Blade Runner: The Final Cut

I went to see Blade Runner: The Final Cut tonight with Kara, during its limited engagement at the Ziegfeld theater here in New York.

In a word? Awesome.

And I do not say this lightly. I have been a major Blade Runner geek since I first saw the film on cable in the early 1980s; I came to revere it during my four years at NYU Film School, during which I saw a special theatrical screening of the original film at the Cinema Village theater on 12th street. Over the course of my film-school education, I wrote at least four, and possibly five term papers on various aspects of Blade Runner, ranging from its cinematic inception of cyberpunk to its blending of eras and genres to its religious symbolism, and much more.

As much as I have always loved and admired this film, I have also been one of the most unforgiving critics of both its original theatrical version and its so-called “Director’s Cut”, which in fact was nothing of the sort. The original and Director’s Cut versions are rife with glaring continuity errors both visual and spoken, as well as poor stunt-double shots. The original was marred by the peripatetic voice-over and the tacked-on happy ending; the Director’s Cut did away with those atrocities, but did nothing to address the other, more systemic problems.

This version does. Blade Runner: The Final Cut is the movie that I have always wanted to see. All the visual continuity errors I’ve been bitching about for nigh on 25 years? Fixed, thanks to the magic of Dolby ProTools and digital restoration. The bad stunt-double shots? Fixed, thanks to a re-shoot with actress Joanna Cassidy and more digital magic. The dialogue continuity errors? Re-edited and fixed. And best of all? These repairs are all subtle and seamlessly integrated into the film. If you hadn’t known where the errors originally were, you’d never know they’d been fixed.

The picture looks better than I’ve ever seen it, with stunning clarity, depth, and color intensity. The sound quality is hypnotic and crystal clear. I could’ve done with a touch less gore during Roy Batty’s scene with Eldon Tyrell, but I can live with it if that’s what Ridley Scott wants.

Don’t write this off as just another cheap ploy to make you buy another copy of a movie you already own. For the first time that I can remember, this one is actually worth it. I pray someone holds this up to George Lucas’s face one day and says, “See, you heavy-handed butcher of other directors’ films? This is how you restore a classic work of cinema! Get on your knees and grovel before Ridley Scott!”

As if you had to ask — I am definitely putting this DVD on my Christmas wish list. And if you have a chance to get out to the theater to see this on the big screen, I beg you: Go.

Past, present and future

Because everyone else is doing it, my take on the past-present-future meme follows after the cut…

20 years ago, I…
… was a clueless freshman at NYU film school, struggling to overcome the culture shock of moving from the small town where I’d lived my whole life with my own bedroom, to a dorm room I shared with two other guys in the middle of Manhattan. And, little did I know at the time, I had just met my pal Glenn, who in years to come would become my best friend and the conduit for almost all the good things in my life.

10 years ago, I…
… started teaching myself HTML from a book so that I could make a lateral transfer at my job in a trade-magazine company to work on a new Web site with my favorite boss of all time, who was like a sister to me. This move into Internet-based editorial work made it possible for me to make a jump a few years later into a much better-paying job.

5 years ago, I…
… had just introduced to my family the woman who would become my wife, and I had just finished writing Wildfire, my first solo novel, which opened the door for me to start writing paperback novels a year later.

2 years ago, I…
… was writing Warpath, my Deep Space Nine novel.

1 year ago, I…
… was putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of Reap the Whirlwind, the third novel in the Star Trek Vanguard series — my longest single work to date; and I was kvelling about my first non-Star Trek novel, Wolverine: Road of Bones.

So far this year, I…
… have written Gods of Night, the first book of my Star Trek Destiny trilogy; have said farewell to my beloved friend and rabbi, David Honigsberg, who passed away in March at the maddeningly too-young age of 48; celebrated my third wedding anniversary; and met my longtime rock idols Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Yesterday, I…
… confirmed with my agent that I’ve just sold my first original novel, The Calling, to Simon & Schuster; and wrote the first scene of Mere Mortals, the second book in the Star Trek Destiny trilogy.

Today, I…
… will write the second scene of Mere Mortals.

Tomorrow, I’ll…
… write the third scene of Mere Mortals. And so on, and so on….

Houston, we have a manuscript

I am pleased to post that, as of 2:30 a.m. today, I have finished the first-draft manuscript for Gods of Night, the first book in the Star Trek Destiny trilogy.

As a reward, I will now have ice cream. Then I will sleep.

Tomorrow, I will watch some DVDs and read a bit, just for pleasure.

On Monday I will start my read-through of the ms., to make certain that it’s internally consistent, and to polish it up as I go along. If all goes well, I will turn it in to my editors by the end of the week, and move on to book two, Mere Mortals next weekend.

One down, two to go. Yee. And, might I add, Haw.

Don’t know when I’ll ever get to use this…

…sometimes a phrase comes to me at a time when I have absolutely no use for it. This is one of those times, and the following is one of those phrases:

“It’s the literary/musical/dramatic/cinematic equivalent of a fart — it’s insubstantial and it stinks.”

If you steal it, remember to give me credit. Unless someone somewhere already used this exact phrase, in which case give them credit and remind me to slap my Muse for sleeping around again.

Jobs the computer says I should have

Snurched this from kradical‘s LJ…

The Career Matchmaker.

I followed the instructions he provided, and went a step further. I answered an additional round of 44 questions and added my educational level to the mix. That whittled my list to a more accurate but shorter total of 26. Similar to what Keith did, I’ve bolded the things I’ve actually done and italicized those in which I have some training but have not done professionally.

1. Writer

2. Actor

3. Special Effects Technician (wanted to be this when I was a kid)

4. Comedian (tried doing standup a few times back in the ’90s)

5. Artist

6. Critic (sure, I reviewed porn videos, but I used phrases like “mise en scene”)

7. Translator (I’d have to actually speak a foreign language first)

8. Musician (noodled with the guitar, just like every other guy in film school)

9. Director of Photography (cinemtography and videography training were mandatory at NYU Film)

10. Announcer (I’ve done V.O. work at my day job and co-hosted Internet radio shows)

11. Website Designer

12. Photographer (learning to use still cameras is a prerequisite for cinematography classes at NYU)
13. Interpreter (see note for #7, Translator)

14. Composer (ahem…no)

15. Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator (studied art in high school and college, drew cartoons for the college humor magazine, and had a one-panel cartoon published in a trade paperback in ’91)

16. Animator (skipped those classes at NYU)

17. Homemaker (hoping to do this once my wife is out of grad school and working again)

18. ESL Teacher (I’d consider this if we moved abroad to Europe)

19. Zoologist (me and wild animals? no thank you)

20. Illustrator (see #15)

21. Inventor (anybody want to lend me some tools?)

22. Activist (I gave up on my damned fool crusades a few years ago)

23. Public Relations Specialist (I believe the phrase that applies here is, “Ha!”)

24. Art Director (not unless I want to go back to school for six years)

25. Corporate Trainer (they must’ve tossed in this one as a joke)

26. Appraiser (not even close)

My Book Persona

Saw this on Dayton Ward’s blog, and I had to know…

You’re Les Miserables!
by Victor Hugo
One of the best known people in your community, you have become something of a phenomenon. People have sung about you, danced in your honor, created all manner of art in your name. And yet your story is one of failure and despair, with a few brief exceptions. A hopeless romantic, you’ll never stop hoping that more good will come from your failings than is ever possible. Beware detectives and prison guards bearing vendettas.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.