Tarantino once again shows why he is one of the best in the business.
Crummy extras.Inglorious Basterds is a brilliantly conceived tale of jews fighting back against their Nazi oppressors in World War II Germany. As the war in that country went forward, the U.S. unleashed a band of merry soldiers known as The Basterds. These people scalp Nazis under the leadership of Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). The film itself is essentially comprised of 4-6 long segments that are intercut together within the Tarantino universe. With dialogue that seems to come effortlessly to the director, the scenes are beyond tense as viewers wait to see what the characters are going to do. Everything within the film gets ratcheted up with the violence itself serving as the ends and not the means.
Without giving anything away to the people who have not yet seen the movie, Inglorious Basterds is a 21st Century War film. There are no movie moments and this isn't the kind of film that waxes on the futility of combat. Rather it seems to be a piece of fiction that wishes the true events that it is set had around, had actually come to pass.
Extended and Alternate Scenes
I was pretty excited about these. Usually, I am dubious because they are done for films that are so by the numbers that the extra scenes often don't reveal anything that would really be worth watching. This was thankfully not the case here. Tarantino is a master filmmaker of the highest order. His command of dialogue and scene structure really comes to the fore in this film that isn't afraid to let the camera linger. While I am sure that there is a lot of of this movie that we aren't seeing on this DVD release, fans will be excited for what they get here.
Anamorphic Widescreen - 2.40:1. This movie looked great in the theater and on this standard release it looks really good as well. What makes it great is that Tarantino and his cinematographer Robert Richardson know how to make long, tense scenes work every time. We get so engrossed in the dialogue that it's easy to forget that a given scene is 5-10 minutes (whereas in another other film it would've been 2-3). Add to this that Tarantino's long time editor, Sally Menke, has been put in charge of bringing this chop socky world together and one gets a film that transfers very well to the digital format.
English Dolby Digital 5.1 - Spanish and French Dolby Digital 2.0. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. The audio on this release is really good. I only watched it on my 13", one speaker television but everything played really clearly. There wasn't anything that I heard that sounded off or that stood out to me in any way. There was a richness to the sound design that made this release really play nicely across the entire film. Also, I thought Tarantino's use of music and sound effects nicely played into the overall design of this movie.
Brad Pitt leads the charge on this embossed white and red cover. The back cover gives us more shots from this film, a description of what this movie is about, a Bonus Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.
Spoiler Alert! Do Not Read Unless You Have Seen the Film!
The true brilliance of this movie is how it was marketed. By all accounts one might think that this was a Brad Pitt war film. The commercials, the posters and everything else played this up. However, he's only really in the movie for about a third of it, and I would venture to say that 3/4's of the movie takes place in German! So this isn't the kind of movie where the characters speak English, yet when they write or read something it happens to be in German. Not that there's anything wrong with those films, but leave it to Tarantino, the master of the pop culture blender, to be the person to make what amounts to a real war film in a long time.
There are people who are going to be upset at how the movie ends. There are people who will never understand how these characters can be taken seriously, and this is because World War II, and the Holocaust, are looked at almost reverentially. That said, while these events were beyond tragic and sad, Inglorious Basterds gives us a film where the Jews, when they fight back, do so with extreme prejudice.
This DVD is lacking in the extras department but if the film is all you want than this release of Inglorious Basterds is all you need.
Inglourious Basterds was released August 19, 2009.