The DVD release of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds is, for better or worse, about what fans of the director would expect. While the film itself is impeccable, the special features, and bonus material are disappointing to say the least.
Lets start with the bad, that way we can end the review on a positive note. Disc one of the two disc set contains the main film, and some deleted and extended scenes. It also has the film with in a film “Nations Pride” in it’s entirety. This is not nearly as impressive as it sounds, the film is only 5 minutes long, and while gripping in the context of the larger narrative, it’s pretty bland on it’s own. The first disc also includes trailers, but none of this enriches the viewing experience.
On the second disc, there is an interesting 30-min roundtable with Tarantino and Brad Pitt, as well as a quick run through of all the posters and historical references in the film, as well as some gag reels (ie – shout outs to the editor and slate markings). There’s also an interview with Rod Taylor and the original “Inglorious Bastards”. But again none of this gives the viewer any insight into how the film was made or why on anything but a trivial level. The round table discussion with Tarantino and Pitt is wonderful, but this is a director, with an encyclopedic memory of film history and who loves to talk (and at a mile a minute no less), and yet there is only one 30 minute discussion with the man (and this time is split between two other people). There is no commentary, and no featurettes into the making-of process.
But I shouldn’t be disappointed, this is at it’s been for every Tarantino DVD release. Clearly he’s not big on behind the scenes explanations and prefers to let the finished work speak for itself. Luckily in this case, it absolutely does.
The film itself is beautiful, the transfer is crisp and clear, and the audio is sharp.
The flilm itself is one of the best of the year, with the possibility of taking home best picture. (the only real competition so far being colony/Ramis’ “Up in the Air”).
The story is told in 5 parts and introduces the audience to 5 different storylines rich in characters such as: Shosanna (Escaped jew in hiding), Inspector Landa (the “Jew Hunter”), Pitt’s Aldo Rain (Nazi Scalper), and his Inglorious Basterds, but also Bridget Van Hammersmark (Acrtress turned Double agent) and even Hitler himself.
The performances are stellar all round, but Christoph Waltz steals the show, and is headed for an oscar nom if not win.
The film is filled with a number of geniously written and directed scenes, in fact it starts off with probably its strongest scene, in which Waltz's Landa interogates a French dairy farmer regarding escaped jews.
But even if that scene stands out as the strongest, its not as if the rest of the film fails to measure up. The stand off in the French Pub is dazzling in its textural complexity and multi-layered suspense.
The film caps off with one of the most glorious cinematic climaxes put to screen, and the film is definitely worth watching if only for that final scene.
In conclusion, Inglorious Basterds is almost review proof at this point. The DVD is on par with what you’d expect, so there’s no surprises. Still, one wishes that Tarantino would be a little more generous with behind the scenes material. That being said, the film is phenomenal and definitely recommended to anyone, especially cinmea lovers.