Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel to Blade Runner, but which one? That film has had more lives than Charlie Sheen! Along with the 1982 theatrical release, there are seven other versions, official or not.
Based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip Dick, Blade Runner is set in 2019 Los Angeles, a dystopian universe unlike any ever created for the screen. Harrison Ford stars in one of his iconic roles as Deckard, who hunts down replicants (synthetic beings hard to tell from the real thing) who have gone rogue. Deckard is not a fan, until he meets an experimental model (Sean Young) who believes she’s human.
While Blade Runner was a box office disappointment upon its original release, it is now considered a cult classic and one of the most influential sci-fi movies ever made. In 1992, it was inducted in the National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” films, so the anticipation for Blade Runner 2049 is through the roof. You were excited about Ford returning as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens? The prospect of Deckard teaming up with Ryan Gosling in 2049 is generating similar buzz.
But which version of the original should you watch before seeing the sequel? Each is different. Each has its champions. Here’s a recap of the versions easiest to find:
The 1982 Theatrical Version
This is the one with Harrison Ford’s voice-over like something out of a 1940s private-eye movie. It also has a happy ending imposed on director Ridley Scott.
The Director’s Cut
Not quite. Ridley Scott had a hand in this version released in 1992, but not full creative control. The voice-over is out, and the ending is more uncertain. This version is distinguished by the inclusion of a unicorn dream sequence that many interpret as casting doubt over Deckard’s own status as a human.
The Final Cut
For now, anyway. Scott had full creative control over this version, which was released in 2007 for the film’s 25th anniversary. This version contains the full version of the unicorn dream as well as three extra (and more violent) scenes that were cut from the American theatrical version, but were included in an international theatrical version.
Blade Runner geeks (and you know who you are): Which version of the original film do you recommend? Let us know.
By: Redbox Writer, Donald Liebenson