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HTF REVIEW: "Pulp Fiction" Collector's Edition (Highly Recommended)(with screenshots)


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#1 of 195 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:32 PM

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Pulp Fiction Collector's Edition






Studio: Miramax
Year: 1994
Rated: R
Film Length: 149 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)



"The path of the righteous man is beset on
all sides by the inequities of the selfish
and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he
who in the name of charity and good will,
shepherds the weak through the valley of the
darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper
and the finder of lost children. And I will
strike down upon thee with great vengeance
and furious anger those who attempt to poison
and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am
the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."

-Ezekiel 25:17-


Get ready for the must-have DVD this year!

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Pulp Fiction is one of the most amazing,
recklessly bold pieces of cinema to ever hit the
screen. The movie is to be seen, not described.
Watching it for the first time in 7 years, I am
reminded what a roller coaster ride of a movie this
is -- complemented with one of the funniest, smartest,
and filthiest dialogs I have heard in a long time.

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Pulp Fiction takes you full circle through
a forty-eight hour period in the three stories that
ultimately get linked as one. From Honey Bunny
(Amanda Plummer) and Pumpkin (Tim Roth), two liquor
store bandits looking to rob a restaurant, to Butch
(Bruce Willis), a boxer who may or may not take a
dive, to Jules (Samuel Jackson) and Vincent Vega
(John Travolta), two hitmen on a mission to retrieve
a briefcase for their boss, to Marcellus Wallace
(Ving Rhames) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) who
are at the center of it all. Quentin Tarentino
tells his story in a non-linear fashion, switching
from one point of view to another, jumping forward
and backward in time, and ultimately leaving us
laughing and gasping from exhaustion by the time
the credits roll.

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The movie's razor-sharp dialogue made of references
to pop culture, swearing, and sometimes monologue
type speeches are often quite funny and brilliant.
In fact, it's the dialogue that takes front seat to
anything else in the film. Who can forget the scenes
where Vince is describing to Jules a Big Mac in Paris
(a Royale with cheese). Who can forget Jules taking a
bite of a big Kahuna burger and commenting, "now this
is a tasty burger." Of course, perhaps the film's
greatest stretch of dialogue shows up in a single
long important scene featuring Christopher Walken
who describes how he saved and delivered a gold watch
to a young boy.

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Of course, you couldn't talk about this film without
giving credit to the collection of songs and
instrumentals that are so perfectly suited to the
scenes -- often setting the proper style and mood
to the film. Featuring the voices of Al Green and
Chuck Berry (to name a few), Tarantino has chosen
just the right songs for his magnum opus.

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Miramax has released Pulp Fiction in a
brand new 2-disc set. The set arrives in a
rather handsome cardboard outer sleeve that
provides a window to Mia's face. The inner
package slides and opens to a 3-pane gatefold
that contains 2 DVDs housed in plastic hubs.
Beneath these hubs is a cool B&W photo of
Director Quentin Tarentino and Uma Thurman
discussing a scene.

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In the farthest left pocket sits a 16-page
collector's booklet which in addition to listing
the film's chapter stops and musical selections,
also contains original articles from Time
Magazine
and Entertainment Weekly.
Just for fun, there is also a menu from Jack Rabbit
Slims tucked inside the pocket.


How is the transfer?


This brand new digital anamorphic transfer is
a definite notch above the former DVD release.
Whereas the original release looked muddy with
overly red facial tones and a noticeable amount
of underlying film grain, this new release
contains none of those elements.

In fact, this new transfer looks like night
and day compared to the old. First thing you
will notice is that colors are now dead-on
accurate. Facial tones look normal instead of
blotchy red. The picture looks cleaner and
crisper than the former transfer. Take a look
at the very first scene of Butch (Bruce Willis)
sitting in Marsellus's club. In the old transfer,
the reds were horribly oversaturated and Bruce
Willis's face almost blended in with it all. In
this new transfer, we actually see Bruce's facial
tones stand out amongst all the redness that now
looks more natural with no oversaturation. Another
sequence that will absolutely catch your eye is
the inside of Jack Rabbit Slim's 50s restaurant,
whose strikingly colorful interior (especially the
deep blues) come across so beautifully.

While there are those who may complain that the
picture is more on the soft side and occasionally
(but rarely) out of focus should know that these
problems existed in the original theatrical showing.

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Now here is where you really get the best bang
for the buck....the 5.1 DTS digital surround track
that never ceases to silence itself.

I must admit, as I first started watching the
film's beginning restaurant scene with Honey
Bunny and Pumpkin, I was quite satisfied with the
amount of supportive outside traffic noise that
came out of the rear channel. Wow! Never heard
this before.

But the real test comes with the film's music
track. As the opening credits rev up with
the sounds of Dick Dale and his Def-Tones, I was
somewhat disappointed at the lackluster dynamic
range of the soundtrack -- that is -- until
Jungle Boogie kicked in. At that point,
the entire sound stage was pumping with the deep
bass sounds of Kool & The Gang. From thereon in,
I was just entranced with the way the music track
had a certain presence in every scene, thanks to
the rear channels that faithfully supported the
sounds of Chuck Berry, Urge Overkill and Dusty
Springfield (to name a few). After watching
chapter 5, you'll come away with new appreciation
for the cool sounds of Al Green that sound so
soulful across all 5 channels. In the scene
where Travolta shoots up before visiting Mia, The
Centurian's
instrumental track that plays in the
background comes through so soothingly that it
almost puts you in the same "high" trance as
Travolta's character.

Let me also add that the rears constantly remind
you that there is a real world outside of the main
story. Every scene has some sort of effects noise
emanating from the rear channels. Whether it be
outside traffic in the beginning/end restaurant
scene, or the sounds of barking dogs and chirping
birds when Butch sneaks back to his apartment --
there is always a strong presence of the real world
that adds flavor to the viewing experience.


Special Features

Posted ImagePosted Image


Miramax has gone to extremes to make this DVD
a totally entertaining experience outside the
film itself. When you pop in the DVD, you are
greeted with the briefcase that belongs to
Marsellus Wallace. As the combination dials
turn, the briefcase clicks and opens to reveal
golden light inside. Select any of the SETUP
options and be entertained with short snippets
of film footage. My favorite is the AUDIO SETUP
that has Mia flicking the PLAY button on the tape
player. It's really cool!

Special Features are spread across both discs.
Disc One contains supplements that can
be accessed from the film directly.

Soundtrack Chapters enable you to go
directly to any one of the 13 songs featured
in the film. Click on any song and you are
taken directly to that point in the film that
the song is heard.

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An Enhanced Trivia Track is a really cool
option that I urge you to enable before watching
the film. It places text at the bottom of your
screen that provides insight into the scenes you
are watching. You'll learn about some of the
film's cinematic references as well as the sort
of shots and framing used for each scene. We
even learn where most of the different scenes
were shot. All in all, this is an encyclopedia
of interesting reference for fans of the film.

DVD-ROM content is also provided on this
disc. It includes the opportunity to read the
film's original screenplay, play trivia, or even
record your own audio commentary using a microphone.
It also has the ability to play back the film with
an enhanced playback track.


Posted ImagePosted Image

Let's move on to Disc Two....

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Pulp Fiction: The Facts contains a handful
of interviews taped over the past nine years with
the filmmakers and stars involved with the film
project. We learn Quentin Tarentino, a video
clerk in his twenties, sold his first script at
a price less than what a taxi driver makes in one
year. A raspy voiced Tarentino (under voice stress)
talks about the people he met that helped him make
his way to the top. Actor Samuel L. Jackson fondly
recalls his first impression of reading Quentin's
script for Reservoir Dogs. He later attended
an audition for the film in New York City and was
turned down for a part. John Travolta briefly
discusses his first meeting with Quentin and the
bond the two formed. There are also interviews
with Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis who talk about
the film's multi-tier story line. All of this is
supplemented with lots of behind-the-scenes footage
and publicity photos.
(length: approx. 30 minutes)

Quentin Tarentino personally introduces each of
the 5 deleted scenes included on this DVD.
The introduction looks as if it was lifted from
the laserdisc special edition as that format is
mentioned and DVD is not. The deleted scenes
include:

* In the drug deal between Travolta and Eric
Stoltz, Eric has extended dialogue about his
trip down to Panama City.

* Upon Vince arriving at Mia's home, he is
subjected to an impromptu videotape interview
by Mia.

* The extended version of the Esmeralda cab
scene with extended dialogue between the cab
driver and the boxer in the back seat.

* A deleted sequence featuring actor Dick Miller
(Gremlins) inside Monster Joe's truck and tow.
There is a really nice extended dialogue sequence
between Mr. Wolf and Racquel.

* An extended version of the Jack Rabbit Slim
restaurant scene where Mia asks Vince about a
particular hash bar in Amsterdam. There is no
background music played in this cut.

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This is really cool! A Behind-The-Scenes
Montage
gives us an uninhibited look at two
of the film's most memorable scenes being filmed.
We go behind the camera as we watch the Jack
Rabbit Slims restaurant scene being put together
as well as the scene where Marsellus Wallace is
hit by Bruce's car. This is all raw footage,
and runs just under 11 minutes. You can clearly
see how much fun Quentin is having directing
big-time actors John Travolta and Bruce Willis.

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In a rather short Production Design Featurette
we meet production designer David Wasco and set
decorator Sandy Wasco who talk about how the
outlandish designs of Los Angeles coffee shops
inspired them to design Jack Rabbit Slims. We
take a look at some original production designs
that show the interior and exterior of the club.
(length: approx. 6 minutes)

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Is Quentin Tarentino a one-man new wave or just
the flavor of the month? Critics Siskel and Ebert
ask that question in The Tarentino Generation,
an original 1994 broadcast that revisits the original
Siskel and Ebert review of Reservoir Dogs
while pondering the future success of the young
Director. Both seem to agree that Quentin has
made an incredible film, that in using low-life
characters, ultimately criticizes how dull other
Hollywood movies have become.
(length: approx. 15 minutes)

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During the Independent Spirit Awards,
Quentin is interviewed by Michael Moore and
his cable show. Quentin urges people who want
to make movies to save their money and make
the movies they want -- even if the circumstances
aren't right. He is later joined by Samuel L.
Jackson. Producer Lawrence Bender also gives
a short interview here. All seem to be showing
a good time in this very informal interview.
(length: Approx. 11 minutes)

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Lets go to the Cannes Film Festival for the
Palme d'Or Acceptance Speech. As Clint
Eastwood announces the winning film, a crowd roars
as Quentin and cast take the stage. With an
interpreter at his side, Quentin thanks everyone
that made the film possible and then participates
in a photo shoot. I was a bit taken back by the
fact that at such a prestigious awards show,
Quentin found it appropriate to raise his middle
finger to the surly crowd.

An entire Charlie Rose Show broadcast
from 1994 gives us a very intimate look at the
Director who talks about his uneducated beginnings,
the films that influenced his career, and how he
rose to filmmaker status.
(length: approx. 55 minutes)

There are 5 original trailers presented
from every corner of the globe. We have the U.S.
trailer and the U.K. trailer as well as the French,
German and Japanese trailers. It's really cool
to see how this film was promoted throughout the
world.

There are 13 television spots that actually
trace the movie from its initial premier through
spots that promote the film's recognition and awards.

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Still Galleries is an entire section
devoted to production stills, posters, trade ads,
production designs and logos. My favorite section
was Props and Memorabilia that had photos of the
samurai sword Bruce Willis uses to kill his
attackers, as well as the Red Apple cigarettes
that he orders in Marsellus's club.

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Another section is devoted entirely to Pulp
Fictions Reviews & Articles
that have been
printed since the film's release. These critics
are with such high-profile publications such as
The New York Times; The Village Voice; LA
Weekly
and London Times. These are
all text based articles that can be browsed through
using your remote.

Though there is an awful amount of added material
here, the one feature that seems to be missing is
an audio commentary. I am surprised that none was
recorded for this Collector's Edition.


Final Thoughts


Revisiting Pulp Fiction after all these
years turned out to be one of the most exciting
moments in my Home Theater career. I just sat
on my couch with a big fat stupid grin on my
face as I listened to some of the sharpest and
coolest dialogue ever spoken in film. Who ever
thought that during the film's initial 14 minutes
I'd be immersed in conversation about "eating a
bitch out" vs. giving a woman a foot massage.

Miramax has done an outstanding job with this
2-disc Collector's Edition that not only sports
a wonderfully clean new transfer with a hip-shakin'
5.1 DTS soundtrack, but a handful of supplemental
material that will keep you busy for quite some
time. All of this can be yours for an on-line
price of less than $23.

If I recommended this DVD any more I'd be begging
you to buy it.

Release Date: August 20, 2002

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 195 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:38 PM

Awesome. I am really looking forward to watching this next week.

#3 of 195 OFFLINE   Steeve Bergeron

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:41 PM

I love this movie! I'll be first in line next tuesday.

#4 of 195 OFFLINE   Joshua Moran

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:44 PM

I think I just wet myself Posted Image

#5 of 195 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:51 PM

Man, the reviews for both this and Jackie Brown have been nothing but raves. I'm thinking double-feature Tuesday night!! Posted Image

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

 

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.


#6 of 195 OFFLINE   MikeFR

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:57 PM

Awesome review.

Cant wait for this one. Posted Image

Only 6 more sleeps...

#7 of 195 OFFLINE   Matthew Chmiel

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:58 PM

When I buy this on Tuesday, I think I'll pick up one of those five dollar milkshakes afterwards. Posted Image

#8 of 195 OFFLINE   FrankT

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Posted August 14 2002 - 12:58 PM

My only question, Ron, is if you are going to watch this movie more than once every 7 years now that you remember how good it is :-)

Sounds like a great upgrade.

#9 of 195 OFFLINE   Jeremy Allin

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:02 PM

My question, Ron...

Would you give a guy a foot massage? Posted Image

#10 of 195 OFFLINE   Michael Silla

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:08 PM

I'm all over it. While Resevoir Dogs is my Fav Tarintino film I'll definently have to pay heed to this DVD release. Another awesome review Ron.

Michael.

#11 of 195 OFFLINE   Greg_Y

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:10 PM

Ron,
Regardless of whether or not I agree with your reviews, you really do an exceptional job of layout, especially within the confines of a thread page. Very pleasing to read. Posted Image

#12 of 195 OFFLINE   LukeB

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:30 PM

My favorite part of the DVD was when Samuel L. Jackson goes to Michael Moore, "Hey Roger, how are you doing?" Posted Image

#13 of 195 OFFLINE   Joseph_mx

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:44 PM

Ron did you find spanish subtitles in the setup option ? thanks
Joseph


"C'mon, he's insane. Look. Right now he's probably dancing around in his
grandma's panties, yeah, rubbing himself in peanut butter." - Brad Pitt -Seven

#14 of 195 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted August 14 2002 - 01:45 PM

One of my top 3 movies of all time. Good to hear the high praise. I will be buying this on Tuesday to replace my old editon.

a couple of comments though...
Quote:
This brand new digital anamorphic transfer is
a definite notch above the former DVD release.
Quote:
In fact, this new transfer looks like night
and day compared to the old.

which is it 'a notch above' or 'night and day'??!!

also a lot was mentioned about the sound and the background noise/atmosphere. To me this was always present to me on the original version and yes, is a big part of the movie/experience. Are you saying that there is such a noticable difference on this new version or are you just mentioning that you are realizing the use of the rears and background noise in this movie for the first time??

Quote:
As the combination dials
turn, the briefcase clicks and opens to reveal
golden light inside.

is the combination '666'?

can't wait to pick this and JB up on Tuesday Posted Image

#15 of 195 OFFLINE   Robert_eb

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Posted August 14 2002 - 02:21 PM

Ron, when are you going to give us the Jackie Brown review? Pulp Fiction was a great film but not as good as Jackie Brown.

#16 of 195 OFFLINE   MatS

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Posted August 14 2002 - 02:24 PM

Quote:
COMING THIS WEEK: Pulp Fiction Collector's Edition (Wednesday); The Rookie (Thursday); Jackie Brown (Thursday); Iris (Thursday)


Quote:
Pulp Fiction was a great film but not as good as Jackie Brown.

disagreed but to each his/her own

#17 of 195 OFFLINE   Enrique B Chamorro

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Posted August 14 2002 - 02:32 PM

Can we get a bit rate on the new version?

The bit rate I get on the Canadian Alliance
version with the 4 deleted scenes is 5.30 .

You can get the the bit rate program from;

http://www.remotesel...om/download.htm

Can someone give the bit rate from the old US disc?

#18 of 195 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted August 14 2002 - 02:33 PM

I'm so pumped for this release that I can see myself picking up 2 copies in all the excitement.

#19 of 195 OFFLINE   Dave H

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Posted August 14 2002 - 02:55 PM

Quote:
Pulp Fiction was a great film but not as good as Jackie Brown.


I would say Jackie Brown was a great film but not as good as Pulp Fiction. Posted Image

On any rate, I can't wait to watch both of these next week.

#20 of 195 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted August 14 2002 - 03:25 PM

Whew, glad to hear the video transfer is a good one (saw the DVDfile review thread, in which they didn't consider it to a good transfer).
"Jee-sus, it's like Iwo Jima out there" - Roger Sterling on "Mad Men"
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