I can't believe they used outtakes from a different movie!! What the...?!?
Thanks for the info Wanderer, I didn't know any of that! Sounds like an absolutely train wreck, glad they had the chance through video releases and technology to salvage the film.
Warner Bros was the company that bankrolled both "Blade Runner" and "The Shining"... presumably, since they owned the rights to both movies, they figured it would be less expensive to create a new ending for "Blade Runner" by splicing together some outtakes from "The Shining" and tacking on a voice-over, rather than going out and shooting a new ending for real.
There is a big disconnect between the footage though - the bulk of "Blade Runner" is set in a world that is so polluted that it can barely support life... but the footage they used from "The Shining" implies that there is lush green woodland and pristine, untouched wilderness just a short drive out of town. Which makes you wonder why anyone would bother living in Los Angeles in the first place...
If you can afford it, the "Blade Runner" box set is quite an insightful look into the filmmaking process - it includes all three major cuts of the movie so you can compare the differences and decide for yourself which version is the best... as well as a brutally honest "making of" documentary called "Dangerous Days", which actually runs longer than the film itself!
"Blade Runner" is something of an odd duck - it's an extremely unfaithful adaptation of the novel, but I still consider it to be a brilliant adaptation because it remains so true to the central themes of the book, and in some ways, expresses them with more eloquence and compassion than the original.
I think the thing that most struck me about the novel (and it's the aspect of Dick's writing that gets lost the most in adaptations) is it's sense of humour - the way in which Dick takes incredibly depressing and soul destroying circumstances and writes about them in such a way you can't help but laugh.
Perhaps this dichotomy is something only the printed page can achieve... of all the various films made of his novels ("Blade Runner", "Total Recall", "Minority Report", "Paycheck", "Screamers", "Impostor") only "A Scanner Darkly" really came close to capturing the humour that is there in Dick's writing.