Blade Runner (Final Cut)
I know I purchased this when it was released in 2007, but I can't recall the last time I viewed it. I had mentioned to SnellTHX that I remembered it being "stunning" and I stand by that opinion. But when I say "stunning," I'm comparing it with previous releases (which are many, including VHS, DVD and its first 1080p version), so I'm not really comparing it with some of today's "stunning releases." Having said that, it still looks "mighty fine" and one that I wouldn't be ashamed of showing off to friends and family.
I still don't know what version SnellTHX saw, but I'm thinking he couldn't have seen what I just saw, or he never would have given it a Tier 4 placement. Yet he may very well not place the "Final Cut" as high as I will, for I know he detests heavy grain, and there is a fair amount of that in this film (though it's not "pervasive"). Besides grain, there are many SOFT FOCUS shots that definitely deserve some penalization. In those same shots DETAILS and DEPTH suffer. There were also shots that one could call GRITTY; no doubt a "director's choice," but something that will necessarily be docked on a thread like this. I will also add that BLACK LEVELS faltered at times (thankfully this was quite rare), and when they did it either looked "murky" or it was too dark resulting in "black crush."
Now for the good! DETAILS are AMAZING in many scenes! I absolutely loved some of the aerial shots of the city at night, for you could make out minute details in walls of buildings, rain running down windows, crevices in city streets, etc., etc. FACIAL DETAILS were to-die-for in close-ups of every actors, with the Gold Medal going to a character by the name of J. F. Sebastian. He had an aging problem and his face's texture was pure EYE CANDY for those of us who love to see every wrinkle, pock, mole and stubble. BLACKS were, in most instances, beautifully rendered, with corresponding SHADOW DETAILS. These were especially good in outdoor, nighttime scenes (indoor scenes are where they faltered at times). As most of your know, this is a DARK film, so had the blacks not fared well one could hardly give it anything but Tier 4 (or lower). FLESH TONES were spot-on accurate, COLORS (though muted throughout) were pleasingly vibrant when primaries were on display, and CLARITY was SHARP when the "soft focus shots" (alluded to above) were absent.
Before I wrap this up, I have to give a shout out for the wonderful audio mix by famed Vangelis. They worked marvels on this restoration and it was a treat for my ears. This was a Dolby TrueHD mix but with my Denon set up for Dolby Atmos it automatically upmixes it to a Dolby Surround that sends sound to the Height Speakers. This really enhanced the enjoyment of this spectacular film. Now I suppose I should "Double Dip" and buy the 4K version so I can get the actual Dolby Atmos mix.
Tier Recommendation: 1.75*
PS I could see some giving this a 2.0 or 2.25 and I wouldn't fault them for it. Again, it is a "dark film" with numerous "soft focus" shots and some "heavy grain" in those same shots, so some will no doubt dock it more than I was willing to. But Tier 4 would be a travesty, IMHO.