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BR Ultimate DVD - A new gold standard has been set

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Post Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:38 pm

BR Ultimate DVD - A new gold standard has been set

There have been lots of post congratulating Charles on a job well done and thanking him for the effort and his presence here, but I think there is a bigger picture that has been overlooked a bit.

The Blade Runner Ultimate Collection really represents a new gold standard for DVD releases. Previously the most impressive DVD releases were (to me) the LOTR Extended editions; however, those movies were created in the DVD era when all of the extras were expected and filmed early on.

Prior to the release of Blade Runner, it seemed like the process for a "special edition dvd" was something along these lines:

- Make an anamorphic transfer
- Throw a few sounds to the rear speakers for a "new 5.1 mix"
- Collect all the trailers you can find
- Include old tv specials on the making of the movie
- Create one new 30 minute or so documentary on the film
- Get a few people in a room to ramble over the film for a commentary
- Find a few deleted scenes and throw them on the disc
- Call it a new super deluxe mega bonus collector's edition
- Rake in the dough.

Now I realize this isn't true for every release, but it characterizes far too many of them.

What Warner Brothers has done with Blade Runner is shown that the old process is really not good enough. The care and painstaking work that has gone into this set is simply groundbreaking. Consider what you hold in your hands:

(1) FIVE separate versions of the films, including a brilliant use of seamless branching.

(2) 45 minutes of deleted scenes, all of which look fantastic. Come on, you've got to be kidding here. Furthermore, they are cut together to essentially create a sixth version of the film. Nobody has done this better.

(3) Documentaries on almost every topic of interest, well produced and directed, all great quality, informative and interesting.

(4) 25 year old audio interviews with the late author of the book!

(5) A brand new epic documentary.

(6) A final cut of the film, involving the director, that is truly a special treat that fixes many of the annoying parts of this film.

(7) A fantastic transfer, in standard and high def, with wonderful audio.

After all of that, we get a briefcase & all its goodies which are simply icing on the cake.

Honestly, I am still completely blown away by the quality of this set. No other purchase has ever knocked me over like this one has. It is simply astonishing what has been accomplished here.

Sure, I miss the art galleries that were part of the Criterion Collection Laser Disc, but Charles has said they are trying to find a way to make those available, which would be great, but that really doesn't detract from the experience.

I am hopeful that the quality of this set will inspire other filmmakers (George Lucas comes to mind... Time for a proper release with all the deleted scenes we've known about for thirty years!) to do the same with films worthy of this treatment.

Sure, Blade Runner is a special movie and that is a big part of what makes this set so great, but it could easily have been done like I described above. We have Charles and the team at Warner Brothers to thank for creating something truly great.

I imagine that a set like this for, say, Ishtar wouldn't quite have the same appeal... But for those movies that deserve it, the care given to Blade Runner is the new gold standard of what can and should be done.

So, memo to the studios: Look at this release and learn what can be done if true care and dedication are applied to the process. Please give us more sets with this kind of quality!

The only thing I can think of that I would truly love is something that I don't think is technically possible yet. It would be cool to let fans "build" their own version of the film to watch, and then have a way to share their edit lists. Each person could then build their own perfect version of the film from the five versions plus the deleted scenes available to them. I know what I would do, I'd love to see what some of the other bladezone members would consider the perfect cut of the film. Someday...

Thanks again to Charles and Warner Brothers. This set is simply awe inspiring.

Joel
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dmohrUSC

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Post Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:45 pm

Terrific post, Joel! Here's one of the best "full" reviews (no easy feat) of the entire Ultimate Collection DVD set that I've come across yet:

http://denver.yourhub.com/Golden/Blogs/ ... 12142.aspx
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Post Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:21 pm

Okay everybody, no more fooling around - it's time to get down to brass tacks here. Now that we've had a few weeks to start taking in the extraordinary accomplishment of the BR Ultimate Collection and all the amazing footage that it contains, I'll be starting up a new thread in just a bit for us to discuss our ideas for our own personally 'ideal' versions of BR. I can't wait to start hearing what eveyone else thinks would be in their own idealized version!

Before I start with my new post, I just want to add one more word about the BR Ultimate Collection - specifically the 45-minute Deleted Scenes section specially brought back to life by Lauzirika. It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me and I haven't had nearly the amount of time that I wished I had to swoon over this new collection of BR footage "vouchsafed" to us by Charles; but it is unquestionably the highlight of my moviegoing-and-viewing season. It is so amazing to behold, and I can't even imagine Charles' thoughts and emotions as he was working on this piece over the last several years, and kept discovering more footage, and figured out how to put it all together. If you're a lifelong BR fan like me, watching the Deleted Scenes makes for such an amazing experience -- all this fantastic new footage just keeps on coming and coming. How thrilling for Charles to have been the one to discover all this footage in the vaults, and then realize that there was SO MUCH of it, more than any BR fan might have dared dream of, that he didn't have to just resort to the usual 10 or 15 minutes' worth of deleted scenes presented back-to-back on a DVD, but that he could actually shape his own alternate mini-version of the movie itself. If Dangerous Days is one of the very finest documentaries about movies that I've ever seen, then the BR Deleted Scenes montage is just about the greatest single Fan Movie of all time, in movie history, period.

When evaluating work this good, I keep coming to the same criteria of judgement: could I have done any better with the all materials at hand than what has been presented to us? And though I might have a certain amount of trivial nitpicking about this detail or that aspect, blah blah blah, my overwhelming answer is: no, I couldn't. Lauzirika totally knocked this one out of the park. Grand @#$% slam. It is one for the ages, dreamS literally made real, like driving in an Aston Martin or sipping a bottle of decades-old Dom Perignon all for the bargain-basement price of $55 U.S.
How lucky are we?

So, before I start on my new thread, I just want to pay my weekly BZ respects: DOMO ARIGATO, MERCI BEAUCOUP, GRAZIE, DANKE SCHOEN, TODA RABA, MUCHAS GRACIAS, CHARLES :D

P.S. Oh, and one more thing: several months ago, when Charles first started posting on BZ, I sent him a private message just to convey my thanks (of course) at finally bringing the Ultimate Collection to life, and also to say hello from one 'SC film school alum to another. At the time, I asked him in passing what his own favorite movies were; obviously it's been a very busy last year for him (gee, ya think?), and I never did hear back from him about my question; no biggie. But what a treat to come to the very end of the Ultimate Collection, in the "All Our Variant Futures" section of the Workprint DVD, detailing in the fullest capacity the work that was taken to bring the Final Cut to life (AMAZING that Charles was actually the one to come up with the title "The Final Cut") -- and then hear Charles say emphatically, once and for all: "Blade Runner is my favorite film." How unbelievably moving is that??? And how great (and perfect) that Ridley Scott gets to have the very final word in Dangerous Days, and Charles gets to have the very final word in "All Our Variant Futures" -- and therefore the entire Ultimate Collection? I'll tell you how moving: more moving than words can describe.
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Post Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:51 pm

dmohrUSC wrote:Before I start with my new post, I just want to add one more word about the BR Ultimate Collection - specifically the 45-minute Deleted Scenes section specially brought back to life by Lauzirika. It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me and I haven't had nearly the amount of time that I wished I had to swoon over this new collection of BR footage "vouchsafed" to us by Charles; but it is unquestionably the highlight of my moviegoing-and-viewing season. It is so amazing to behold, and I can't even imagine Charles' thoughts and emotions as he was working on this piece over the last several years, and kept discovering more footage, and figured out how to put it all together. If you're a lifelong BR fan like me, watching the Deleted Scenes makes for such an amazing experience -- all this fantastic new footage just keeps on coming and coming. How thrilling for Charles to have been the one to discover all this footage in the vaults, and then realize that there was SO MUCH of it, more than any BR fan might have dared dream of, that he didn't have to just resort to the usual 10 or 15 minutes' worth of deleted scenes presented back-to-back on a DVD, but that he could actually shape his own alternate mini-version of the movie itself. If Dangerous Days is one of the very finest documentaries about movies that I've ever seen, then the BR Deleted Scenes montage is just about the greatest single Fan Movie of all time, in movie history, period.


Yep, you've pretty much summed up how I--and a LOT of people who aren't here to voice their praise--feel. The Deleted Scenes are truly spectacular, and are so well done (seamless) when you play all at once. And the way they blended it together to create a life of its own? That, to me, shows just how well they accomplished this incredible feat.

(Charles, if you don't mind the pun):
"You've done a FAN'S job, sir!" :wink:

(I'm sure someone else has said this before, so please forgive me, but I just had to say it again.)

dmohrUSC wrote:But what a treat to come to the very end of the Ultimate Collection, in the "All Our Variant Futures" section of the Workprint DVD, detailing in the fullest capacity the work that was taken to bring the Final Cut to life (AMAZING that Charles was actually the one to come up with the title "The Final Cut") -- and then hear Charles say emphatically, once and for all: "Blade Runner is my favorite film." How unbelievably moving is that??? And how great (and perfect) that Ridley Scott gets to have the very final word in Dangerous Days, and Charles gets to have the very final word in "All Our Variant Futures" -- and therefore the entire Ultimate Collection? I'll tell you how moving: more moving than words can describe.


Well said! (There seems to be a LOT of well-said posts here...)

It was quite the pleasant surprise when I first started watching it, until it really got going and you realize just how much they all did to bring this back, to bring it up to snuff, to fix things WITHOUT changing the movie, to see Charles' matter-of-fact passion for Blade Runner result in what is hands-down the best restoration/recut/reissue of a film EVER. The entire team deserves praise, including Ridley for (what I can assume is) his trust in Charles and his associates in handing such a monumental film as Blade Runner.

In any case, great posts/reviews. :D

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