Mark Costello’s review published on Letterboxd:
More a review of the recently released 4K UHD Blu-ray, which is so good it deserves its own mini-review.
This is simply a fantastic transfer to disc, far better than I was expecting both in terms of the visuals and audio. Visually, still only watching on a 1080p projector, the detail was incredible - so sharp for the vast majority of shots, it only softened very occasionally.....and by soften, I mean that the film looked its age. For the most part, this film looks like it was shot yesterday. Yes there's occasional grain, but its wholly appropriate and should be there and looks nicely organic and part of the overall aesthetic. Rich blacks were backed up with lovely deep colours that I can only imagine look sumptuous in HDR. Its fantastic.
And the Atmos (the main reason for my purchase) is as good, if not better. I played it loud but what a total package this is - from Vangelis' haunting and ethereal score that oozes out of the entire room now, to throbs of LFE, to tight surround steering, to crystal clear dialogue, this, like the picture, is not the soundtrack of a 35 year old film - this is a barnstorming blockbuster of a track that again sounds like it was mixed with the most up to date technology available today. Its fantastic - so much so that the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 which went on straight after sounded relatively limp. There was a muscularity to the BR soundtrack that, along with the physicality of the SFX, really sucked you into the world. God, its good........
The film itself gets better with each viewing - the thing I took away from this viewing is how sophisticated its view of the replicants and the relationship with the humans were. Instead of the routes so many modern films take, whereby AIs seek to surpass their creators (don't worry rant fans, plenty of time in a fortnight to rant about Scott's other sci-fi film about androids......), here they seek to simply emulate them. It adds so much to the human themes of mortality and its so much more relatable to us - the scene with Rachel playing the piano and letting her hair down has so much more weight and impact than a similar scene at the start of Alien:Crapfest because she is desperately trying to be like us, wanting the music to have an emotional meaning, rather than something that was just being programmed........take that, multiple Fassbenders!
Building in their short lifespan also gave them a singular goal that aligns almost wholly to ours - we all want to live longer. Its simple and allows so many more direct comparisons to us (take JF's methuselah syndrome as a case in point), which ultimately supports brilliantly the question of who is right and who is wrong - the replicants who just want to live and be left alone to live? Or the Human's who mercilessly hunt them down, with no regard at all to what they are trying to kill........god I could go on for pages more (I won't you lucky things you), but there's so much texture to the story, that I think is often so easily missed because things like the design, world building and the score almost overpower the viewer, especially on first viewing. Comments like 'Deckard is the worst detective as he doesn't do any detecting......' are nonsense. How does he go from Leon's apartment to the scale, to the manufacturer to the club, to JF's house without being a detective? Its sensible and logical and its simply not the main thrust of the story.
Summary - the film gets better and more relevant with age, with me noticing more and more about the nuance of the story with every watch. Superb. As a disc, this is simply a must buy for anyone with a UHD player. Projector fans don't worry about the incremental PQ upgrade - the film looks amazing. And if you have an Atmos set up, well.........you've got your new favourite disc. I almost don't want to wait until next year for my next watch now......it still is that good.