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Pulp Fiction Steelbook [FR] Blu-ray Review

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  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: B
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: TFI Vidéo
  • Release Date: March 19, 2009
  • List Price: €20.49
 [amazon-product align="right" region="fr" tracking_id="bluraydefin01-21"]B001CRVY0K[/amazon-product]
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Overall
rating4-5
The Film
rating5
Video Quality
rating5
Audio Quality
rating4-5
Supplemental Materials
rating4

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(More Screen Captures 21 Total)

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG and thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

rating5

After announcing himself to the world with his 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs, writer/director Quentin Tarantino returned in 1994 with the self-assured and more fully realized triumph Pulp Fiction. A non-linear tale of gangsters, sex, drugs, and violence, Pulp Fiction showed a director who had matured exponentially in an unbelievably short period of time.

With a break out performance that resurrected the career of John Travolta, who had been languishing in the terrible Look Who’s Talking films, and memorable lines of hipster dialogue that reference decades of pop culture, Pulp Fiction would go on to define the Tarantino style of filmmaking — not able to be placed in any specific time period and filled with dialogue so rapid, so quick, that it is at first listen realistic, and truthful, but not quite. It would also go on to earn the filmmaker a Palme D’or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

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The film’s narrative follows three different general story lines loosely tied together. One story follows two hitmen Vincent Vega (Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) carrying out a hit for mobster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) and retrieving a briefcase with mysterious contents, one story is about aging boxer, Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis), on the run from Marsellus Wallace for failing to throw a fight, another follows Vincent Vega and Marselleus’ wife Mia (Uma Thurman) as he takes her for a night out, at Marsellus’ request, and things go awry. Sandwiching the film is the story of a guy and his girlfriend (Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer) holding up a diner.

Tarantino manages to weave these seemingly unconnected stories together seamlessly, jumping back and forth in time in his nonlinear fashion until at the end everything all comes together and makes perfect sense. It is artfully crafted, skillfully edited, and cleverly written (with the help of writer Roger Avary). Pulp Fiction may be one of the greatest sophomore efforts by a director in the history of cinema and it still stands as one of Tarantino’s greatest achievements, even with Kill Bill under his belt.

Video Quality

rating5

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This French Steelbook Blu-ray edition of Pulp Fiction from TFI looks superb. The film arrives in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in an AVC/MPEG-4 encoding that is sharp, detailed and free from any artifacts or processing misdeeds. Colors look natural, shadow detail is strong and contrast, though stylistically hot in some spots, is perfect. I cannot see how this film could be made to look any better on Blu-ray than it does here, but given the Disney track record, I would not be surprised to see an even better looking release from Miramax when this finally arrives in a Region A release.

Audio Quality

rating4-5

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Apart from very minor distortion on some passages of dialogue, the original English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) is a model of sound design. From the very opening moments in the diner the sound surrounds the listener, drawing him/her into the action. The surround channels are fully utilized and effectively filled with clearly audible atmospheric effects from chatter, to clanking dishes and traffic noise. There are also various instances of discrete panning of sound effects around the room, from dialogue to gunshots. And low frequencies are resounding, providing “oomph” to gunshots and punches. This is a nearly perfect and thoroughly entertaining mix, as to be expected from a Tarantino film on Blu-ray.

Viewers should be aware, however, that the English track comes with forced French subtitles, meaning, they are impossible to turn off. There is also a French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 dubbed version available.

Supplemental Materials

rating4

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There are a lot of good supplements provided on this release (once again, with forced French subtitles) including a Charlie Rose interview, the Palme D’or award presentation, and a Siskel & Ebert special dedicated to Tarantino and Pulp Fiction. The downside of the supplements here, however, is that they have all just been ported over from previous DVD releases and are only in standard definition PAL.

The supplements available on this release are:

  • Le Making Of/Making of (1.33:1; PAL) —  Behind-the-scenes footage of Quentin Tarantino filming Pulp Fiction.
  • Les Scènes Coupées/Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; PAL) — Deleted scenes each with a brief introduction from Quentin Tarantino.
  • Le Documentaire Autour du Film/The Story of a Film(1.33:1; PAL) — Documentary about Quentin Tarantino’s rise from a video store clerk to a successful Hollywood director through the sale of his script, Reservoir Dogs.
  • L’Interview du Designer et de la Chef Déco/Set Designer and Set Decorator Interview (1.33:3; PAL) — An interview with Pulp Fiction’s chief set decorator and set designer.
  • La Palme D’or Cannes 1994 (1.33:1; PAL) — The awarding of the Palme D’or to Pulp Fiction at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
  • L’Interview de Quentin Tarantino par Charlie Rose/Quentin Tarrantino Interview by Charlie Rose (1.33:1; PAL) — Quentin Tarantino’s appearance on the PBS series, Charlie Rose, finds the director discussing his film Pulp Fiction.
  • La Critique du Film par Siskel et Herbert/ Film Critics Siskel and Ebert (1.33:1; PAL) — A Siskel & Ebert television show from 1994 dedicated to discussion of Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction.
  • Les Interviews de L’équipe par Michael Moore/Interviews of the Team by Michael Moore (1.33:1; PAL) — Filmmaker Michael Moore interviews Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating4-5

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Pulp Fiction is a definite classic of modern cinema and anyone into film owes it to himself/herself to see this film at least once. With this strong Blu-ray release from TFI consisting of reference quality picture and sound, anyone in the English speaking world who doesn’t mind enduring forced French subtitles and has Region B playback capabilities should definitely pick this one up.

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