Quentin Tarantino is one of my favourite directors. Movies such as Pulp Fiction and the two Kill Bill movies are sensational cinematic masterpieces which get regular plays in our theatre so whenever something new comes out it always grabs our attention, as was the case with Inglourious Basterds, Quentin's World War II movie which had been worked on for years prior to filming.
Once upon a time in German-occupied France, Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. She narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine organises a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridge Von Hammersmark on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own...
From the opening moments of this movie I was hooked. Chapter One of this movie - Tarantino has again split this into Chapters - sees a French farmer, Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet), and SS Officer Col. Landa have a conversation where they discuss letting rats into the house and comparing them to Jews. This is, in fact, one of the most memorable scenes I've seen in a movie in recent times. Lasting for almost 20 minutes this conversation is brilliantly constructed, and totally engrossing, with a Oscar-worthy performance from Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa (he is indeed he is heavily tipped for a Best Supporting Actor Nomination in the coming weeks). Gripping stuff and Tarantino at his absolute best. From there we move into other chapters which introduces other characters including the Basterds, the cinema and of course the finale which we won't disclose here.
For a Tarantino movie this movie does of course have some gore, there's some scalping of enemy soldiers, some shooting, but this isn't the action packed gore-fest that I expected. In fact it's quite restrained although there is still some pretty brutal moments such as the "Bear Jew" killing Nazi's with a baseball bat, slitting throats, and plenty of blood spray when the bullets start flying. However for all that gore there plenty of witty dialogue and conversations too.
Inglourious Basterds (intentionally spelt this way, but never explained as to why by the director) is another fantastic Tarantino movie. It's not all-out action and gore but rather builds the characters through a series of brilliant scenes before the fitting climax. Sure, it goes against history, but this movie is bloody good fun.
Indisputable is the superb video quality on this release. Universal Pictures have knocked this out of the park with an superbly detailed, realistic looking transfer to Blu-Ray. Presented in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. With a runtime of just over two and half hours I was astonished to find that the bitrate often hovered well over 35Mpbs according to the PS3 we are running it on, but for the majority of the picture it settled around the 25Mbps mark which is more then acceptable and indeed this transfer is free from any major blemishes with only a few extremely minor compression issues noticed.
Other audio tracks on this disc include Spanish and French DTS tracks encoded at 768kbps. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish and French. Much of the movie has dialogue in other languages and the feature film has English subtitles when required in a yellow font.
There are few extras on the Inglorious Basterds Blu-Ray including the pretty cool ability to control the disc from a small iPhone/iPod Touch application available in the store called Pocket Blu. I really did wish there was either an audio or Picture-in-Picture commentary from Tarantino on this disc, he's a very interesting filmmaker and anything he has to say is often very insightful. Still, this is what we have...
Extended & Alternate Scenes (11:26/HD): Three scenes are presented here "Lunch with Goebbels Extended Version", "La Louisiane Card Game Extended Version" and "Nation's Pride Begins Alternate Version". As expected they don't add to the storyline, but offer alternate takes on the three scenes.
Nation's Pride: Full Feature (6:10): The Nation's Pride Nazi propaganda movie is available here for its full viewing. It's only in Standard Definition, but this actually helps the film look older to some extent. The sound is a little muted, but again, it's probably what one would have expected from cinema at that time. As for the actual film, it's basically one Nazi sniper taking out a heap of American soldiers.
Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Elvis Mitchell (30:45/HD): This is quite an interesting discussion with the director and main actor in the movie with plenty of stories and anecdotes about the production and is well worth a listen. Tarantino is always interesting to listen to and he and Brad Pitt have a great rapport which comes of well in this interview.
The Original Inglorious Bastards (7:39): This is a look at the making of the original movie and the ties which it has to Tarantino's version.
A Conversation With Rod Taylor (6:43/HD): An interview with Australian actor who plays Winston Churchill in the movie with recollections of being directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitter (3:19/HD): Rod recollects a very amusing story from the set where Tarantino brings in a bucket of VB to recollect about Rod's movies and tells him about showing his early movies to the crew.
Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angle (2:42): A brief collection of the numerous and often very interesting camera angles used by Tarantino.
Hi Sallys (2:09): This is a brief clip with cast and crew saying hello to Sally, who is Sally Menke, Tarantino's long-time editor.
Film Poster Gallery Tour With Elvis Mitchell (11:00): This featurette looks at the numerous posters made for various scenes in this movie as well as the films and actors at the time.
Inglourious Basterds Poster Gallery (HD): 38 Promotional Posters for this film from around the globe.
Trailers (7:33/HD): Teaser, Domestic (US), International and Japanese trailers are presented here in pretty decent quality. Some of these trailers have scenes/moments that didn't appear in the final movie too.
My Scenes & D-Box (HD): Finally we have My Scenes where you can bookmark your favourite scenes and D-Box which gives a little extra rumble to those 3 people that may have this in the house!
Review By: Dave Warner