Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What 'Blade Runner' DVD is right for you?

2008 will mark (just about) the 10th anniversary of the first rumors of a Tyrell-Sized Blade Runner DVD Set, and to mark the occasion Warner Bros. will finally release this set -- along with many other Blade Runner DVDs. In fact, the Redundancy Department Administration has just released the following data: starting Tuesday you can theoretically go into BestBuy and pick out eight BR DVDs -- with all of them featuring a different bar code. With so many BR options to choose from, what's a Christmas shopper to do? Follow this handy guide to ensure you won't make the wrong choice:

Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
Low Price: $5 maybe
Target Demographic: Misanthropic Grinches
I'm pretty sure Wal-Mart has been selling this DVD in their bargain bin since 1995. Extras? Remastered picture and sound? Look elsewhere. The lasting value of this DVD is you can buy it for the BR fan who's at the top of your Naughty List. Wrap this up and hand it to them saying "Well I know you like Blade Runner..." and watch as their expectations of seeing the new 4-disc set drip away like warm egg nog.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Low Price: $14.49
Target Demographic: Blade Runner Virgins, Penny-Pinching Christmas Shoppers
There's nothing wrong with this DVD, in fact it's a great deal -- the target demographic has more to do with the other BR DVDs. On its own merits, The Final Cut has the titular new version of the film, three commentaries, a feature-length documentary, remastered transfer and the best cover art of the lot. If you've never seen BR before, start here. Everyone else should proceed to the next item.

Blade Runner (Four Disc Collector's Edition)
Low Price: $22
Target Demographic: Shrewd Consumers, Wide-Eyed Movie Bloggers
The price might as well read "a song." This is maybe the best DVD deal of the year. In addition to the specs of The Final Cut, you get THREE MORE versions of the film and a fourth disc full of deleted footage, featurettes and TV spots. This set contains just about everything a BR fan could have hoped for during the past decade of hoping, and its content alone would put it in the year's top 10 of best DVD releases, but then you get to the sticker shock of its low price! It may feel a little like stealing, but then you see that briefcase on the shelf and realize why the price is so low.

Blade Runner (Five Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition)
Low Price: $54.99
Target Demographic: Absolute Completists, Edward James Olmos Groupies
Warner's Ultimate Collector's Editions routinely offer little bang for the price, and while there's certainly no lack of interesting goodies here, the price is not justified. The best of this set is already included in the four-disc collection, plus another version of the film and a plastic briefcase full of trinkets. Inside the briefcase is a letter from Ridley Scott, a spinner car model, an origami unicorn figurine, photographs and a lenticular motion film clip. The extra disc, plus the items weigh in at $32. On that extra disc is the infamous "work print" of BR, which DVD Savant describes as "fairly ugly compared to the restored versions." The work print version apparently has the most differences among the five versions, but the price of that is a substantial downgrade in appearance. When these releases were originally announced, I instantly settled on this set before really weighing the other options. Now I can't really justify the price -- that is, outside of the thrill of placing the origami unicorn in my entryway and shouting "It's a shame she won't live, but then again who does?" to any visitor.

Blade Runner (Five Disc Complete Collector's Edition) HD/BluRay
Price: $27.95
Target Demographic: Smugly Amazed HD/BluRay Converts
The Moviezzz Blog originally brought this up, but it bears repeating: who are the ad wizards who thought this one up? So in addition to being able to watch BR in glorious high definition, HD/BluRay folks are also able to buy this five disc set without all the briefcase hoopla for $28?? Even more baffling, those same folks still have the option of paying $38 more for a plastic briefcase full of trinkets, since the big set is also available in HD/BluRay!?! By all accounts, Warner Bros. seems to be undercutting itself from multiple fronts with these BR releases.


TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

I think the set is even more confusing than you have listed.

There will be the 4 disc version that all stores will have.

But, Best Buy will exclusively have a 5 disc version, that includes the workprint. This is the one that is on HD and Blu Ray. It is all the versions of the film, without the toys and such. I'm not sure of the price (BB's website still has it at the full price, but it will be discounted next week)

Then, all retailers will have the briefcase edition, which includes the toys and such.

I might try to get that 5 DVD version, without the briefcase. Or, I might just wait for the next gen, depending on the price for it.

Adam Ross said...

That's good to know. I still don't understand why they expect people to still buy the briefcase edition for such a premium, maybe they get tunnel vision after looking at it?

I don't expect to watch much of the other editions, but I'll still probably get the 5-disc edition.

Anonymous said...

So many options! I would still go for the 4-disc set for $22. Sounds like a good deal.

The first time I ever watched Blade Runner was on one of those first generation DVD's- yeah the ones without any surface graphics on the disc. It's bit of a collector's item now I suppose.

Thanks for the comparisions- very helpful!

PIPER said...

I just picked up the 4 Disc set and was amazed by the price. This is the best buy out there.

Erich Kuersten said...

"The charmer's name was Gaff; I'd seen him around... blah blah, I knew the lingo well enough, any good cop did..."

If I have to just buy the 2 DVD version to avoid ever having to hear that narration again, I will do so. And in fact already have.

Okay. If I'd have read this earlier, I would have gone for the 4-disc. But now it's too late. Sob!

Hey, nice site. I'm a first time visitor.

viagra pharmacy said...

great site, keep it up the good work.