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Pulp Fiction: Collector`s Edition (2 Disc Set) (UK) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000039505
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 29/10/2002 23:50
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Review of Pulp Fiction: Collector`s Edition (2 Disc Set)

10 / 10


I had to have my arm twisted before I first saw Pulp Fiction at my local fleapit. Sitting in front of a tiny screen with tinny sound, in what is now a New Age church, I reluctantly sat lamenting the three hours of my life that I would never get back. Yet what followed was perhaps the best movie going experience that I have ever had. A couple of hundred people were crammed into that screen and for once became a collective audience. We all giggled when someone got stabbed in the heart with a syringe. There were guffaws of merriment as a repatriated POW gave a boy a keepsake that his father had died to protect. We were in tears of laughter as someone got his head blown off. These are not normally subjects of levity, but this film was certainly different. We went in a group of strangers and we left that screening comfortable with each other, treasuring the time we had spent watching Pulp Fiction. Naturally Pulp Fiction became an essential purchase, but I refrained from buying the DVD until this the 2 Disc Collector`s Edition came out, with an anamorphic picture and lashings of extras.

Pulp Fiction comprises not one but three stories, related through their characters and intertwined in an innovative and compelling way. Jules and Vincent are a couple of hitmen, who must recover a briefcase belonging to their employer, Marsellus Wallace. In another strand, Vincent must take Marsellus` wife Mia out for the evening, without succumbing to temptation and finally Butch Coolidge is an aging boxer who has to throw a fight at the whim of Marsellus Wallace and has to go on the run when he beats his opponent instead. Seen written down like that, these stories hardly seem inspiring, but Pulp Fiction takes these rather derivative tales and entwines them in an innovative and refreshing way, throwing convention to the wind while still paying homage to classic cinema. As the narrative twists and turns, this film will engross you.


Pulp Fiction gets the 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer it deserves. A clear and sharp picture with strong powerful colours showcases this film to best effect. There may be one or two specks of dirt but you`ll have to ignore the film and stay glued to the picture to see that. Trust me, you lose yourself in the film with alacrity and have no time to be examining the screen for miniscule flaws. This film is a visual feast, not only in Quentin Tarantino`s vivid and motivated direction, but also in terms of the splendid costume design and rich and lush settings. It`s like stepping through a time portal into the seventies, with rich browns and smoky reds giving the film a warm look, Tarantino creates a Los Angeles that has never been seen before and blends classic and innovative style to create something refreshing.


You get a choice of English DD 5.1 and DTS with English subtitles for the main feature. This is a dialogue heavy film and this remains in clarity at all times. The surround is subtle but effective, immersing you in the film without you even realising. Once again it`s a trip to the seventies as the soundtrack created for this film makes a singular statement. From the moment the Misirlou by Dick Dale and the Del Tones makes it`s anthemic presence felt over the opening titles, you realise you are in for an auditory treat. There is no incidental or orchestrated music, but the film is driven by carefully selected tunes from the likes of Al Green, Chuck Berry, Kool and the Gang and Dusty Springfield. When we are introduced to Jules and Vincent for the first time we hear Jungle Boogie and it heralds a classic scene. Oh, and then there is the dialogue…


What a feast of extras.

Disc One contains a little taster of the Jackie Brown DVD as well as soundtrack chapters. The soundtrack chapters list the tunes used in this film and selecting them takes you to the appropriate scene.

Disc One also contains the Enhanced Trivia track. This is more of a text commentary and while it isn`t an audio commentary it is the next best thing. I think that it may even be less distracting than a potential Director`s commentary from Tarantino, but that is just a personal opinion. The text boasts a wealth of information about all aspects of the film and it really is quite compelling at times. It`s well worth a look-see. This also isn`t mentioned on the slipcase.

Disc Two contains the meat of the extras presented in 4:3 and is only let down by the absence of subtitles.

There are five deleted scenes, the first four of which, I assume are taken from the laserdisc. They are prefaced by an introduction (of sorts) by Quentin Tarantino explaining the scenes and the reasons why they were cut, they last a total of 25 minutes.

Pulp Fiction: The Facts is a 30-minute documentary that takes a look at the making of the film with copious interviews with the cast and the crew. For a change there are few clips and much of the time is taken up with the interview, definitely a good thing.

Behind The Scenes Montages takes a look behind the Jack Rabbit Slims sequence and the Butch Hits Marsellus sequence. This lasts 10 minutes.

The 6-minute Production Design Featurette takes a look at the design of the movie. Unfortunately each picture is presented with a camera click and flash that very quickly p***ed me off.

Siskel and Ebert At The Movies: The Tarantino Generation sees the eponymous reviewers debating Quentin Tarantino`s contribution to cinema on the strength of the then two films. (16 minutes)

Independent Spirit Awards (12 minutes) sees Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson being interviewed as they receive their awards.

The Cannes Film Festival Palm D`Or acceptance speech is just that, with added heckler. (5 minutes)

The Charlie Rose Show is an in depth one on one interview with Quentin Tarantino. This lasts 55 minutes and there are no extraneous bells and whistles or movie clips, just a very interesting conversation between Tarantino and Rose. Well worth watching.

Finally there is the usual PR guff. 5 trailers from the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan. There are 13 TV spots. There are hundreds of still images, divided into eight galleries. There are 8 reviews and 12 related articles, all presented as pages of text that you can skip through.

Even more finally, in the case you get a page or so of production notes and 4 postcards featuring characters from the movie.

Pause for breath (inhale, exhale)


Pulp Fiction is perhaps the most memorable, influential and groundbreaking film of the nineties. It works on so many levels that this review can hardly do it justice. The dialogue is simply brilliant. Tarantino perhaps more than any other director fleshes his characters out. Where most films are about getting from one scene to the next as expediently as possible, in Pulp Fiction the characters are as close to real life people as you can get. Where else would you have two hitmen on their way to a hit, discussing the minutiae of their lives, just as real co-workers would do. The difference being that this isn`t just chitchat, but carefully scripted dialogue, and we get what is one of cinemas classic and enduring scenes, "The Royale with Cheese" endlessly quoted but always fresh.

Pulp Fiction also became an instant cult smash, as well as raking in the box office takings. Every scene is carefully observed, and there are enough movie references and trivia moments to have Internet forums buzzing for decades. People will be talking about the contents of that briefcase for decades to come (watch the trivia track for some interesting theories), they will also be memorising Ezekiel 25:17 in their droves and quoting at each other at Pulp Fiction conventions. (Do they have Pulp Fiction conventions?)

This is also one of the most visceral and shocking films of recent times, which is all the more surprising for the fact that there really isn`t much explicit violence in it. All the violence in Pulp Fiction is implied. The camera will cut away from the violence, focus on the instigators rather than the victims. The tension in this film does more to imply and accentuate any violent acts. For instance when Butch is looking for the watch Fabienne was supposed to retrieve and didn`t, the subsequent explosion of violence is all the more shocking because prior to this scene, Butch has been level headed and cool. Above all else he has been considerate and intimate with his girlfriend. What is more, he takes his rage out on the hotel room while Fabienne cowers in the corner, but he doesn`t lay a finger on her. Yet I find this scene more profoundly shocking than if he had. It is the implication of violence and the inspired build up of tension that accomplishes this.

The ensemble cast is simply brilliant. This film completely revived the career of John Travolta, who had been languishing in endless remakes of Look Who`s Talking. His Vincent Vega is instantly likeable but thoroughly amoral, who seems to spend a large portion of his life on the toilet. Samuel L. Jackson establishes the pinnacle of cool as Jules Winnfield and steals the movie. It`s still a crime that he didn`t win the Oscar for his performance. Uma Thurman graces countless walls in the classic poster of this movie, and her role as Mia Wallace is memorable, if for only coaxing John Travolta back onto the dance floor. Bruce Willis` career got a shot in the arm by playing Butch Coolidge after years of playing action heroes. Harvey Keitel as the Wolf, Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace, Christopher Walken, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Rosanna Arquette and even Quentin Tarantino himself all have memorable roles and contribute to the whole. No one puts a foot wrong.

Ultimately this is Tarantino`s show. His script and his inspired directing create this masterpiece. This may have been made prior to Memento, but the way that Tarantino plays with time and mixes the stories is dazzling. Not only is Pulp Fiction an instant classic, it`s startlingly original. My one, minor whinge is that unlike traditional Hollywood fare, Pulp Fiction doesn`t assume that the audience are idiots. In fact you are encouraged to use your noggin watching this film. It does get kind of heavy going and I find this isn`t the kind of film I can watch every day. But once every 12 months or so, I make a point to watch this film, and my faith in cinema is restored. Go on, treat your DVD player and buy it Pulp Fiction, you know it will thank you for it.

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