PULP FICTION (10th ANNIVERSARY): DVD
Three intertwining stories exploring the seedy Los Angeles criminal underworld, Pulp Fiction follows the misadventure of hit men Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) as they recover a stolen brief case for their boss Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames), the exploits of pro-boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) when he fails to throw a fixed fight and the troubled evening between Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's wife Mia (Uma Thurman) during a night on the town.
Review by Craig Miller:
Truly unique films take a genre and turn it on its head by doing something completely different in style and substance, totally reinventing it. To say Quentin Tarantino's 1994 crime/drama masterpiece Pulp Fiction successfully reinvents the crime genre is an incredible understatement - it's more a rebirth of modern cinema.
Pulp Fiction had a profound effect on pop culture and independent filmmaking - it's doubtful there's been a more influential film within the last decade - spawned a new genre unto itself, a sort of modern day crime noir-styled hip flick that still enjoys solid entries to this day and, truth be known, looks set to do so long into the future.
That kind of impact is reserved for the true masterpieces and, like great works of art whether they be paintings, sculptures, music, films etc, Pulp Fiction attracts as much criticism as it does praise. Much is made of that trademark Tarantino violence and, while there are moments in his films - Pulp Fiction and 1993's Reservoir Dogs in particular - that justify the moral snobby viewpoint, it is mostly over-exaggerated ramblings from un-objective detractors.
Tarantino's unique blend of sharp wit, punchy monologues, snappy dialogue, graphic violence and uncomfortable comedy is the reason Pulp Fiction works as well as it does. That and his reworking of classic linear story-telling techniques - chopping, pasting and intertwining three very different crime stories - makes for fascinating viewing. In fact, the three stories themselves - the boxer who's supposed to throw a big fight, dating the boss's wife and the hitman's change of conscience - are staple crime flick scenarios and very much the "pulp fiction" the title suggests. The irony of such "trash" making for one of the best films of all time is not lost on me!
The ensemble cast deserve all the praise that can be heaped on them. Both John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson where incredibly unlucky to miss out on respective Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars, both mesmerizing in their hit men roles, and Bruce Willis as sentimental boxer Butch is also terrific, with the talent and depth of the supporting cast adding even more quality performance layers.
The opportunity/privilege of enjoying this modern day masterpiece on DVD has been around for quite sometime, but it's not until now that it gets some quality bonus material. Yes, in true hip-pocket stinging DVD fashion, Pulp Fiction finally gets something of a "special edition" with its second DVD release now available.
This two disc 10th anniversary collector's edition - released here in region 4 a full year after its 10th anniversary (go figure) and almost identical to the overseas collector's editions - contains a bumper crop of featurettes and interviews and, while as a fan I'm ecstatic to see these outtakes, behind-the-scenes montages and docos, I can't help but be disappointed in the fact that there is no audio commentary. For such an important film and Tarantino's seminal work, it's a real shame the producers didn't commission a commentary from "The man" or at the least, some of the principal cast and crew.
The Pulp Fiction: The Facts Documentary is a fascinating 30-minute history on how Tarantino got his proverbial foot in the door from selling early scripts like True Romance for peanuts through to his breakthrough directorial debut Reservoir Dogs. There's plenty of interviews too with Pulp Fiction cast and crew while on the set in 1994 and from more recent press junket sessions in 2000-2002. Its edited together rather annoyingly and it gets overly gushy about Tarantino but, when you're a modern day pop culture icon, you're gonna get that!
If you love listening to Tarantino speak, then the Charlie Rose interview segment may well be the extra of choice. For about an hour Tarantino discusses his early childhood influences, his first jobs (an usher in the Pussy Cat porno theatre), writing and what inspires him.
The deleted scenes featurette, which can also be found on the previous release VHS edition of Pulp Fiction, is a wonderful collection of 5 scenes cut from the film and features in-depth intros from Tarantino who loves talking about these scenes and highlights just how integral the editing process is in producing quality finished product.
There's also some interesting behind-the-scenes footage showing Tarantino dork-dancing along to the John Travolta/Uma Thurman dance session as he films the famous scene, a short featurette from American critics Siskel and Ebert rabbiting on about the good and bad of Pulp and Tarantino, plus an hilarious but quite nerdy interview with Tarantino, Samuel L Jackson and producer Lawrence Bender hosted by documentarian Michael Moore at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Love or hate the man, choice is yours, but, for me, his work stands second to no director; a modern day filmmaker with vision, style and talent. Pulp Fiction defines a cinematic time, a film as close to perfection as any of the other popular "masterpieces" (The Godfather, Psycho etc). If it has been ten years since you've indulged in this iconic pop classic now's the time to relive it. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Published July 21, 2005
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PULP FICTION (10th ANNIVERSARY): DVD (R)
CAST: Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Rosanna Arquette, Eric Stoltz, Christopher Walken, Steve Buscemi, Quentin Tarantino
DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino
SCRIPT: Quentin Tarantino
RUNNING TIME: 148 minutes
PRESENTATION: Widescreen 2.45:1, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Pulp Fiction: The facts documentary, Deleted scenes with Quentin Tarantino introduction, The Charlie Rose interview with Quentin Tarantino, Siskel and Ebert: The Tarantino Generation, Production Design featurette, Behind the scenes montages, Interview from the Independent Spirit Awards, Palme d'Or Acceptance speech, Tarantino film trailers.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: July 21, 2005