'Special' Editions

Oh my pagan Gods, it's a cinemergency! Today I am sick with ranting about crap films so I am going to rant about a good one. The reason for this is that it has just been drawn to my attention that there is a new 'special edition' DVD release of Blade Runner in the pipeline, including amongst other things a new 'directors cut' by yer Ridley Scott. This may seem like a good thing, but almost certainly isn't.

Lets get one thing absolutely straight. There has only ever been one (ONE) worthwhile alternative edit, and that's Blade Runner. Blade Runner: The Actual Cut, the film that started the phenomenon is a unique and entirely different scenario from all subsequent Directors Cut/Special Editions. In that instance alone, due to studio pressure and what have you, the cinema release was fucked with beyond all reason and Ridley Scott's best film was a pile of crap for it's first ten years in the wilderness. As well as adding a preposterous Police Squad style voice over, the ambiguous "Is Deckard a replicant? Well of course he is you stupid fucking bastard" ending was replaced by one in which Deckard and Rachel (sporting glamourous new 'this isn't a reshoot honest' haircuts) drive an Escort through some ropey old The Shining footage. But you don't need this history lesson from the likes of me. The point is that subsequently every George, Steve and Cameron have fucked up their own movies with money grabbing rehashes. In every single other special edition I have ever seen, the pattern seems to be to find the most dramatic and perfectly executed point in ones film and completely destroy the flow by reincerting some dreadful deleted footage that you can't believe was ever filmed in the first place and was clearly abandoned quite intentionally at the time on account of being shite.

Example: Aliens 'Forcibly Remove all the Tension and Character Dynamics' Edition.

The whole thing with Aliens, the reason it works, is that for all the running and shooting and mass destruction, the monsters still exist in the ambiguity and the dialogue. For the first half hour they exist only through Ripley's horror stories, in rumor and in legend. The talk of their unspeakableness is what heightens the drama of their eventual appearance. By the same method it is a half an hour before we see planet LV426, then we spend a subsequent half hour exploring the place before the aliens finally emerge about an hour in.

NOW, in Retard Edition this is all undermined by an awful and completely out of place scene near the start in which Newt's crappy family are running around like morons, thus bringing in LV426 and the Aliens far too early. Aliens isn't ABOUT the aliens. Unlike its in numerate ripoffs it's not just a slasher movie bug fest, it's about Nam. Its about a bunch of stupid jock marines who are undertrained and under equipped and get dropped into a hostile territory without sufficient briefing, where the natives promptly kick their ass. Deciding obviously that some of the pacing of the original cut may remain, Cameron continues to hack at the film by EXTENDING the tedious 'A-Team trapped in a shed' malarkey between attacks with some awful minge about robot-gun-thingies. This new sequence consisting for the most part of the thrilling counting down of a series of meaningless video displays.

And let's not forget the reinserted dialogue. Hicks over-explains how under equipped they all are, in case you hadn't picked up on that. We are told how many Aliens there are, thus destroying the mystery further. There's a sort of "Sesame Street is bought to you today by 'a tedious conversation about ants', 'the concept of the hive queen' and the number one hundred" dialogue. And to cap it all, theres some contrived back story about Ripley's dead daughter, in case for some reasons our brains have dried up and the maternal subtext isn't patently self evident.

All in all this new preschool edit succeeds in subtly concentrating all impetus on the mission while successfully draining all the subtlety out of it and moving the focus away from Ripley.

I mean, for fuck's sake Cameron, you stupid boat wielding fuck, have you forgotten the focus of your own bleeding movie? It's about Ripley, believe it or not!

What's really annoying about these things is that the directors have the arrogance to declare the new editions 'definitive', thus making the ACTUAL VERSIONS impossible to see. Is it not bad enough that these directors must become old and crap, without them going back and destroying the only good things they ever made when they were young and not-crap. Even as we rant, Steven, having psychotically removed the guns from ET, is at this very moment at home digitally removing the 70's hairstyles from Duel.

The point (if you were wondering) of todays rant, is this. Blade Runner Directors Cut, unlike most of the twaddle your species produces, is damned near perfect. Unfortunately it was produced by a younger Ridley Scott, a gentleman at whom the worse thing you could hurl was accusations of shocking and blatant Kubrick theft and having a crap brother. That man is now dead and has been replaced by a Hollywood buttmonkey sequel wrangling Bruckheimer affiliate, who will almost certainly take the 'special edition' phenomenon full circle, follow in the footsteps of Cameron and Spielberg and utterly and perminently fuck up the best thing he ever did. The new edition, even if it's only slightly inferior, will subsequently become the only available edit from now until forever and the Blade Runner we know and love, like the stories of when Han killed Greedo on purpose, shall become a thing of legend.

So for the love of God go and buy a copy of Blade Runner RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Of course, he might improve the film, but I doubt it.

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