'Inglourious Basterds' explodes on to Region free Blu-ray with a truly stunning 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed handsomely in the 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio.
The transfer does full justice to Robert Richardson's beautiful photography and lighting. We're presented with a slightly muted colour palette, but when there is red on the screen it's very bright, bold and vibrant - no doubt reflecting the director's wish. The opening scenes have an authentic autumnal look and capture perfectly the varying shades of the leaves on the trees as well as the colour of the light.
Skin tones are faithfully reproduced and blacks are how we like them - nice and deep. Contrast is excellent throughout. Sharpness is superlative with no hint of ringing to spoil it.
There's a vast amount of detail on display here and the texture of the German uniforms sticks in my mind - something I'd never noticed before.
A fine veil of grain reminds us that this is film and it adds to the look and quality of the shots. That hackneyed phrase '3D pop' could genuinely be applied to this transfer. You'd expect a transfer of a recent movie to look good but this one is of a quality usually reserved for turkeys, which you'll understand if like me you've noticed this apparent trend. To say there's nothing wrong with this transfer is a massive understatement. The fact is, it looks superb.
Every Tarantino movie I've seen has had a memorable soundtrack and 'Inglourious Basterds' is no exception with its lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The dynamic range is wide as it goes from the very quiet multi-lingual conversations of the opening sequence between Landa and the Dairy Owner to the loud eruptions of gunfire and explosions later on. The sequence that probably highlights this best is the tavern sequence, which starts as a sotto voce chat, but when the elastic band finally snaps we have gunfire, bullets thudding into walls, bodies and furniture - giving the surrounds a good work out. The subwoofer has its work cut out for it too thanks to the bass content when the action kicks off. Amid all of the sonic mayhem, dialogue is kept crisp and clean which helps as those with schoolboy French and German will be able to translate the dialogue without referring to the subtitles.
The choice of music is interesting, from classical pieces to David Bowie - and it all sounds rich and full bodied on the Blu-ray. You would normally assume that there would be no technical deficiencies in a recent soundtrack, but 'Public Enemies' reminded me to never take anything for granted - so it's good to report a clean bill of health here. A stonking good soundtrack!
'Inglourious Basterds' comes to Region free Blu-ray as a 2 disc Special Edition with the Feature and Extras on disc 1, while disc 2 is reserved for the Digital Copy for those with a burning desire to watch it on their laptop or mobile device. Strangely, I could find no audio commentary track on the disc.
- Extended and Alternate Scenes (HD, total 12 mins)
We're offered three scenes in this section which are pretty similar to the ones in the final movie. First up is 'Lunch with Goebbels' which is an extended version and uses a different camera angle. Next is 'La Louisiane Card Game', another extended scene with more footage of the card game in the cellar bar. Finally, there is 'Nation's Pride Begins' which provides another couple of minutes of the audience taking their seats before the German masterpiece begins.
- Nation's Pride - Full Feature (SD, 6 mins)
This is the 'full length' version of the black & white German masterpiece featured in the movie as directed by Eli Roth (who is also one of the stars of 'Inglourious Basterds'). It's way over the top in terms of drama and patriotic stuff, but looks good.
- Roundtable Discussion (HD, 30 mins)
Here we have a conversation between Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino and New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell in front of some black drapes. It's interesting as it gives us an insight into why Mr Pitt liked the role of Aldo Raine and who he based his delivery on. Tarantino also explains the importance of language in the film amid the customary back slapping.
- Making of 'Nation's Pride' (HD, 4:00)
This is a send up of those 'Making of' docos with Dr Goebbels, the director and star of the German masterpiece really ripping the urine out of those in the film business who take themselves too seriously. Quite good fun.
- The Original 'Inglorious Bastards' (SD, 8 mins)
This short focuses on the original film that Mr Tarantino liked so much, he pinched its title, its Director and an Actor to appear in his 're-imagined' version. We're treated to some clips of the original edited together to look like a trailer. Not as fascinating as it might have been.
- Conversation with Rod Taylor (HD, 6 mins)
For me, this interview was worth its weight in gold. It starts off with a caption explaining to kiddywinks, just who Rod Taylor is and what he's done in the past. I thought this a bit of an insult to an actor of Mr Taylor's experience.
He comes across as a nice, down to earth guy and talks about his work on Hitchcock's 'The Birds' and playing Winston Churchill in this movie as well as some of his other films.
Good to see him alive and well.
- Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitter (HD, 3 mins)
This could have been part of the above conversation but it's an anecdote on its own about Tarantino obtaining some of Mr Taylor's favourite beer then settling down to talk about movies.
- Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angel (SD, 3 mins)
This is a whole load of 'clappers' from the start and end of different takes where the female German assistant uses some 'colourful' language to introduce each take. Funny for about a minute.
- Hi Sallys (SD, 2 mins)
A collection of messages sent by the cast and crew to Editor Sally Menke, sitting in the loneliness of the editing suite. A bit dull for the rest of us though.
- Poster Gallery Tour (SD, 11 mins)
Elvis Mitchell shows us the posters used in the film - both the ones based on real films and the ones devised by Tarantino and his buddies. This is a bit of fun.
- Poster Gallery
Just what it says on the tin.
- Trailers (HD, total 8 mins)
Here we have the Teaser trailer, the American Theatrical trailer, the International trailer as well as the Japanese one.
You'll notice some scenes in the trailers that ended up on the floor before the final release of the movie so they're interesting from that point of view.
- Killin' Nazi Trivia Challenge
If you like multiple choice quizzes then this is for you as it tests your recall of the movie content in 6 rounds of 10 questions with various insults if you get the answer wrong.
- Pocket Blu Interactivity
This new technology is meant to let you control aspects of the Blu-ray disc, as well as receive additional content on your iPod Touch or iPhone device. As I, happily, possess neither I was unable to test it.
Allows you to connect to a D-Box controller and get some butt shaking rumble into the proceedings.
Quentin Tarantino's wartime fairy tale 'Inglourious Basterds' comes to Region free Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer framed strikingly in the 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio. Colours look great with red being particularly vibrant in this pin sharp image which has just a hint of grain to remind us it was shot on film.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track really rocks with superb surround steering in the action sequences yet dialogue remains clear throughout.
There's a fine selection of extras, including a nice interview with veteran actor Rod Taylor in the 2 disc package that includes a Digital Copy.
The film itself is a multi-threaded War time fairytale that's well constructed with an unexpected outcome. Anyone who doesn't like Tarantino's work should give this a spin.
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- Extended and Alternate Scenes (HD, total 12 mins)