Inglourious Basterds

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Inglourious Basterds DVD

Jan 5, 2012 (Updated Jan 5, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Action Factor:
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  • Suspense:

Pros:Christoph Waltz, some other characters, photography, the Allies win

Cons:Overlong and storytelling lacks focus

The Bottom Line: The latest from Quentin Tarantino puts a new spin on WWII and how the Germans lost the war.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

Inglorious Basterds (2010)
 
Universal recently released the DVD - Blue Ray Disk of Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Inglorious Basterds a pretty decent effort but like most of his work, not up to all the hype heaped up about it by the media.
 
Quentin Tarantino has been accused of ripping off various auteurs and this view has some merit but I look at him more as a media buff that has been given his fondest wish – to make action adventure movies with lots of blood and gore; and he’s pretty good at it.  His original film Reservoir Dogs has been my favorite of his works with honorable mentions going to Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown of his later works. 

The Tarantino-penned but Tony Scott directed True Romance was better than any of Tarantino's solo efforts.   Tony Scott has that sense of style that still evades QT, I think. Tarantino seems to be a filmmaker that peaked early and I’m not ready to change my assessment based on the evidence presented by Inglorious Basterds; maybe another few movies will tell the tale.

Tarantino
made his name quoting from all areas of pop culture, using a bunch of big stars playing the various roles in his earlier movies, and a pop music soundtrack.  This time he seems to have left out some of the big names yet kept the quirky dialog and tongue in cheek soundtrack that was another big feature of his style.

The movie is based on a WWII commando raid similar to that of the Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare with top billed Brad Pitt playing the commanding officer and a handful of Jewish soldiers playing the enlisted members of the team embarking on a fantasy adventure with all the resources at their beck and call.  Their mandate is to go behind the lines and kill as many German soldiers as they can. As an added feature, Pitt, using a drawl something like out of a B cowboy movie tells the group, 
 
“... When you join my command, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps.”  And so on...

The movie has five separate parts entitled chapters with the first setting the tone of the whole story showing a Nazi hunt for Jewish citizens in occupied France... 

We see the Nazi arch villain SS Col Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) who becomes one of the recurring characters.  Waltz is able to bring forth such a slimy Nazi rat that he really turns the viewer’s stomach, seemingly wanting to achieve the final solution all by himself.  Waltz is so good at his part that he actually outperforms nominal lead Brad Pitt which is bad from a casting point of view but I look for good things from Landa in more Hollywood films. The first segment ends as a lone Jewish girl escapes across the field and she becomes a recurring character and plays a part in the big finale.

The next segment introduces the Inglorious Basterds with Brad Pitt playing hounddawg drawling Lt Aldo Raine, apparently a takeoff on B movie star Aldo Ray who did dozens of actioners in the 40s and 50s.

The half dozen members of his platoon are Jewish and mostly forgettable except for a couple that survive long enough to participate in the final scene.

The movie has lots of long spaces where the editing scissors could have been gainfully employed but the viewer has to watch about twice as much film as the story warrants.  The finale takes place in Paris in a movie theater where the Fuhrer and his minions are celebrating their Nazi takeover with the Inglorious Basterds and the original Jewish girl, now played by the grownup Melanie Laurent who is the theater owner and a lot more gutsy than the rest of the French. Both she and Pitt’s team have plots to destroy Hitler and are working at it separately.
 
 
The biggest problem with the movie is lack of continuity and the story goes on in fits and starts rather than a smooth progression where the plot points are made yet the story keeps moving. The story pretty much bogs and stalls frequently before moving again.  Tarantino does not understand when to stop and just keeps rolling the camera long past the point of boredom.

The Universal DVD contains a 1.85:1 color version of the 2 hour and 34 minute movie.  There is easily twice as much movie as necessary to cover the points in the story so I have to give it an A for mindless action and a D for presentation and knowing what to leave out.  There is graphic violence that may make it unacceptable for young children but will be a big plus to gore fans.

In addition to the movie, there are deleted scenes and a roundtable discussion featurette, and a few other features to view in your spare time.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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