Monday, May 11, 2015

Keep directors away from fiddling

I am pretty sure that I only ever saw Blade Runner at the cinema on its original release and never got around to watching it again on VHS or DVD - until last night.

I was aware that the Director's Cut was controversial - friends told me years ago they didn't like it as much as the original, but it seems it is all you can get easily get now.  (That or the "Final Cut", which I gather keeps all the deficiencies of the Directors Cut, but at slightly greater length.)

And boy, are the Director's Cut skeptics right, or what?

The film is not that easily followed without the voice over that Scott complained was forced on him.  And while it's hard to recognise exactly which scenes are new, it drags in a way I certainly do not recall the cinema version did.  I started nodding off, and my son complained he didn't really get the plot.  (I think he could sort of follow the overriding plot - but the film seems not to adequately explain itself at the smaller scale - from one scene to the next.) 

More broadly, it's hard to remember a film which a Director's Cut has improved, isn't it?  Even Spielberg can't be trusted when it comes to this - I prefer the cinema version of Close Encounters to the Special Edition. 

The lesson is that studio enforced changes are sometimes right - and directors need to leave close enough alone.  Especially Ridley Scott...

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