Pulp Fiction, Blu-ray (1994/2011)
Starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Christopher Walken, Amanda Plummer
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Studio: Lionsgate/Miramax [10/4/11]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras: New interview with cast, New critics’ retrospective on the film’s place in film history, Behind-the-scenes footage, “Pulp Fiction – the Facts” featurette, Production design featurette, “The Tarantino Generation” – Siskel & Ebert, Independent Spirit Awards footage, Cannes Film Festival footage, Tarantino interview on Charlie Rose Show, Still galleries, Trivia track, Deleted scenes (over 6 hours total of extras)
Length: 154 minutes
Pulp Fiction has been called a “cultural phenomenon” – a wild and almost exhausting blend of low-rent crime, comedy, corruption, drama, thriller, violence, and an inventive mix of various short pulp fictionish stories – delivered with amazing unexpected and profanity-laced dialog, spoken by terrific actors from the indie scene. I recall years ago first seeing it at a crowded theater in Sausalito and thinking of getting up in disgust and leaving at several points, but deciding to stick it out to see how it was all brought together. I guess the over-the-top point has moved for me in the meantime, and/or the world has changed, because this time I felt Tarantino was a genius in his second film.
There are basically three short stories, not really related chronologically (but don’t expect a Memento), all brought together by the end. Pulp Fiction reestablished John Travolta as a top actor, and almost redefines filmmaking with its fast-moving bunch of characters and seemingly totally honest and quotable dialog. And although the basic stuff here is mostly old and corny pulp fiction plot lines, Tarantino has skillfully twisted them into an amazing treasure-trove of major surprises.
Granted, it’s not for everyone. You may want to turn it off after the shot of adrenaline scene or the accidental blowing off the head of the guy in the back seat. But a lot of us feel this is a modern classic. I understand all the previous video versions (back to laserdisc) were pretty bad, and most had no extras. But the Blu-ray transfer—in which Tarantino was involved himself and approved it—is excellent, the lossless DTS surround involves you more than the original track did, and most of the over six hours of extras are fascinating to watch if you have the time and interest (though they suffer from a familiar problem when there’s lots of extras – repetition of some interview bits in different extras).
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.