As we get closer to the release of Blade Runner 2049 Warner Bros. is making sure we remember not only that the new movie is coming out but that 1982’s original Blade Runner exists as well. To that end it’s releasing Blade Runner: The Final Cut in a new 4k home video edition on September 5th, a month before the new movie hits theaters.
Over the weekend the studio put out a new trailer for that 4k edition.
As you can see, the trailer positions the original as “The film that started it all,” which is a bit odd considering this year’s new movie is the first real expansion of the story in 37 years outside of a couple of videos games and a few books. None of those are held up as great works and it’s entirely likely the new movie ignores them entirely. So it’s not as if we’re talking about dozens of adaptations, spinoffs, side stories and other stories.
If anything, what the original started was a cottage industry of commentary about the movie and its production. That and a regular series of debates as to what is the first movie’s “definitive” edition, as it has been reedited a number of times as elements were taken out, footage from international releases added back in and so on. What this trailer is promoting is the “Final Cut,” which is meant to be director Ridley Scott’s final word on what the movie is meant to look like and which received a limited theatrical release back in 2007 for the movie’s 25th anniversary.
The emphasis on this trailer, unsurprisingly, is on the conflict between the Blade Runner played by Harrison Ford and the Replicants he’s charged with hunting down and “retiring.” Text in the trailer is pulled from the opening of the movie as it establishes the premise of the story. Given less attention is what I always felt was the most interesting aspect of the story, which is the question of what it means to be human.
It’s hard to imagine anyone who wants to own a copy of Blade Runner, whichever version they believe to be the most essential, doesn’t already have one in their collection. That makes the main value proposition of this release the new 4k transfer, which is meant to make the movie’s gritty, grimy, washed-out visuals appear brighter and crisper than ever before. And it’s a nice way to both capitalize on the interest in the upcoming sequel and remind others in the audience that it’s coming out.