Another Blade Cut

By way of Unidentified Sound Object I see that Blade Runner is getting another DVD release. This is said to be the “final cut,” the ultimate package, the exclamation point.

One thing I was happy to see was that the 4-disc package includes the original theatrical version. I can take or leave the happy ending, but the welcome thing is the return of the voiceover narration. The “director’s cut” from 1992 eliminated this and, to me at least, ripped away the whole intimate, existential angle that makes the movie so beautiful. I may also be affected by the fact that I saw the original in the theater, one of the first R-rated movies my dad took me to see when I was young.

Truth be told, I’m sick of the whole idea of directors cuts. We get a work of art released in a theater and that’s what lives in memory and becomes personally significant to those who watch it. Yes, there are institutional and logistical constraints, but that’s part of the process of creation. This tinkering after the fact is like masturbation after the sex has been had. George Lucas, anyone?

The one exception I can forgive is when there’s studio intervention, when some executive actually changes the story due to the reactions of test audiences or whatever personal/financial reason he deems fit. Risky Business comes immediately to mind. Joel should have learned his lesson in the end. I’m sure there are other examples, but I can’t think of any right now.

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