Inglourious Basterds

Featured In Issue 146, January/February 2010

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Quentin Tarantino
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1, DTS 5.1
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Inglourious Basterds takes place in war-raged Europe and follows a Nazi-scalping squad of Jewish-American soldiers, known to their enemy as "The Basterds," and led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt). While conducting their mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich, Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Kruger). As the mission advances, the group is unexpectedly aided by Shosanna Drefus (Laurent), who as a young girl witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Fates converge at the Paris cinema, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own, and as for "The Basterds," well, they never take prisoners. (Gary Reber)

Special features include a roundtable discussion with Writer/Director Quentin Tarantino, Actor Brad Pitt, and Critic Elvis Mitchell (HD 30:45); three extended and alternate scenes (HD 11:26); the featurette Nation's Pride (SD 06:10); the making of Nation's Pride (HD 04:00); The Original Inglourious Basterds (SD 07:39); a conversation with Actor Rod Taylor (HD 06:43); Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitter "beer" (HD 03:19); Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angle (SD 02:42); a "Hi Sallys" Editor Sally Menke gag (SD 02:09); a film poster gallery tour with Elvis Mitchell; the Killin' Nazis Trivia Challenge game; another poster gallery; trailers; D-BOX Motion Code™; BD-Live functionality; plus a digital copy of the film.

The 1080p AVC picture is an impressive cinematic achievement, visualized with 1940's stylization. Contrast and lighting are superb and engaging with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Dimensionality is excellent. Colors are beautifully rendered, with rich and warm hues that are deeply saturated throughout. The reds and greens of countryside foliage pop through the screen with dramatic intensity. Fleshtones are naturally rendered, though, occasionally slightly saturated for effect. Resolution is excellent throughout and reveals fine facial features and object textures in buildings, interiors, and clothing, which heightens the sense of realism. The slightest grain is apparent, but never distracting, and actually enhances the cinematic stylization. At times, though, moments in scenes can appear a bit dense and plugged-up, which detracts from the otherwise stunning cinematography. This is a wonderful picture experience that is engaging throughout. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is effectively produced, with intelligible dialogue that is either production sound or ADR. The dialogue, at times, is slightly chesty and weighty but generally nicely integrated spatially. The sound is a mixture of nuance interior sounds and dialogue, with effective Foley effects that end up with a monaural focus and intense action laced with loud gunfire and explosions, as well as sound effects that convey skull cracking, beatings, and throat cutting. Surround envelopment is nicely produced, with atmospheric and sound effects that convey soundfield dimension. The crowded theatre scene is spatially dimensional, but the basement bar scene misses the mark of great surround and collapses to monaural. Then suddenly, when the shootout occurs, the surrounds energize and bullets spew in every direction, and then just as suddenly are back to undistinguished monaural. Other scenes also remain in monaural, unnecessarily. Thus, the soundtrack is inconsistent, and while surround envelopment does at times deliver an engaging holosonic® presence, it unexpectedly collapses to monaural. The music is also inconsistent in that some segments are terribly dated in fidelity, while other segments are modern recordings. Nonetheless, the music delivers an aggressive surround presence that is terrific! D-BOX Motion Code tracking is only present during gun battles and in transient moments of intense movement, such as violent acts. Still, when active, the effect is exciting! Low-frequency effects delivered by the .1 LFE channel are effective when fully energized and nicely intensify the scene and add solid bass foundation to the soundtrack. This is a mixed-bag soundtrack, with spectacular moments of surround envelopment and creativity and other moments of undistinguished monaural sound. Still, overall, the experience is engaging. And the climax scene is extraordinary! (Gary Reber)