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The Sacrilegious "Good Guy Deckard" Edit

Wakeupkeo

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OK, I am ready for the hate.

As much as I love Blade Runner, the "Date Rape" scene just doesn't age well for me. I voluntarily delved into a deep discussion on Reddit about the NEED for this scene, with advocates arguing that the scene is needed to show an aspect Deckards growth in regards how he treats replicants, how HE fundamentally sees THEM.
  • I would argue that the scene serves as an important character moment for Deckard, and that it’s absence from the film would have a negative impact on the development of Deckard’s character, which I would argue is more important than the plot. To paraphrase an excellent analysis of Blade Runner: “The issue of identity is Deckard’s central struggle in the film. His inner conflict comes from the gradual breakdown of the only identity he’s ever had as a Blade Runner. When Deckard - who has no family or relation to speak of - tells Rachael that she is indeed a Replicant - in effect destroying her identity - we can see that his self-definition begins to turn on him. He starts to feel her pain as his own and he begins to loath who he is. He compensates for his self-hatred by drinking. His aggressive sexual encounter with Rachael later in the film is a compensation; a search for a new identity in love... He forces her to say “kiss me” because he needs that reciprocation for it to be real. That is not an excuse for assault. It’s an exploration for why it happens.” Furthermore, I would argue that Deckard isn’t necessarily meant to be the most likable protagonist, and that the whole point of the film is make audiences empathize with the Replicants, who are depicted as being more human than the actual humans. So if you look at the film from that perspective, then I would argue that the scene you are referring to between Deckard and Rachael is fitting given Deckard’s character and how he is presented to us.

I initially agreed with these overall points - about Deckard's identity and that his treatment of Rachael allows him to "develop".

And then I was informed about the original script draft:

  • July 24, 1980 draft:

    ...They get in Deckard's car and drive out to the countryside, while Deckard's voiceover talks about how they had a lovely day and he taught her a song about monkeys and elephants. And then Deckard takes her out in the snow and shoots her in the head. If he hadn't done it himself, they would have done it, his voice-over explains. But now Deckard can't go back to the city, and he's no longer sure what's really real. Maybe nothing is. He drives off. The end.
Holy shit. In the original draft, he didn't "develop" very far at all. Many of those same people also will agree the movie is about the replicant experience because of Roy Batty and crew, while simultaneously writing off how utter fucked up Rachael's experience must be too from her POV.

As I began to rewatch the movie with the focus PURELY on the experience of Rachael... She seems trapped. Think about it. She had nowhere to go, she knows she will be endlessly hunted, she wasn't allowed to leave, after being tossed against the wall, she was told she must repeat the words of the one guy who knows she really is, the one she knows is breaking rules by NOT killing her, and she doesn't want to piss HIM off. The rest of the world wants her dead. He is still her only chance. Hell, he reminds her of all this quite blatantly.

For instance, he tells her she must repeat his words, after keeping her from leaving, after telling her she will always be on the run from others like her. She does not have many options. Then, the lines they say at then end are parallel of his earlier need for her to parrot back his words, like she is conditioned, like she understands the rules. She seems more trapped as I watch more, in many ways he is exploiting her lack of options to his benefit. As much as we want to say he is bad, he is also COOL in this movie, and as much as people want to say "That is not an excuse for assault... it’s an exploration for why it happens," this movie does not question whether is SHOULD happen at all, it acts as an excuse for his actions.

I bring all of this up because of this whole "Deckard-centric" idea of a "bad Deckard." I agree many that that the whole point of the film is make audiences empathize with the Replicants, and I argue that the more the audience views Deckard in a "bad guy" view, the less the audience has to identify with the way the replicants are treated by society as a whole. I completely agree with you that the Replicants should be sympathized with, that they are a metaphor for a marginalized society. But by viewing Deckard as a bad guy, and making him the focus of the movie, it allows the audience to say "hey, its just bad guys that hurt these replicants, not the society as a whole." However, from the replicants POV, it's society as a whole that is the problem, not just Deckard. The less we focus on Deckard as an outlier society and more of an avatar of it, the more the plight of the replicants is made aware (especially if the "love" aspect is removed). The development of Rachael through this whole thing, and her development of not knowing who she is and who she can trust is actually pretty deep, while not completely obvious.

If we change one thing, giving Rachael more autonomy in wanting to stay near the protection of Deckard as opposed being trapped, her character arc becomes much more empowering. They don't "fall in love," he just begins caring for and protecting her.

So this edit addresses the whole perspective of a "bad Deckard." I agree many that that the whole point of the film is make audiences empathize with the Replicants. I further argue that the more the audience views Deckard in a "bad guy" view, the less the audience has to identify with the way the replicants are treated by society as a whole.

Here is the new scene depicting Rachael's autonomy. Unused Vangelis tracks used in place of "sexy saxophone" track.
Basically we turn Racheal letting her hair down into her transformation to acceptance of her new reality as a non-human, and we cut before Deckard goes too far, leaving the rest as a implied or a mystery until he rushes home at the end to check on her.

BONUS: I also delved in deep to all the different official BR versions and deleted scenes, so this clip also has my repurposed Bryant and Gaff discussion. Hopefully this shows that Gaff speaks English to those he respects - until he doesn't, which would imply more resect for Deckard at the end when he suddenly speaks perfect English. Now its not quite so "suddenly."
 
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Malthus

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That scene never sat well with me and was nixed in my Ghost Runner projects. Looking forward to this one Keo.
 

Wakeupkeo

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Other notes on this edit:
  • No VO.
  • No Unicorn Dream.
  • All original releases used, but core source is based off the workprint narrative.
  • Trimmed to "show, not tell."
  • Edited for a more modern flow and pacing.

This edit tries to imply that Deckard is, in essence, a retired IT specialist from back when replicants were easily distinguishable from humans. His job grew considerably darker as the replicants became closer to humans. Now, he only gets visual briefs on Leon and Roy now, requiring more "detective skills." to identify the female replicants.

Roy and the other replicants are portrayed more as victims rather than villains, and *most* references to them killing innocent people are removed.

While still manipulated as part of Roy's plan, Sebastian is more of a sympathetic ally for both Pris and Roy and wants to help, rather than being "intimidated" into helping.

Gaff gets slightly more character depth as well, with some help from some shots from the deleted scenes, showing that he only speaks English to those he respects and that he is trying to get promoted to a Blade Runner but faces discrimination within the system as well.

Here is a sample of the interaction with Deckard and Bryant. Removal of "If you're not cop, you're little people" implies dirt Bryant has on Deckard is forcing Deckard to comply. Deckard clearly doesn't want to do this work anymore, and "possible" police antagonism does not seem enough of a motivating factor. We also bring in shots of Holden, although for these purposes he is just a vegetable now and used to show Deckard realizing how deep in danger he is. I am admittedly adding a small continuity error that I hope is not too noticeable, and dialogue is heavily edited.

Main Change List:
  • Lots of alternate camera shots used from the Alternate and Deleted scenes, upscaled with Topaz AI (thanks @Malthus for the help and tip!)
  • Workprint intro used of the definition of Replicants, remove the lines "Specifications and quantities - information classified", and "Copyright 2016."
  • Most outside shots have been adjusted to feel more polluted.
  • Adjusted intro shots to create one long cut of the eye, merging the two separate shots together
  • Slowed the shot zooming into the office in the Tyrell Building
  • Used the Deleted Scene Shot of Deckard reading the Newspaper (better shots of people at the bar IMO)
  • Used the Deleted Scene wider shot of Gaff approaching Deckard (shows the noodles better)
  • Cropped Gaff out of the shot of Deckard eating noodles while heading to the station (removing when Gaff's mouth is moving but there is no dialogue)
  • Initial shot of Bryant before Deckard enters his office removed
  • Dialogue with Bryant adjusted so the replicants did not kill a crew of a shuttle to return to earth. Removed "If you ain't cop you're little people" to imply Bryant has something obligating Deckard to him.
  • Added and adjusted the deleted scene to have Deckard visit (but not talk to) Holden before his briefing with Bryant.
  • During the Bryant briefing, removed mention of killings by Replicants, removed the need to tell Deckard about "Nexus 6" since they are just the next model of Nexus, and Deckard only sees profiles on what Leon and Roy look like, not the female replicants he will eventually kill, keeping the "Have you ever retired a human by mistake?" question more important.
  • Shot of Tyrell's office dimming is rotoscoped to keep the room dimming but shortening to remove the part where Deckard "fake removes" the machine from the briefcase. (something that bugged me ever since high quality version of this scene was released - I never noticed before but now I can't unsee it)
  • Deckards questioning of Rachael is edited to feel like many more questions were asked.
  • Leon's apartment scene is adjusted, and shots from the deleted scenes were added: Deckard opens the drawer first, past the newspaper and matches and finds the photos, Leon walks by, Deckard checks under the mattress, then hears the buzzing neon from the bathroom (from deleted scene). Also, alternate shot of the scale being put into the evidence bag is used, as the shot from the official versions makes the scale look heavy like a guitar pick, something that always bugged me)
  • Deleted Shot of Leon emerging from subway used before seeing Roy in the phonebooth.
  • Hannibal scene trimmed so he doesn't mouth words without dialogue as Leon is poking around to his left.
  • Hannibal doesn't ask if Roy is Nexus 6, he knows.
  • Shots of Deckard in his crappy kitchen with jello molds around removed.
  • Theatrical cut of scene of Deckard at piano without unicorn dream used.
  • Shots of excess curled photos on Deckards piano removed.
  • Deleted scene of Deckard pulling scale off the fish of another customer's food added.
  • Scene with inspection of the scale trimmed to remove the serial number mention.
  • Hasan's snake shop no longer has a cop right outside (its a seedy area where this guy operates)
  • Deckard doesn't ask Zhora if the snake is real.
  • Deckard and Rachael scene tightened for pacing. Deckard begins bonding with Rachael, nothing more.
  • Deleted scene of Bryant and Gaff in the briefing room added and adjusted to be reviewing audio of Deckards interaction with Zhora. This allows us to hear Gaff speak English so his last line in the movie isn't so odd that he speaks perfect English out of nowhere, and allows us to see his mutual contempt for Bryant.
  • Couple shots of J.F's long nose toy looking weirdly at Pris removed.
  • Removed Roy kissing Pris and JF interuppting them uncomfortably.
  • Removed ominous looks by Roy and Pris about JF
  • Slowed down the shot of the elevator slowing down.
  • Removed implications that Roy killed JF after killing Tyrell. JF just ran away.
  • Gaff only tells Deckard "I guess you're done now" and walks away.
  • Deckard doesn't ask Rachael if she loves him.
  • No Gaff V.O. while Deckard looks at the unicorn. Its apparent what the unicorn means.
 

Wakeupkeo

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QKUx4QD.jpg
 
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Wakeupkeo

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Released! Thanks to @Malthus for the awesome direction towards using Topaz AI myself on upscaling the deleted scenes!

This is an edit for an admittedly small audience, but I am very pleased with the result, I hope a few others are too. But as amazing as the original movie is, I am ready for the hate on this one!
 

The Scribbling Man

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I've never been a huge fan of blade runner; I find it an interesting film that's more style than substance. Certainly not something that's untouchable. I think the Final Cut is probably the best official cut, but I don't care for the unicorn or date rape. I'd be open your take. Did you use any of TM2YC's regrade for this?
 

Wakeupkeo

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Thanks for the interest @The Scribbling Man
Initially I used the Penultimate cut, its what got me started down the road for this edit. So some shots were still used in the final, but were often the source that I used before I made them "more polluted." The final is mostly shots from all the various official versions of BD though now, I ended up pulling from all of them.
 

Wakeupkeo

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Wow, thank you SOOO much for the amazing review @RecordCorral ! I am so glad this edit has an audience. This is truly motivating!!!


And thank you to
@The Scribbling Man for the great review and just taking the time to give it a watch! I appreciate the notes, and will try to address my motivations for them, hopefully not in a defensive way LOL. No response is bad IMO, I learn from it all!
  • Its always funny, I don't think I changed any other score than the Rachael piano scene, which used some unused Vangelis tracks, but beyond that, I stuck to the originals. But visual aspects were moved just enough to feel different, so maybe that is what it was.
  • As for picture quality, I definitely "softened" things partly for pollution and partly so the upscaled deleted scenes wouldn't stand out as much, a bit of a compromise in order to add those, I appreciate the comment about consistency! That was definitely my goal!
  • And you did catch my one known frame issue, and indeed it was to remove the date. Great catch LOL. I tried every other option to adjust the scene to remove the date and keep the scene motivations intact, as I believe it is SO important. I truly did try a ton with this. And I questioned the whole removal of dates at all for this very issue. But I felt that the date removal was so important, one frame issue was worth the narrative benefit. I hope I was right! I tried to morph and rotoscope the frames to minimize it as much as possible, and I hope that it was not so obvious it pulled you out of the story for a second. Noticeable to a pro, but maybe not for the general public, considering how many other errors I found in the original movie that people do not usually notice LOL.
  • So glad the narrative worked, and great note that Sebastian and Pris time felt short. Mostly only quick shots within the scene like sinister looks that I removed, but there were a couple larger "chunks" removed, like Pris smoking before hiding in the trash. I could consider adding them back.
  • Thank you for the positive comments on the Racheal scene and the Photo analysis scene, hurrah! So glad those hit well!
  • Father/F*cker line - I actually totally agree with you, I like Father better. I had that originally, but felt I was messing with this classic TOO much, and I read how it was recieved badly as typical Ridley Scott revisionism LOL. But I do like that better there too. Its true that there was not as much trimmed for pacing as I could and typically do, I was definitely fighting the urge the whole way because I didn't want to put off hardcore BD fans. I think there may be an 80min cut that gets really lean, on my possible futre list.
So again, @The Scribbling Man I am a big fan to you, a Legend in Fanedits, so to get feedback like this from you is so awesome to me, and I do not take it lightly. All great and valid notes!!! Thank you!!
 

The Scribbling Man

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You're very welcome, Wakeupkeo! I wasn't aware I'd achieved "legend" status 😅 that's very flattering! I wouldn't call myself a pro either, since fanediting can't be a profession - we're all amateurs here 😁

Interesting about the score! I've seen the film so many times and could have sworn there were more changes, but it seems I'm imagining things. I've got a couple of thoughts on one or two of your other points,. I'll PM you about them when I've got a mo.
 

Wakeupkeo

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FYI Due to the great response, I am working with The Scribbling Man currently to tighten a frame issue and get the quality up slightly more, there will be a v3 file eventually for your library, if you enjoy this edit!
 
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Wakeupkeo

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An additional big thanks to @The Scribbling Man for helping fix the one frame error issue! Amazing solid work! Thank you so much!!!

Final V3 version is out now! Love the response this has gotten, I am quite surprised there is an audience for it!
 

Wakeupkeo

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Thank you @ajsimmo for the kind review!!

This is one of my favorite edits by far to rewatch, and I am so glad whenever it gets some attention.
 

Wakeupkeo

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Heck yeah! Incidentally, any chance you are eyeing Gunn's Suicide Squad for a possible special edition?

No plans as of yet - I LOVE what Gunn is bringing to the DCEU!

I mean come on... Do you really wanna Do you really wanna Taste It?!?!
 

Wakeupkeo

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Thank you @DAVIE so much for the very thoughtful review.

While I am disappointed that you didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped, they are all fair criticisms! Mostly down to POV where some of my intentions didn't land as well for you, great feedback to hear for possible future revisions.

The pollution levels probably would be noticable next to TM2YC's Penultimate cut, the cleanest version of BR I have ever seen. If thats not already in your library, it should be. Its amazing, and has voiceover and no voiceover versions, etc. Its the gold standard.

And the new Vangellis song was an unused song they released, to cover the saxaphone song that usually happens when Deckard forces himself on Rachel. You are right!

Anyways, in this hobby, quality constructive criticism come less often than hoped, so I thank you for the thoughtful feedback!
 
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