Blu-Ray Review: Masterful ‘Inglourious Basterds’ One of 2009’s Best Blu-Rays

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CHICAGO – If only there were more filmmakers with visions as unique as “Inglourious Basterds” and the guts to put their reputation on the line. Thriller, drama, comedy, action film, and a slice of revisionist history that plays as a modern revenge fantasy, “Inglourious Basterds” plays even better the second time through and shines with a fantastic Blu-Ray release. It’s a total blast. Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

Audiences were drawn in by previews that incorrectly made “Basterds” look like a big summer action movie, but they found a more dialogue-driven film about the power of propaganda that proved to be even more rewarding. I have to admit that I suspected most viewers would be turned off by “Inglourious Basterds,” but I was happily proven wrong and I think the film serves as proof that not every summer movie needs to be a Michael Bay action extravaganza.

Inglourious Basterds was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 15th, 2009.
Inglourious Basterds was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 15th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

The film, told in chapters, opens with the two characters who are arguably the leads in the film as they provide the true through-line through the story - Shosanna Dreyfus (later played by Melanie Laurent) and Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) - in arguably the best scene of the year in any film.

Inglourious Basterds was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 15th, 2009.
Inglourious Basterds was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 15th, 2009.
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

From there, the life of Shosanna, now the manager of a movie theater rented by Goebbels himself to show Nazi propaganda, intersects with a few crazy Americans (including Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, and BJ Novak), a British double agent (Michael Fassbender), a German actress (Diane Kruger), Landa, and Hitler himself.

Almost everyone in “Inglourious Basterds” has a reputation that precedes them. Pitt and his men, on a quest for as many Nazi scalps as possible, usually leave one man alive to spread their legend. The power of propaganda and secret identities (every major character pretends to be someone else at one or more points in the film) propel this fascinating film from one our most interesting directors.

Thrilling, gorgeously shot by Tarantino’s regular collaborator Robert Richardson, and with a great ensemble (recently nominated for a SAG ensemble award) led by likely Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds” is a must-see. As he has done for years, Quentin Tarantino has delivered a film that feels like it could have come from no one. It is one of the few films of 2009 not easily dissected, discussed, or dismissed. Whatever you may think of it, you need to see it.

And there’s no better way to see it than in spectacular 1080p courtesy of Universal Home Video. They’ve long produced technically impressive Blu-Ray releases but this may be their best of the year. It’s a “show-off title,” the kind you put in to show off that Blu-Ray player or HD TV that Santa brought you this year.

Special features on “Inglourious Basterds” include 3 deleted/alternate scenes (none of which are that interesting), a half-hour roundtable discussion with Elvis Mitchell, Tarantino, and Pitt, “The Making of Nation’s Pride,” “Nation’s Pride,” “The Original Inglorious Bastards,” “Quentin Tarantino’s Camera Angel, “A Conversation with Rod Taylor,” “Film Poster Gallery Tour.” and more.

Clearly, it’s an extensive collection of special features with a nice variety of supplemental material like the film-within-a-film (“Nation’s Pride”), posters, and the Mitchell interview, which features Tarantino in classic form and Pitt more comfortable and open than usual. A commentary would have been nice, but what is provided and the technical specs for the film itself, along with the high quality of the movie itself, work together to make for one of the best Blu-Ray releases of the year.

‘Inglourious Basterds’ is released by Universal Home Video and stars Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, BJ Novak, Til Schweiger, and Michael Fassbender. It was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 15th, 2009. content director Brian Tallerico

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