The first Ridley Scott-directed ‘Blade Runner’ from 1982 was a flop when it was originally released in theaters, and part of the blame was placed on studio interference which muddled the already ambiguous sci-fi flick. Over the years, the film has been re-edited several times, including by Scott himself. Though there are many versions of the film in circulation, 2007’s ‘The Final Cut’ is considered the definitive version of that film, but even prior to that, viewers had discovered the film, making it a classic in the genre.
Sadly, history repeated itself this summer, when the Denis Villeneuve-helmed ‘Blade Runner 2049’ was also met with lackluster box office results, despite being critically acclaimed. The film’s exhausting runtime of nearly three hours was largely cited as one reason for its underperformance but even so, some wondered if an even longer director’s cut could redeem the film on home video. But fans will simply have to wonder. Unlike the first film, fans should not expect a lengthier cut of the sequel.
“The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs] No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong.”
And hour and 15 minutes is a lot of additional footage, but it sounds as though those scenes may simply be released as Blu-Ray extras. Villeneuve insists that nothing essential was missing from their omission:
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. I must say, apart from Touch of Evil and Blade Runner, I have never seen a director’s cut that was better than the original. I mean, I’m not a fan at all of Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought it was a massive mistake to do Apocalypse Now Redux. It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual.”
Die-hard fans may be interested to see the original edit of ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in all its four-hour glory. But in this case, Villeneuve says the shorter two hour and 44-minute cut works better as a finished film.
The caveat is “never say never” and sometimes the director isn’t the final authority on such matters. Even if the removed footage is released as extras, fans may want to see how it would fit into the film in context. Warner Brothers/Columbia may decide at some point to release a cut with the deleted footage worked into a longer cut of the film.
Did you enjoy ‘Blade Runner 2049’ as-is? Or would you like to see a longer cut released at some point?
‘Blade Runner 2049’ will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 16, 2018.