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Inglourious Basterds

Digital Three Stars
Over Xmas I had a second chance to watch Inglourious Basterds, this time through iTunes, and to be honest I wasn't really looking forward to it. When I first watched the film I thought that it was overly long, not just in the film itself, but each of the key scenes. Then there was Quentin Tarantino to deal with, a man whom I feel can get in the way of his own films by trying to overly mark them as his own.

One thing was clear from this second viewing, I coped with the length much better than sitting down to it in the cinema, and I think that was down to understanding what to expect. When you first start watching Inglourious Basterds you think you might be in line for something more akin to a war film that's a lot darker and more intense than the ones that Basterds is usually associated with, The Dirty Dozen for one, but all too quickly it turns to something a lot lighter and a lot more Tarantino-esque.

Knowing that, I think, is the key to going with the film, and not going with the slightly misleading opening scene. So I watched with this new understanding.

Plot.pngIngloriousBasterds.jpgHere's the plot overview from my review of the cineme release. The story is advertised as being something akin to The Dirty Dozen, where an American soldier gathers together a group of like-minded Jewish soldiers to head deep into German lines and kill Nazi's with extreme prejudice, building a reputation for murdering and mutilating them.

However as they spread their word through Germany something comes to them, the opportunity of a plan that could see the end of the German high command, so the story begins.

Yet when you actually see the film it's a lot more than that, and this plot thread is a little less than expected. The story actually has a number of other threads running on parallel lines that begin to cross and join at some critical points.

Film.pngI've already seen and reviewed the film in the cinema, and frankly I was less than enamoured with it, feeling that the scenes often went on too long and that Quentin Tarantino delivered too much dialogue for the characters. Not only that but there were some harsh edits and unusual song choices, all of which pulled me away from the film and the story.

However I can say that time and a second viewing have been favourable on the film. Second time around the pace of the film felt a little better, probably as I was comfortably in my own home and had cups of tea by my side.

Still I felt there were problems with the tone of the film, which felt as though it had to leap into Tarantino territory, and not just pay homage too or make notice of with a little top of the hat, but it had to leap up and shout about how this was a Tarantino film. It happens a number of times and the scenes still bother me, the first being the very strong opening scene in the French dairy farmer's house and the ridiculous pipe joke.

This happens a number of times though, and none of them feel right to me. I wonder if they had been toned down and some of the edits made cleaner that the film would have been much better.

Still, the second viewing gave me more than the first and I did enjoy the film more this time around.

You can read my full review on Filmstalker.

Picture.pngiTouch Widescreen
The picture was very good on the small screen, particularly as there are a number of darker scenes through the film and all played perfectly on the iTouch. There's not a scene where I was aware of poor picture quality and it all reminded me of the cinema screening without any noticeable difference, apart from the size and lack of people around me!

Audio.pngiTouch Stereo
The audio is good, and as I'm a big fan of the surround sound in home cinema and how much better it can be than the cinema itself. I really enjoy when a film makes use of all the speakers, and yet I find I'm always surprised listening to a film on the iTouch in stereo using in-ear headphones how good the audio does sound. With Inglourious Basterds I found I didn't miss the sound overly and

Extras.pngExtended & Alternate Scenes, Nation's Pride - Full Feature, Trailers
This is something new to me, I've only watched a few films on the iTouch through iTunes and I've only ever received the film. With the Inglourious Basterds download I received an email some time after downloading the film to tell me that there were additional downloads available with my film purchase and that they would automatically be added to my iTunes download queue. Unfortunately they weren't automatically added, but the simple click on a link and iTunes was downloading the additional material.

The download was around 360Mb and contained all the extras above with the addition of an interactive menu as you would probably see on the DVD/Blu-ray version which allowed you to play the film, leap to a specific scene, view the features, and access links to the studio and film websites, as well as other studio trailers and the Inglourious Basterds soundtrack on iTunes.

Unfortunately you can't access the extras on the iTouch it would seem, and this has to b done through iTunes. That presented another problem, for on the default settings, playing the video through iTunes appeared incredibly slow and jerky. Choosing to play the video full screen rectified this, although when a video is playing full screen on iTunes it blanks both my displays, slightly odd.

Still, the offering was good, and looked and operated just like the extras on a DVD or Blu-ray.

Lunch with Goebbels - Extended Version
A slightly extended scene which continues to show the volatility of Goebbels and his complete mood swings from one sentence to the next. There's a little more here, and actually I could see the ending of this scene added more darkness and danger to his character.

La Louisiane Card Game - Extended Version
A slightly extended scene of the guessing game played in the downstairs bar, however there's not that much to it, of course the game does go on a little longer with a few extra lines, but it doesn't add anything to the film, and genuinely I'm surprised that this bit got cut out and so much more stayed.

"Nation's Pride" Begins - Alternate Version
This alternate opening to the screening of Nation's Pride is actually rather good in the first half and helps build some additional tension in the scene, however the latter part does drag on a little too long and cut from person to person after the fact.

Nation's Pride Full Feature
The closing sequences of the film feature clips from Nation's Pride, a fake film which was produced by Goebbels as a Nazi propoganda film and starring a young Nazi soldier who had spent a number of days in a tower sniping American soldiers who were trying to tae the town. The fake film was directed by Eli Roth and the entire six minute short can be watched as part of the extras. Nothing really that special, and at times it's all a little over the top.

Overall.pngI've already said it, but Inglourious Basterds was better with the second viewing, and with the additional extras avaialble free after download, I was more taken by the overall presentation from iTunes. I would have liked to have seen an audio commentary come along with the film, but who knows, that might still appear in my inbox soon enough.

I still think that the Tarantino touches could have been toned down and this would have delivered a much better war film, perhaps even with more concentration on the Inglourious Basterds as the title suggests, for I do find it a little odd that the film is about them but the ending is actually achieved by others totally unrelated to the group, and we see little about the characters of the Basterds. Really the film is more about Shosanna Dreyfus and Col. Hans Landa.

Still, it's an enjoyable offering with the extras, and is perfect for Tarantino fans.

Buy or rent from iTunes UK or iTunes USA
Buy the soundtrack from iTunes UK or iTunes USA
Buy from or
UK IMDB Film Details




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