(Updated 29 May 2008)
Today (19 December 2007) was the Australian release of Blade Runner: The Final Cut! I was intending to pick up the 5 disc Ultimate Collector's Edition box set (with 5 versions of the movie and heaps of extras), but when I went into my local Sanity store they had a numbered, limited edition, briefcase pack containing the 5 disc release, so once I saw it I couldn't resist ;) The number on it is one of 4,400 but exactly what that means I don't know - are there only 4,400 worldwide? That sounds more likely than the same number in Australia, which would make them quite common, so I'm very happy to have been able to pick one up.
The Ultimate Collector's Edition is stuffed full of goodies, and for more info on it you could do worse than check out The Digital Bits review, which focuses on that release, and lists all the limited edition goodies as well. It's a 4 page review and covers all the video extras in detail.
This is what it looks like - it's a replica of Deckard's briefcase. The extras it contains are a set of 8 prints of concept art, storyboards etc., a motion clip, miniature unicorn, and a model of the Police Spinner vehicle in the movie.
The Australian release slips into a light cardboard sleeve with the numbered sticker on the sleeve (the sleeve is the black part with the angled sides). More durable than the bare briefcase, especially as I carefully slit the shrink-wrap and folded it into the sleeve to protect the edge around the opening, thus leaving it on to protect the whole outside of the packaging as well.
(This image was taken from the Australian EzyDVD online catalogue...)
Once I've checked out all 5 versions of the movie (rare pre-release workprint, both original 1982 theatrical releases, the 1992 'Director's Cut', and the 2007 'Final Cut', in that order) I'll post a short comment here. For now though the limited edition extras are very cool, and the whole package looks like one of the best limited editions I've ever seen and puts many other wannabe LE's to shame!
UPDATE 29 May 2008
Sorry for the delay, I forgot to update this, but at least it gave me the opportunity to see the Final Cut on a good HD LCD TV and comment on that experience...
Having watched all the different releases of Blade Runner, I'm impressed! If you are a big fan, then you could do a lot worse than to buy the 5-disc release with all versions of the movie, but you should at least get the 2-disc Final Cut release!
So what about the 5-disc set? The first, workprint version, of the movie is fascinating as it was the original vision, but due to a poor test audience reaction there were dramatic alterations for the theatre release. The three subsequent theatrical and Director's Cut releases are interesting if only to see how the movie evolved, but most of us would be fairly familiar with those versions by now.
But I was floored by the Final Cut release - it's simply one of the finest sci-fi movies I've ever seen! I watched the DVD version, via YPbPr (composite) 576p output, upscaled to 720p on my 26"/66cm Panasonic HD LCD TV, and with Dolby Surround audio through my 5-speaker Aiwa stereo (made before the Sony buyout, when Aiwa were still a good product.) The quality is awesome! It's right up there with the best new release DVDs (like Ratatouille), and although I've not seen the Blu-ray release, there's very little room for improvement over the DVD on a smaller HD LCD TV, at least in the sub-40" range, as upscaling these days is almost flawless.
Highly recommended! Either of the Final Cut release formats (2 or 5 disc) is a must-buy for Blade Runner fans, and the only decision you need to make is which one you can afford, and find!