Pulp Fiction is sex, drugs, and rock & roll wrapped up in a visceral feature film. Quentin Tarantino’s tour de force was released theatrically in 1994 to widespread acclaim. Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary(Beowulf) won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film. Pulp Fiction was also nominated for Best Picture but lost that race to Forrest Gump. The film won the Palm d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994, in addition to a host of other awards elsewhere, and it is arguably the best film released in 1994.
PULP FICTION Blu-ray
Film Length: 2 hours, 34 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Vincent Vega(John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield(Samuel L. Jackson) are enforcers employed by Marsellus Wallace(Ving Rhames) to retrieve a briefcase belonging to Marsellus containing an unspecified dazzling treasure. Marsellus also has Vega entertain his wife Mia(Uma Thurman) when he is out of town and has Vega help him hunt down boxer Butch(Bruce Willis) after Butch crosses Marsellus.
Pulp fiction began historically as literature for the masses in serialized or stand-alone stories printed on very cheap (pulp) paper. The publications were assembled flimsily and were intended to be thrown in the trash after being read. Although pulp fiction was unrefined and mediocre for the most part, some of the greatest writers of all time were creators of pulp fiction. Charles Dickens was arguably a pulp fiction writer, as were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle(Sherlock Holmes), H.G. Wells(The War of the Worlds), Edgar Rice Burroughs(Tarzan, John Carter), and Robert E. Howard(Conan, Solomon Kane). Pulp fiction encompasses many genres, including westerns, romances, science fiction, fantasy, and detective fiction. Among the notable creators of pulp fiction in the crime genre are Dashiell Hammett(The Maltese Falcon), Raymond Chandler(The Big Sleep), and Mickey Spillane(I, The Jury). The plot for the film Pulp Fiction falls squarely within the crime genre, with a possible touch of science fiction and fantasy, depending upon one’s belief as to the contents of Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase.
Tarantino and Avary deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. One of the great accomplishments of the screenplay is its non-linear structure which is entirely apropos to pulp fiction, which often contained a number of unrelated stories in one magazine. The film would be one long continuing story if its chapters were presented in chronological order. The actual presentation of the story in non-chronological chapters makes it come across as a pulp fiction magazine, even though the respective chapters have some of the same characters in common. The extreme subject matter of Pulp Fiction was off-putting to some audience members but was entirely appropriate to a genre that celebrated lurid and sensational material.
Pulp Fiction is presented in 1080p high definition in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio using the AVC codec. The picture quality of this Blu-ray is excellent. Pulp Fiction has been release previously on Blu-ray for Region B in Australia and all Region in China. The Australian version suffered from, among other things, minor dust and debris visible on the transfer. The Chinese version was a step up from the Australian version but both previous releases had noticeably faded colors compared to this release. Tarantino reportedly oversaw this new transfer and the result is near reference quality with excellent contrast and fine detail. Edge enhancement is minimal to non-existent. Other than some possible loss of shadow detail in one scene, this transfer would be impossible to improve upon in any way.
The lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio does great service to the music in the film, as well as the dialogue and sound effects. Music is mentioned first only because Pulp Fiction benefits from a great selection of songs, notably Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang and Dick Dale's surf-rock version of Misirlou. Dialogue is always audible as it should be over music and sound effects and there is some nice directional audio for immersive effect with crowd noises and gunshots.
The special features from previous DVD releases have been ported over to this edition in 480p. Unfortunately, the deleted and extended scenes have not been remastered and are presented in standard definition in a pillar box format.
The special features new to this release are presented in 1080p and are as follows:
Not The Usual Mindless Boring Getting To Know You Chit Chat(43:01): Uma Thurman’s dialogue is used appropriately as the title for this feature consisting of interviews with the cast members regarding their memories of making the film with Tarantino.
Here Are Some Facts On The Fiction(20:37): A roundtable of film critics discuss the film, including Elvis Mitchell, Stephanie Zacharek, Scott Foundas, Andy Lucas, and Tim Klein.
The remaining special features have been ported over from the DVD release in standard definition and include all of the following:
Pulp Fiction: The Facts documentary(30:31): Interviews and behind the scenes footage of the making of the film.
Deleted Scenes(24:39): These deleted and extended scenes include the introductions by Tarantino filmed in the 1990s. Although the intros may have been filmed and edited in standard definition, it is disappointing that the film footage has not been remastered in HD and presented in a modern widescreen format instead of a pillar box format. These may be selected individually or with a "Play All" option.
Behind The Scenes Montages: This consists of Jack Rabbit Slim’s(4:44) and Butch Hits Marsellus(6:02).
Production Design featurette(6:22): Production designer David Wasco and set decorator Sandy Reynolds Wasco provide comments and examples of the carefully selected aesthetic choices for the film.
Siskel and Ebert "At The Movies"(16:00): Film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert discuss the influence of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.
Independent Spirit Awards(11:29)): Tarantino talks to Michael Moore about the film.
Cannes Film Festival: Palm d’Or Acceptance Speech(5:20): Tarantino’s acceptance speech is preceded by the announcement of the winner by Kathleen Turner.
Charlie Rose Show(55:27): Rose interviews Tarantino in this episode that aired originally on October 14, 1994.
Marketing Gallery: Consists of theatrical trailers and TV spots. Pulp Fiction posters, Academy Award campaign, and Trade Ads are also included as stills which may be navigated using the arrows on your remote control. The theatrical trailers are as follows:
The TV spots narrated by announcer Don LaFontaine are entitled as follows:
On The Move (0:31)
Movie Event (0:31)
Academy 7 (0:31)
Travolta Academy (0:30)
Enhanced Trivia Track: This text feature, when selected, presents trivia in subtitle form during playback of the film.
Stills Gallery: These consist of the following categories which may be navigated using the arrows on your remote control.
Behind The Scenes Photos
Special Photo Shoots
Location Scouting and Set Construction
Production Designs and Logos
Props and Memorabilia
Soundtrack Chapters: This allows the viewer to select a song and be taken to the portion of the film having that song.
Also From Lionsgate(3:23): Includes a green band trailer for Jackie Brown and a red band trailer for Reservoir Dogs.
Bookmarks: Allow the viewer to save the point of the film to pick up with later at the same point.
Pulp Fiction is arguably Tarantino’s masterpiece and is the great film of 1994 and one of the great films of all time. Pulp Fiction is a perfect combination of great actors, screenplay, and music converging in the same film. The video quality of this transfer earns high marks and is a step up from all previous standard and high definition releases. The audio does great service to the film and may be considered reference quality material. There is a multitude of special features, not only those ported over from the earlier releases, but also a couple of features new to this release as well. The only real disappointment is that the deleted scenes have not been remastered in high definition. This release would be perfect if it included those scenes in high definition with a branching feature for an extended cut of the film. Many of the remaining special features were probably created and assembled in post-production in standard definition so it may be too much to hope for to have most or all of the special features presented in 1080p. Unless you are especially sensitive or squeamish, Pulp Fiction belongs in every film library and this release comes highly recommended.