BLU-RAY REVIEW: Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection
Twenty Years Of Creative Film-making Genius In One Set...
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It's strange to think Quentin Tarantino has been making movies for 20 years now, which is a majority of my life. At 33 years old, I've grown up watching Tarantino films and, as a paying movie-goer, I can hardly remember a time I wasn't waiting for the next Tarantino film to hit the big screen.
I remember at age 13 watching 1992's Reservoir Dogs and being both shocked and awed. It wasn't until years later I recognized the brilliant writing, savage brutality, dynamic action and cultural humor the writer/director had injected into the film, but it was that first time watching Reservoir Dogs - when my mom was away and my dad allowed us to watch R-rated movies - that made me a fan. Of course Tarantino's brilliant writing and Tony Scott's direction brought to life 1993's True Romance which wouldn't actually make sense to me until a few years later when, at age 18, I was a college student and comic-reading geek who wanted to be Clarence Worley...without the death, drugs, and chaotic love affair.
All that said, my first real experience with Tarantino began with 1994's Pulp Fiction. I was 15 years old and working as a projectionist in my local theater. We received the film reels and another projectionist and I put Pulp Fiction together and watched it, realizing quickly it wasn't in chronological order. Thinking we'd messed up, we re-spliced the film and put it together in chronological order, which we assumed was the right order. We re-watched it satisfied we were set for the next day's first showing. It wasn't until the next morning we were told we were indeed right the first time and we had to re-splice the film (again). Looking back, I realize it was this experience that made me a dedicated fan of Quentin Tarantino - especially when I realized I'd watched Pulp Fiction three times in less than 16 hours.
Of course, throughout the years Tarantino's unique style of storytelling would continue to impress fans the world over. His work on films like 1995's Four Rooms (not included here), some of his best work on 2003/2004's Kill Bill, portions of 2005's Sin City, and - among others - his critically-acclaimed work on 2009's award-winning Inglourious Basterds.
Jump ahead to today and the recently released Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection. Comprised of one film written by Tarantino (True Romance) and seven films both written and directed by the talent, this 10 disc blu-ray set includes a majority of the director's repertoire, including 1992's Resevoir Dogs, 1993's True Romance, 1994's Pulp Fiction, 1997's Jackie Brown, 2003's Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2004's Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2007's Death Proof (one part of the Grindhouse double-feature with Robert Rodriguez), and 2009's Inglourious Basterds.
Of course, none of the above mentioned films need detailed reviews as they've been out for years. Suffice to say, if you've not seen them yet, you've been cheating yourself of an amazing experience. Thankfully, now's the time and here's your chance. None of them have looked this good as they're all presented here in gorgeous 1080p hi-def with digital sound (ranging from Dolby Digital 5.1 EX to DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and more). Each of these 8 films has been released before on individual blu-ray, each available wherever fine home video is sold. It is the two bonus discs here which will no doubt attract die-hard fans who've seen these films countless times and newcomers who have been looking to add these stellar films to their home video library.
The two bonus discs here include two main features: a near 5-hour long critical look at Tarantino's fans and an over 2-hour long retrospect of the writer/director's 20 year career.
“Critics Corner: The Films of Quentin Tarantino" includes a number of behind-the-scenes discussions which have been included on individual releases but have never before been combined until now. This nearly 5 hour experience features engaging discussion between a number of film critics and film experts who provide insight and information on the various films included here, what makes them unique, and their importance to the film industry in general. Moderated by Elvis Mitchell (host of “The Treatment” radio show), those conversing here include Scott Foundas, Stephanie Zacharek, Tim Lucas and Andy Klein.
“20 Years of Filmmaking" follows Tarantino’s rise from Hollywood oddity to Hollywood royalty and genius. Topics include everything from Tarantino's directing style and dedication to his craft to his personal relationships with various actors, directors and producers (especially those whose careers he helped reignite). Exciting and entertaining, this documentary follows Tarantino's development from amateur writer and first-time director on Reservoir Dogs to current mentor and friend to up-and-coming writers and directors.
Other special features include the 32-minute "Jackie Brown Q&A: A Film Independent at LACMA Event" with host Elvis Mitchell. Featuring Pam Grier, Robert Forster and Quentin Tarantino as the trio discuss their relationship and their movie-making experiences. Additional special features here include five trailers for Tarantino's next film, Django Unchained (due in theaters this Christmas).
Overall, this 10 disc set features some insightful, engaging, and entertaining bonus features which - for some fans - will make picking this collection well worth the money. At $129.99 suggested retail price (and available for around $80-90), this is a large investment for someone who already has these eight individual films already on blu-ray. However, for those fans of brilliant filmmaking and style who own only two or three of these films and are looking to add more of Tarantino's brilliance to their home video library, there's no better way to do it than by picking up the Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection. Die-hard fans will find everything they've been looking for, new fans will find everything they want, and even those who are a little unsure of watching a Tarantino film will find at least a few films they've probably always wanted to see and have been warned about before.
After all, there's nothing quite like a Quentin Tarantino film and there's nothing at all like 8 of them all together in one gorgeous package.
Pick up the Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection now wherever fine home video is available.
- Jess C. Horsley