Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray)
I first saw PULP FICTION during its theatrical run in 1994 when my dad took me to see the latest “Bruce Willis action movie”. I was 15 years-old at the time and I remember my dad got a page from his office about 20 minutes into the film and had to leave the theater for about 30 minutes. He returned and although neither of us would ever dare talk during a movie, I could tell he was not only confused, but was frustrated that he had no idea what was going on. As the credits rolled, I wasn’t sure I completely took in every detailed nuance about the film, but I was certain I had witnessed something great. A year later I started my first job at a dollar theater while PULP FICTION was playing and one of my funniest memories was sitting in the lobby, waiting for the last showing to end when a young woman ran out of the theater, stopped a few feet away from the entrance and threw up. She looked up at me and asked with shock and horror “what in the world is going on in that room?” (referring to the rape scene). If that’s not a sign of a movie’s true greatness, then I’m not sure what is.
Any mention of PULP FICTION would be incomplete without giving proper attention to the dialogue. Virtually every line is quote-worthy and every actor delivers it with such perfect timing that each word means something. Whether it be Vince and Jules talking about giving a foot massage or Marsellus giving his speech about pride, the audience remembers what is said just as vividly as we remember what was shown. Given the explicit and often times surprising nature of what happens on screen, making the dialogue memorable is quite an achievement.
Aside from the obvious roller coaster the plot takes you on, Tarantino put a lot of time and effort into perfecting every detail of the film. A friend of mine in college wrote a 10 page paper about the hidden details (the announcement on the radio declaring the Jack Rabbit Slims dance trophy was stolen) throughout the film or the numerous theories about what was in the briefcase. And you could find yourself talking or reading about PULP FICTION and never even get to what it’s actually about (describing the plot is an act in futility).
When you look back on the film, there’s nothing on paper that stands out about it. Tarantino was riding high after the success of RESERVOIR DOGS, but he was trying to make a movie filled with rape, sodomy, violence and murder and chose an unproven Uma Thurman as his lead actress, a washed up and forgotten John Travolta as his lead actor and relegated Bruce Willis to a supporting role. But as we now know, Tarantino knows what he’s doing, as he’s proven repeatedly since 1994.
I contribute my love of film to Spielberg’s EMPIRE OF THE SUN, but I contribute my fascination and appreciation of film to Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION. I’ve seen it well over a dozen times since its initial release and each time I’m mesmerized by how fantastic this film is. It’s a film that you can sit with a group of friends and discuss for hours and still not cover every detail. Is it the greatest film ever made? That’s a bold proclamation, but this film has great dialogue, exciting plot twists and great acting, all weaved together in one fantastic, out of sequence masterpiece.
Video: Wow. I wasn’t expecting much from the video transfer given the film was made for $6 million back in 1994, but Miramax and Lionsgate put a lot of effort into cleaning the video up and the results are breathtaking. PULP FICTION has never looked better.
Audio: As great as the sound is, the audio might even be better. The surround channels are used masterfully and really add an element to the film that has been lost in previous home video editions.
Not the Usual Mindless, Boring, Get To Know You Chit Chat (42:59): This is a new feature that has most of the cast members getting together to talk about the film and how they became involved. As usual, it’s most interesting to hear from Tarantino.
Here are Some Facts on the Fiction (20:34): Five critics sit around and discuss the importance of the film on society and pop culture. One of the critics (Stephanie Zacharek) actually claims to not like the film, so it provides a nice balance to the discussion. Although I assume the other four critics spent most of the time trying not to backhand her across the room.
Pulp Fiction: The Facts Documentary (30:29): I don’t have my DVD anymore, but I’m pretty sure this was done when the special edition DVD first came out. This is a nice documentary that gives some background information on the film.
Deleted Scenes (24:37): Thankfully, the famous “Beatles or The King” deleted scene is carried over on the Blu-ray, so we can all continue to enjoy that scene. Tarantino has proudly boasted that he made the movie he wanted to make, but I do like that deleted scene.
Siskel and Ebert: The Tarantino Generation (16:01): This is a little dated (obviously), but it’s great to hear two of the greatest movie critics analyze the influence Tarantino has had on his generation.
Behind the Scenes Montages (10:48): Exactly what it says it is; behind the scenes footage.
Production Design Featurette (6:20): The production designer and set decorator give a rundown of what they did on the film.
Independent Spirit Awards (11:30): Michael Moore (yes, that Michael Moore) interviews Tarantino.
Cannes Film Festival – Palme D’Or Acceptance Speech (5:19): Tarantino’s acceptance speech at Cannes.
Charlie Rose Show (55:27): One of the better Rose shows, featuring Tarantino talking for almost an hour and you still feel like he had more to say.
There’s also a giant Marketing Gallery with Trailers and TV spots