Blade Runner 30th Blu-ray set

Mid-Week Poll: Do We Need Another ‘Blade Runner’ Box Set?

Los Angeles, 2012. Warner Bros. prepares to unretire ‘Blade Runner’ in the form of new premium Blu-ray box set. Who’s buying?

While I suppose the movie isn’t for everyone, ‘Blade Runner’ is by far my favorite film for a number of reasons. Even so, the recent announcement of a 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition instantly made me wonder, “Do we really need yet another ‘Blade Runner’ set?”

For something like a seven-year period ranging from when I first got into DVDs to when I shifted to Blu-ray, we, the fans, waited for not necessarily a better cut of ‘Blade Runner’ (although many did want a new cut), but something better than the barren DVD release. With the rights to the movie such a big mess, it seemed like even getting a DVD with a decent case (the original DVD came in one of Warner’s awful cardboard “Snapper” cases) would never happen. So, when ‘The Final Cut’ was announced, I was psyched and ready. I watched the ‘Final Cut’ in theaters, and I pre-orderd both DVD and Blu-ray editions. It was in fact my first Blu-ray, and while I wasn’t sure that I would be ready to take the plunge by the time the set was released, I knew that I didn’t want to be left without a copy if the title went out of print. Years later, my fears about the Ladd Company and Warner Bros. pulling the Blu-ray seemed unfounded, and I bought a new copy of the five-disc Blu-ray for a friend for $20. It was housed in an even slimmer case than my first-run copy. Yet, since then, the studio retired the set, which must have had a built-in four-year lifespan. Now a new premium set will take its place.

The new set promises a new Spinner model, a new art book, seamless branching of four versions of the film on one Blu-ray, over 10 hours of special features (up from the 9 hours promised on the previous edition), the Workprint feature version, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

Looking back on the older collector’s sets that I have, I really like the Warner Bros. Special Edition DVD. I like the box itself, which reminds me of a nice LP set, and has a throwback feeling entirely congruent with the film. The film cell is nice, but I’ve always favored the full size screenplay, which anyone can find on PDF if they hunt around the internet.

The briefcase that was released for the 5-disc ‘Final Cut’ edition continues to disappoint. Each item included seems crummier than the last. The plastic briefcase itself begs to fall whenever picked up with the case sleeve on it. In this case, “slipcover” really means slip-cover. The spinner and unicorn models are plastic junk on the level of bad cereal prizes, as is the Deckard hologram. The concept drawings are the only piece of this set that I care for.

Considering all the ‘Blade Runner’ media that I already own, does that make the 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition a necessary edition, or definite omission?

Will You Buy the 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition of 'Blade Runner'?

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  1. You know, I have no less than eight unique editions of Blade Runner on Laserdisc, most purchased for their cover art, yet I never owned that “Special Edition” DVD box set, which just seemed superfluous to me for some reason. I was probably burned out on collecting Blade Runner at that point.

    As I recall, that box came out as part of a wave of other titles (I believe The Perfect Storm was one) that all looked basically the same. They just didn’t do it for me. I can can see that crummy Snapper case housed in the middle of it in your photo.

    I don’t mind the briefcase set (I have the HD DVD), even though it’s a bit overdone. I also have the Final Cut Blu-ray Steelbook.

    I’m undecided on the new Blu-ray box. If it’s just a repackage of the old Blu-ray set with a UV copy thrown in, I don’t think I need it. But if the movie is a new encode and there are any interesting new bonus features, I might cave.

  2. One of my absolute favorite movies (without narration). The look and feel and story of this movie is cinematic gold.

    Would like to own everything associated with this movie, but I don’t have throw-away funds. I’ll stick with the blu ray.

  3. hurin

    I already have the bluray, all the extras are available on the net, and I never had the desire to own merchandise. So no thanks.

    To bad the artbook isn’t a digibook, because if I did have to buy the movie, I would definitely want it. It is a really beautiful cover.

  4. I’ve got the five disc HD-DVD box set, so I’m happy with that for now. I was tempted by the briefcase, but the poor quality that I heard about stopped me from bothering to pay the extra (Though I would have loved the concept art cards). But I’ve got a book on the special effects with plenty of that kinda stuff anyway.

    If they brought out something like the Alien or Star Wars vault books with the Blu Ray, I’d consider that worth it. Then again, they’ll probably do something like that anyway, as its own entity, which is even better. 😀

  5. William Henley

    Yeah, I am pretty much with everyone else.

    When the DVD came out, oen of my friends picked it up. He was raving over how great it looked. I had already had DVD for a couple of years at that point, and thought it looked awful. I passed.

    I bought Blade Runner on Blu-Ray pretty much on Day 1. It was not my first Blu-Rays, those were Phantom of the Opera, and Last Samurai. Actually, I just checked the release date, and I had already had Blu-Ray a year when it was released.

    I just bought the standard case one. I drolled over the collector’s edition, but I couldn’t justify the high price. The Standard Case sold for like $35, the breifcase was $100, and I just couldn’t justify that, especially when the Harry Potter trunk set was selling for $90 with 5 films (granted, sales price versus retail price, but, because of the release date of Blade Runner, no one was really putting it on sale at that time – places at that time were still selling Blu-Rays for close to MSRP, and there was really no reason to discount them, because us early adoptors would pay those premium prices).

    Anyways, about a month later (January of 2008), Netflix stopped carrying HD-DVD, I saw the writting on the wall for them, and picked up a player. Within two weeks, Best Buy gave me a $100 refund on the player, and places started clearing out their HD-DVD stock. I COULD have picked up the briefcase for $25, but at that time, I already had picked up the Blu-Ray just a couple of months before, and really saw no reason to rebuy.

    As for this release, I would only get it if there was a new transfer that looks significantly better. I don’t see, though, how it could be any better. The transfer got a 5 star rating in 2007, and I don’t see how it could be any better. In fact, I remember someone telling me that it was a 4K scan.

    So, yeah, I really don’t see me buying this movie again.

  6. I have to think that this new set will eliminate the two DVD discs from the last set, while retaining all the content.

    As for off disc content, I would be more tempted by a metal model/replica of the Tyrell building.

  7. Shayne Blakeley

    Voted maybe, but it’s very unlikely. I haven’t gotten around to picking up a blu ray copy of this yet, but certainly will eventually. I don’t particularly want or need a large set though, I’ll probably just pick up a standard case version at some point.

  8. I too have the HD DVD briefcase. I remember seeing a 30% discount on a mere month after the original release date and thinking: “Wow, only $70 for all that content. Now that’s a bargain!”. Because then, of course, normal HD DVDs cost $30.

    Still one of the finest presentations ever to hit home video, high definition or not. What a nice gesture to include all 5 cuts.

  9. I have the HD-DVD but have been slowly replacing them as I find good prices, but as many times as the Bluray set went on sale when it first came out, it really hasnt since and I’m not paying another $30 or more to replace it, but this new set might be the time I finally do….