Sci-Fi Geek-a-Thon

I’m not going to run away from the fact that I really enjoy science fiction. Mostly, I like science fiction movies, but there are a number of novels I enjoy, too.

So, you may have seen that Blade Runner has been re-re-released, and this time it’s the director’s cut that Ridley Scott wanted us to see back in 1982 — but the studio said “Um, no” because it was too hard to follow. If you saw Blade Runner in the movie theaters in 1982 (or rented the film when it was finally released on VHS in the mid 80s), you saw a version that had narration by Harrison Ford’s character “Rick Deckard.” This narration was inserted into the final cut so audiences could figure out what the hell was going on. Because this is one of my favorite films, I’ve read quite a few books on the making of it, and it turns out that Harrison Ford purposefully did a horrible job on the narration so the movie company wouldn’t use it. I guess he didn’t know about the lack of artistic pride The Suits in the movie industry have, so like the weasels they are, they used the crappy narration, tacked on a “happy ending, “and used footage from the opening sequence of The Shinning as a visual pad for the end narration.

Because most movie audiences don’t really know the back story on the making of certain films, they just kind of accept the theatrical release as the version the director intended. In the 90s, there were two versions of Blade Runner that were billed as “director’s cuts.” One had limited narration, the other had omitted the narration and inserted a “dream sequence” that suggested Deckard was a replicant and not human. There were other minor differences in the versions released, but, like I said, now we finally get the one that Ridley Scott wanted us to see in 1982.

How different was it from the releases in the 90s? Not much. As far as I could tell, some of the violent scenes had been stretched out (notably the death of Daryl Hannah’s character “Pris,” and that of “Tyrell.” ) But the biggest treat was the quality of the print and the sound. The images were very clear, the sound was also crisp and mastered with the right amount of punch and softness. Also, it seemed some of the exterior shots were given a bit of 2007 CGI gloss. Given the number of iterations this film has gone through, to finally have a clean copy is a treat for those of us film snobs who suffered through the lousy versions of the 80s and 90s.

We went to see the film in Oakland (at the Grand Lake Theater). It’s an old stage theater converted into a movie theater and it lives up to its name (i.e., “Grand”). It has a pretty big screen and a decent sound system that isn’t EQ-ed so the higher frequencies dominate the sound mix. This all sounds kind of geeky (and it is), but sound quality where the highs, midrange, and lows are equalized in such a way that it’s pleasant to the ears is one of the things I pay attention to when going to the movies. Most cineplexes don’t EQ the sound of the film very well, and set the volume at sometimes deafening levels causing me to wince at times. But The Grand Lake seems to have people who care about how a film looks and sounds. So, it was a luxury to sit in a movie theater and hear a film sound and look great. What can I say, I’m a geek.

Pics of going to see Blade Runner…

Maya and Julie across from the theater.

At the Oakland Farmers Market there was a jumpy slide that deflated. I commented to Julie that in the movie Logan’s Run, the old man says “Nothing sadder than a dead fish.” To which I added, “…except a dead, deflated jumpy slide.”

And you gotta love the people at the Grand Lake for wearing their politics on their marquee:

And then after the movie, dinner, and dog walkies, we popped in a DVD and watched BSG (i.e., Battlestar Galactica) the miniseries because both Blade Runner and BSG have Edward James Olmos.

 

And because I want so very much to draw you into my geek orbit, I offer you a couple of downloads. One is not easy to find. It’s the original opening title sequence from a Blade Runner soundtrack a bootleg that was circulating in the early 90s. It’s from a cassette copy, but the quality is pretty good.

(Download) Vangelis “Main Titles” from Blade Runner

And this next one is widely available because it’s from the Battlestar Galactica Season 2 soundtrack. What I like about this selection is the Jimmy Page sounding guitars with the middle eastern flavors that’s pretty much a rip off of “Kashmir”

(Download) “Black Market” Bear McCreary from Battlestar Galactica

Get ur geek on!

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