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review added: 8/6/02



Pulp Fiction
Collector's Edition - 1994 (2002) - Miramax (Buena Vista)

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVsEncoded with DTS & Dolby Digital 5.1 Digital Surround

Pulp Fiction: Collector's Edition Film Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/A

Specs and Features

Disc One: Pulp Fiction
154 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, custom keep case packaging with slipcase, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:07:54 in chapter 12), enhanced trivia subtitle track, Jackie Brown DVD promo, Pulp Fiction soundtrack promo, DVD-ROM features (including script-to-screen, trivia game and screensavers), mini-replica of the Jack Rabbit Slims menu, liner notes booklet, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, soundtrack listing, scene access (26 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & DTS 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and French, Closed Captioned

Disc Two: Pulp Facts
Pulp Fiction: The Facts documentary, 5 extended and deleted scenes with introduction by writer/director Quentin Tarantino, behind-the-scenes montage for 2 scenes, production design featurette, Siskel and Ebert At the Movies: The Tarantino Generation episode, Independent Spirit Awards footage, Cannes Film Festival: Palm D'or acceptance speech, Charlie Rose Show interview with Quentin Tarantino, 5 international theatrical trailers, 13 TV spots, 8 still galleries, 8 film reviews, 12 film articles, animated menu screens with sound, languages: English (DD 2.0), subtitles: none


Is Pulp Fiction the best film to come out of the 1990s? I personally doubt it, but then again, hey... it just might be. See, just like most things in film, that point can be debated and debated. But let that be a point debated elsewhere. A debate not worth having is whether Pulp Fiction is the most influential film released in the last ten years. That answer is undoubtedly: yes. And its writer/director, Quentin Tarantino, just happens to be the most influential filmmaker of the last decade. Go figure.

Structured as three distinct stories with a common through-line tying them together, the magic of Pulp Fiction is in the characterizations and dialogue rather than the stories themselves. In fact, the stories are pretty much standard B-movie fare. We've all seen these stories before in old movies, TV shows or pulp novels. But what Tarantino does is injects so much life into these tried and true stories, that he makes them end up feeling brand new and wholly original. It is pretty incredible how he grabs us as an audience and walks us through his world like an eager fan wanting to show off a new toy or comic book collection. He's as thrilled he pulled it off as we are. And he did it using tools we're all familiar with and used to. Then, when he spins them out from under us, we're absolutely injected into his world and we're not letting go until it's over. That's filmmaking and that's what makes Pulp Fiction such an incredible film.

You've all seen Fiction and if you haven't, then I have no idea why you're reading this review. Go watch the frickin' movie.

Those of you familiar with the previous release of the film on DVD, never fear, this edition gets the job done so much better. Miramax took the film, the original special edition VHS with the deleted scenes and intros and the Criterion edition laserdisc and just mashed them together into a delicious special edition DVD pie that everyone should run right out and buy the minute it hits store shelves. It's just that cool. Seriously.

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and looks really good. Tarantino films tend to be gritty and grainy, and that comes through here. Blacks show the grain, but are solid and show no signs of digital artifacting whatsoever. What we get is a very clean picture with nice color, wonderful skin tone and an overall pleasing presentation. Sound is kick ass as well. If you don't have DTS, you'll want it for this film. The soundtrack is presented in DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. Both are good, but the DTS wins with its very wide, very natural soundfield (one note - the menus indicate DTS 5.1 and simply Dolby Digital Surround Sound - the Dolby is true 5.1). All in all, the video and audio quality provides a great ride. I really enjoyed watching and listening to this film on DVD.

That quality, in and of itself, makes this DVD a must own. But so many of us demand extras that we can mull over for days. Well don't worry your pretty little heads. Miramax opens up the vaults for us here. First up on Disc One, along with the film, we get a very informative text-based trivia subtitle feature. This serves as a commentary track and does as good a job as Tarantino probably would have. Tarantino is a great filmmaker, no doubt about it. And he's a passionate fan. But he's not a commentary type of guy: at least as evidenced on commentary tracks on the DVDs of From Dusk Till Dawn and Switchblade Sisters. Sorry to his fans, but I'm glad he didn't do a track for this film. On this subtitle track, we get a lot of information about the film, the set-ups, trivia and nit-picky facts that may or may not be true but can be found on websites up and down the information superhighway. Like: hey, did you know that the bullet holes appearing behind Travolta and Jackson shot by the "forth man" aka "Seinfeld " where put there on purpose and aren't a production gaffe? Cough-bullshit-cough. Aside from stuff like that, there is a nice wealth of information that you may or may not have known. Fans of the soundtrack can go right to scenes of the film featuring their favorite songs, or watch a promo for the soundtrack. If you didn't buy, or plan to buy, the Jackie Brown DVD, a promo for that disc is here. And also on Disc One is a DVD-ROM section with access to a script-to-screen feature, screensavers and "watch and win" trivia. Neat, but it's DVD-ROM.

Disc Two is also packed with goodies. To start with, you get a very in-depth documentary recently produced for this DVD. Titled Pulp Fiction: The Facts, it's just that. Through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage we learn about the history, the shooting and the legacy of a film many of us have loved since the first minute we set eyes on it. Next up are five extended/deleted scenes. These are the same deleted scenes featured in the special edition VHS (as well as additions from the Canadian DVD/Criterion laserdisc). The whole thing is introduced by Tarantino in the same style as his Rolling Thunder intros. Also on tap are handfuls and reams of other material that's all fun to peruse.

There are two behind-the-scenes montages for scenes from the film. We see Bruce Willis and team shooting the car hitting Marsellus, and Willis makes a prediction (pre-Blair Witch) that someone will make a blockbuster motion picture with a video camera. And Tarantino shoots the dance sequence at Jack Rabbit Slims, calling out dance cues and doing a jig himself. In addition, a production design featurette focuses mainly on the Jack Rabbit Slim, the Siskel and Ebert At the Movies: The Tarantino Generation episode looks at the film as being a huge influence, some really rough interview footage with Michael Moore from the Independent Spirit Awards is included, the whole Cannes Film Festival: Palm D'or acceptance speech is on hand, a nicely done Charlie Rose Show interview with Quentin Tarantino is captured, and you can see all the different ways the film was sold around the world by watching a handful of international theatrical trailers and TV spots. We shouldn't forget the seeming millions of photos, poster art and concept drawings in the eight (yes, 8) still galleries. And, last but not least, for those wanting to read all about the film and gain some prospective eight years later, there are a nice selection of esteemed film reviews and articles about the movie, it's cast and Tarantino.

That's a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. And it's all good, and it all serves the film. I can't think of any one thing this disc is missing and that's a great thing. This is a DVD set I fully endorse all of you to go out and purchase. And if you have the original edition on DVD, you'll find a rebate coupon in this new edition for $5 off the purchase price to upgrade. It's a classic film, it's well made and it's as entertaining as anything released before or since. I'm a huge fan of Pulp Fiction, and this DVD makes me an even bigger fan.

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com




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