mentioned they heard Deckard say in the FC).

I always loved the WP?s slow crane-up shot from the scale-analyst lady?s booth in the street fading into the next scene outside Abdul Ben Hassan?s shop, and am so glad it?s officially back.

When Deckard is chasing Zhora through the streets and comes across the Hare Krishnas, new tribal drumming sound FX have been added to the soundtrack. Works great. Also, the audio of Deckard?s car pulling up to the Bradbury has been enhanced. In other places, the audio seems to have been minimized, like when Deckard is making his way up the steps of the Bradbury to Sebastian?s apartment ? you don?t hear his footsteps as prominently as you once did, maybe to better convey Deckard?s skill for stealth (i.e. ?Blade Runner magic?).

Again, to attest how unworthy experiencing the BR-FC on your home computer is, I remember first seeing the clips of Joanna Cassidy running through the plate glass onYahoo, and thinking, ?what?s the big deal?? But when you see it in the theatre, you remember seeing that egregious stunt double for Zhora, and she isn?t there ? it?s Cassidy all the way, and you can?t see a hair of technical error or anything that would give away the greenscreen reshoot. Brilliant, and the only place you?ll ever really pick out the most minute details is on a movie screen (or enormous hi-def television).

I don?t think there was a single firing of Deckard?s gun in the entire movie that hasn?t had the audio FX augmented in some way. And it?s all for the better. The most noticeably changed was when Deckard fires at Roy at the end when Roy steps from behind the wall into the hallway ? there was a brief ?trigger-sqeeze? effect put in place.

I?m still a little surprised that the grey sky over the Tyrell Co. when Sebastian and Roy?s elevator reaches the top hasn?t been changed ? that?s always been as much of a standout to me as the original ?dove flyaway? shot at the end. But, c?est la vie.

It seemed unclear whether they looped the word ?father? over ?f***er? in the FC, or not, which is strange, since it seemed very clear in the WP that Hauer actually says ?father.? Unless I?m mistaken, in the FC it appeared to be an audio loop, and if that?s actually the case, it?s a bit puzzling. But I?m probably one of the few people out there who honestly prefers the use of the word ?father? to ?f***er.? It just seems to make more sense, and adds more depth to the scene; it helps increase the sense of Tyrell as a human being who has deigned to put himself in the position of a self-anointed god, ?gifting? his newer models of replicants with the blessed senses and abilities ?which you and I take for granted,? but in truth is just a ruthlessly exploitative industrialist and totally-conscience-free procurer of slaves. And in familial terms, when it comes to Roy and Tyrell, it?s the most love/hate relationship conceivable?

It?s nice now seeing Roy in the window of the Bradbury when Deckard is scaling the outside walls (wide angle shot), although the shot seems shorter now?but then it could?ve also just been me wanting to take it all in and make it last as long as possible! Someone here had mentioned earlier that Roy?s laughter from the Deckard-Roy chase sequence had been cut out, but I didn?t notice anything missing.

What Ridley Scott said in the OTEOBR documentary about, ?I wish I had more action near the end to raise the blood,? had me assuming there was a possibility that for the FC, Scott would go back to the WP?s sped-up sequence of Deckard?s coming home to find Rachel (for those who haven?t seen the WP, you?ll soon see what I mean); but this sequence in the FC was exactly the same as in the DC, etc.

What WAS a huge surprise, and I imagine probably had to do with Scott?s previous comment, was during the ending sequence on the rooftop. We all know the bit where Deckard climbs up onto the roof and is walking around, before he sees the TDK sign and starts running, then is cut off by Roy. What was shocking here (and to the best of my knowledge, nobody here has mentioned so far) was that 5 or 10 seconds has actually been CUT OUT of this sequence ? in the long, wide shot of Deckard?s staggering into the frame from the left side of the screen, and glancing around the rooftop of the Bradbury, with the huge rotating electric fans on either side of the screen, and the strange industrial-electric heaving sounds in the background. Now, in the FC, you basically see Deckard get up from laying on the roof, and walking off screen right, and then cut directly to the next wide shot of the rooftop (with the rotating fans) with him right in the middle of the screen, and glancing over at the TDK sign, then making his first sprint before Roy stops him. It?s much quicker now.

Of course, this is Ridley Scott?s final end-all-be-all baby, and if he felt he had to make this particular cut to help ?raise the blood,? then more power to him. I know how many of us probably think of BR as ?sacred text,? and that any alterations are defamations. For my part, although I can understand Scott?s reasoning behind this new edit (and of course the new sequence works very well), I still think I?ll miss having Deckard walk around on the roof a little more. What can I say: overly reverential movie buff, guilty as charged :wink:

We?ve all talked about and heard of the changes to the BR-FC for the last 6 months, and of course when I watched the first half of the movie, I kept thinking of, ?okay, this is coming up,? ?alright, that?s about to happen in the next scene,? etc. But I was honestly so mesmerized by the beauty of Rutger Hauer?s final speech that I totally lost track of ?keeping my dibs on? the new dove-flyaway shot; so when it appeared, it was an ?oh my god? moment in every sense. But yes, the new shot is absolutely every bit as incredible as everyone?s already described.

And it was fantastic to see the new credits with the full listing for the FC restoration team at the tail end of the movie. Bravo, bravo, bravissimo, Lauzirika & Co.!!!!!

So, now that I?ve relayed how much of a genuine ?up note? I left the theatre on, which is the truth the whole truth and nothing but, I?ll get back to some of the aforementioned issues at the beginning of my post:

When I tell you that checking out the BR-FC in Chicago was the loudest movie I?ve ever been to, that is very unfortunately not a compliment. There is magnificently loud (i.e., any screening I?ve ever been to @ L.A.?s Mann?s Chinese or Cinerama Dome), and then there is uncomfortably loud, where the high end of the volume is jacked so far up it repeatedly veers into distortion. The sheer volume level in the Music Box Theatre was the latter, not the former. I?ve honestly been at rock concerts that were quieter. It was so loud, I started to dread even the smallest sound FX ? even Bryant?s setting his shot glasses on his desk left a thud in your chest. My and my poor wife?s ears were still ringing two hours later. It was as if one of the Music Box?s staff heard that they were playing the FC, and said between bonghits, ?dude, I?m TOTALLY going to crank our f***ing speaker system to 11!!!? I?m not even exaggerating one iota - in the course of our screening, the theater?s speaker system was totally shredded. It was on such overload during the first 45 minutes that in the middle of the movie, the audio track started wavering in and out like someone lapsing out of and back into consciousness, and during the last quarter of the movie the speakers were making a terrible coughing/buzzing/rasping sound. I have to wonder if the Music Box is seriously planning to replace its entire speaker system for every BR-FC screening?

One more qualm, and this one is totally a matter of personal taste, but it seems a little strange to me to have basically added back into the FC all the violence that was in the International Cut, but take small snippets of other moments out. Personally, I?m not entirely sure that a more violent and brutal BR is necessarily a better BR. But it?s Ridley Scott?s final, penultimate vision of his finest movie, and I?ll bless his creating his final masterwork however he wishes to see it ultimately realized. Maybe all of this violence was in Scott?s original version before the M.P.A.A. insisted he take it out to achieve an ?R? rating, and is therefore totally representative of his initial vision for the movie. And maybe I?ll adjust to these final violent additions over time, too; but between the eye-gouging and nose-pulling and nail-through-hand-driving, the experience in the theatre got to be a little dispiriting. But so many great movies have massive amounts of violence ? The Wild Bunch, the first two Godfather movies, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, to throw out a few titles, that I?ll agree it seems kind of a moot point to hold the level of violence against any given masterwork. Also, the ultraviolence in BR-FC reminds me of the violence in another movie ? The Last Temptation of Christ ? more than any other: it?s stylized and specific and carries almost Biblical implications with it. So please understand, I?m not just bitching and griping out of prudishness, and I?m not interested in cinematic morality, but I am interested in aesthetics: does something work better with or without something? I don?t pretend to claim to have all the answers (and I?ve only seen the FC once, for god?s sakes), but I do think the topic is worthy of bringing up for discussion and debate.

On the drive home, my wife and I were going over the movie again, and she brought up an interesting point ? she (believe it or not) has only seen BR twice ? first the DC on DVD a few months ago, and now the FC. She said one of the more compelling things in the movie to her was that there was no way for the Tyrell Co. to save the replicants ? there was no way to add more life into their genetic makeup. I mentioned the original version?s having added at the end that Rachel was special, without a termination date; but then I realized that nothing to that effect is ever stated in the DC or FC ? so, for all we now know, in the universe of the DC and FC, Rachel?s only got a few more years to live; and if Deckard?s actually a replicant too, he?s also only got a few years left to go. But my wife said she thought this only added to the overall theme of the movie, especially when Gaff says, ?it?s too bad she won?t live, but then again who does?? In other words, get out there and live your life, while you still have time.

In closing, maybe the very sweetest thought of all is that after 25 years, Ridley Scott finally has a definitive version of his finest and most personal movie that he can feel 110% at peace about, and sleep well at night over. Many (if not most) artists never live to see their greatest visions fully achieved. In the case of BR, for those of us who have followed the movie over the course of our lives, maybe for those of us (now including Roger Ebert) who grudgingly admired the film at first but with the passage of time have finally come to love it, the FC stands as all Ridley Scott ever hoped for and wanted BR to be. No casual BR admirer, recent enthusiast or lifelong fan could wish for more than that?

Except, of course, for the 5-DVD Ultimate Collection in stores next month :D

Best regards to all BladeZoners,
DM
Last edited by dmohrUSC on Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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dmohrUSC

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Post Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:09 pm

A little unfortunate that this was the only theatre in all of Chicago (hell, all of the Midwestern USA) to play the movie


Correction: the BR-FC is playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 30. How easily I forget my own friggin' birthplace :lol:
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Planta

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Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:56 am

DM, i'm half the reading and wanted to thank you for your super-detailed and so finnicky review! you make us (unfortunate non US, non UK language ppl who won't have any chance to see it on the big screen) be almost there with you lucky guys. and i was moved by your wife's reaction in the Hades scene, which is exactly like mine. thank you! now i get back to finish it! :D
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Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:43 am

ok, now i've finished the whole reading and i totally agree about the added violence (whether it's been added now or cut in '82). ok i should watch the FC before i "judge" it but, to be honest, the eye gouging clip has disturbed me and i think it would not be adding or revealing anything to the movie story and/or mood. at the contrary, the Rachael's legs deleted scene would have been important to the mood and the relationship between her and Deck.
but anyway, thank you again DM! :wink:
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dmohrUSC

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Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:53 pm

Thanks much for your kind words, Planta!

More singing of BR-FC praises from the Windy City (a.k.a. Chicago):

http://maroon.uchicago.edu/online_editi ... rtainties/
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Planta

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Post Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:00 am

dmohrUSC wrote:More singing of BR-FC praises from the Windy City (a.k.a. Chicago):

http://maroon.uchicago.edu/online_editi ... rtainties/


great! but there's a line i can't get, at the end of it, talking about the incoming DVD box set:

"and there?s a chance it may come to Doc in the winter."

what does it mean?


(ps: btw, if you ever need some help to your italian lessons, or there's something unclear, just tell me :wink: )
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dmohrUSC

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Post Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:04 am

That is strange, I don't really understand it either, but I think it might be slang for the Chicago university the article was written for (Doc = "something Of Chicago"?)

As for help with my Italian, grazie Senore Planta! Io capisco umpo l'Italiano, ma non multo bene :)
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Post Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:16 am

dmohrUSC wrote:As for help with my Italian, grazie Senore Planta! Io capisco umpo l'Italiano, ma non multo bene :)


yeah, pretty good! i'll be teaching you the mandatory "parolacce" (bad words) :lol:

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