June 29, 2014
Blade Runner is one of those films in which people profess to like more than they really do. Or, perhaps through the lens of nostalgia or some facsimile, people enjoy remembering it more than they enjoyed watching it. Speaking for myself, I never liked it. And, among my film enthusiast peers (who confided in me in hushed tones), they too admitted their general malaise for the movie. Whatever ending or version one watches, the film never settles in a place in which characters are worth rooting for or where subtext is given more than a cursory glance. In short, it is a film ripe for an editor's eye who might be able to wrangle a more satisfying experience out of it.
Sadly, Ranger613's Tears in the Rain isn't quite it.
To the editor's credit, despite cutting a third of the original's run time, the edit never feels rushed. The only oddity worth mentioning is the lack of narrative conclusion to the part played by Sean Young. The idea that a replicant can be fooled into thinking it's human never has a subtextual callback. Her character is necessary though and cannot be completely edited out as she comes to Decker's rescue at a critical juncture that (probably) cannot be remedied with the tools available to any editor. To this extent, I forgive this short coming.
However, at just an hour and ten minutes, the film still felt laborious in the latter part of the second act and much of the third.
Two things that can save a dull movie are fascinating soundtracks and exquisite cinematography. Speaking to the latter, Ranger613 goes big by opting for a black-and-white, high-contrast take on the (admittedly) already great camera work from the original. However, puzzling to me was that his edit lacked sharpness and was unfortunately plagued with pixelation and artifacting in the darkest parts of the frame. When I saw that the film was under 90 minutes, and was over 7 gigs without extra features, I just assumed all those 1's and 0's would be going towards a crystal clean image. But this is not the case. I'm not sure if the editor had the ability to make this on a source that was HD, but if not, that was certainly to the detriment of this project. This is the kind of movie that needs a superior image to really sell the experience.
Regarding the film's score, it appears that the editor never felt compelled to address it. The synthesized sounds might, by some, be argued as a layer of subtext to model the plight of the replicants (synthetic humans, synthetic music, etc...). I find it a cheap reminder than we're watching something from the early 80's. I'm under the impression that an overhaul to the film's score would help breathe more life into the more mundane points of the movie. I admit I could be alone in this assumption.
Ranger613 has stated that his edit is not supposed to be a "fixed" version of the original (a film he, unlike myself, claims to be among his most cherished). Rather, this edit is merely a different or alternate take on the material at hand. In this respect, it really does come off as something unique from its source material. The original is a long, bloated experience, while this is curt and focused. This edit better correlates with the visualization of a short story, not a screenplay. I liked this, and I sense there's room to take this concept even further.