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While having an underwhelming performance at the box office, Blade Runner 2049 has been praised by film critics. From my own point of view, I believe that it is better than Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. I was mesmerised by Blade Runner 2049 from beginning to end. For me, one of the things which will help this film in the long run is the fact that it will not be tinkered with to the extent that Blade Runner was.
Indeed, Ridley Scott made several changes to Blade Runner before he finally settled on The Final Cut. That version of Blade Runner is widely regarded as the definitive version of the film. Denis Villeneuve has no inclination to change Blade Runner 2049. The film that was theatrically released is the only cut we will see. Indeed, Denis Villeneuve has squashed the idea of releasing the first cut which was a four-hour version of Blade Runner 2049.
This is what Denis Villeneuve had to say about the four-hour version of Blade Runner 2049 in an interview with ScreenCrush:
“The thing is, it’s true that the first cut was four hours and at one point we were like, ‘Okay, do we go to the producer and release it in two?’ But let’s say the idea of the movie being in two parts didn’t get out of the editing room. [Laughs] No, the best incarnation of the movie is what is in the theater. What was striking is that the four-hour cut was quite strong. But personally I prefer the one that is in the theater because it’s more elegant, I would say. But there are some scenes that were like [makes boosh sound]. Quite strong”.
Villeneuve went on to say this about extended cuts and whether the theatrical version of Blade Runner 2049 is the only cut we will see:
“I will say that there’s no great things that are being lost. When I cut something, it’s dead. It means it was not good enough. Even if sometimes I’m cutting my favorite shots, I still strongly think that when it’s cut on the floor of the editing room it should not go back to see the light of day again. I don’t like extended cuts. I must say, apart from Touch of Evil and Blade Runner, I have never seen a director’s cut that was better than the original. I mean, I’m not a fan at all of Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought it was a massive mistake to do Apocalypse Now Redux. It’s true that maybe sometimes the director lost control and had to do what producers – but, most of the time the movie stands by itself. It’s stronger than one individual […] I will not show it to anyone, the four hours, it doesn’t work. The movie you see right now is the one […] What you see is the long version, the original director’s cut, full version is in theaters right now”.
I am pleased that Denis Villeneuve has taken this stance. I do not believe that Blade Runner 2049 would be improved by releasing an extended version of it. Certain films, however, have been improved with the released of an extended/director’s cut. Kingdom of Heaven comes to mind as well as Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Aliens.
Yet, as Denis Villeneuve states, the theatrical version of Blade Runner 2049 is the director’s cut of the film. Just like Rian Johnson with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the version of Blade Runner 2049 that played in cinemas is the cut the director is happy with. It is the definitive vision of the film and I am extremely pleased about this.
Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.