Tarantino’s Nazi-stomping masterpiece gets a 4K upgrade

Brad Pitt takes no prisoners in Quentin Tarantino’s high-octane WWII revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds. As war rages in Europe, a Nazi-scalping squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” is on a daring mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich.

Every few years, in the aftermath of a new Tarantino release, the inevitable rankings occur. There are plenty of viewpoints but the majority seem inclined to put Inglourious Basterds at, or near, the top of their lists. An action movie, a war movie, a comedy, and a thriller rolled into one. It dives into our chilling past, then dovetails into a fantastical reimagining of it, something similarly seen in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It remains brilliantly constructed and relentlessly entertaining, and with the current political climate, its Nazi stomping remit feels more invigorated than ever.

A band of Jewish-American soldiers, the titular ‘Basterds’, operating behind enemy lines, in Nazi-occupied France. They are charged by their CO, Lt Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), with delivering one hundred Nazi scalps each. A mission to stir up terror within the ranks and cause havoc as the larger war effort looks to push the German front back. Brutal and entertaining, their efforts coincide with a long game being played by Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) to gain vengeance for her family, lost to the cruelty of ‘Jew-Hunter’ Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Two plots collide with fiery results as efforts to cut the head off the snake of the third Reich. Largely character driven, bigger than life personas balanced by the rawness of female rage and heroism. IB delivers the the dialogue and enthralling exchanges synonymous with Tarantino. Humor and spectacle, moments of suspense with violent panache. From an opening scene that displays the chilling cruelty of Waltz’s Landa, to an enthralling scene in a bar basement between Nazi officers and undercover agents, through Brad Pitt’s accents, and a barnstorming finale in a blazing movie theater. Simply put some of the most memorable set pieces and characters of his indelible cinematic output.

The Package

Having the previous Blu-ray to hand (which appears to be also what’s included in this package) allowed for comparison from the old to the new. The result is a notable step-up in image quality. Color reproduction is bold, skin tones are healthy and natural, detail is superb (faces and costumes as well as the authentic set design shine), and a good cinematic grain is retained. Note, this is apparently not a true 4K scan, instead an upscaling of an existing 2K interpositive. Extra features are limited to existing content, ported from the old Blu-ray release:

  • Extended & Alternate Scenes: The Goebbels lunch sequence, the La Louisiane card game, and an alternate take on the movie premiere scene are included
  • Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Elvis Mitchell: Just over 30 minutes in length, it covers plenty of details about shooting the film, script work, rehearsals, improv, and more. Great addition to the disc
  • Nation’s Pride: Full Feature: The propaganda film glimpsed in the feature, directed by Eli Roth
  • The Making of Nation’s Pride: An ‘in character’ featurette about the above, great comedy and cameos
  • The Original Inglorious Bastards: A short nod to Enzo G. Castellari’s original Inglourious Bastards and how Tarantino pays homage
  • A Conversation with Rod Taylor: A short chat with the actor who portrays Winston Churchill in the film. Big Tarantino fan apparently
  • Rod Taylor On Victoria Bitter: A little tale about Tarantino and an Australian beverage of choice
  • Quentin Tarantino’s Camera Angel: A young assistant uses her clapperboard duties to drop some puns
  • Hi Sallys: Little messages sent along on film reels from the cat, to editor Sally Menke
  • Film Poster Gallery Tour With Elvis Mitchell: Adding context to some of the movie posters that adorn the sets of the film
  • Inglourious Basterds Poster Gallery and Trailers
  • Also includes Blu-ray and digital download code

The Bottom Line

Inglourious Basterds remains one of Quentin Tarantino’s finest features. Bold, brutal, and deliciously entertaining. This new 4K release repackages plenty from the existing Blu-ray, but the step-up in visual quality is enough to justify that upgrade.

Inglourious Basterds is available on 4K Ultra HD from October 12th

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