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Pulp Fiction – Limited Edition Steelbook (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece and 90s film staple, Pulp Fiction, will be arriving on 4K Ultra-HD finally on December 6th of this year (2022). A seminal piece in any collection, its coming from Paramount this time. The disc journey has seen it released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (DVD), Lionsgate (Blu-ray) and now Paramount for the 4K Ultra-HD adventure. It’ll come intact with its previous bonus materials to go with this new transfer for the format. This will pair nicely with the 4K of Reservoir Dogs from just a month a go and hopefully set up a Jackie Brown 4K in the not too distant future. You can pre-order yourself a copy now using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review below.

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Film

Critics and audiences worldwide hailed Pulp Fiction as the star-studded movie that redefined cinema in the 20th century. Writer-director Quentin Tarantino delivers an unforgettable cast of characters— including a pair of low-rent hit men (John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson), a gangster’s wife (Uma Thurman), and a desperate prizefighter (Bruce Willis)—in a wildly entertaining and exhilarating adventure of violence and redemption.

Pulp Fiction is a film that just never fails. Every time you return to it, it is just as fresh, fun and impressive as it was almost 30 years ago. Even in today’s filmmaking world, the film feels against the grain, boundary pushing and something special all its own. While Reservoir Dogs kicked down the door for Quentin Tarantino, it was Pulp Fiction that really showed the guy would be so much more than just a nifty script writer who could also direct here and there, he could be one of the most promising talents in town.

When Pulp Fiction arrived, it continued upon the premise of his previous film’s opening scene that showcased villainous, scum of the Earth having normal every day humorous pop culture conversations. This film takes it further and not only includes that aspect, but brings in their daily life problems as they are trying to carry out ugly tasks. It was an interesting bit of well roundedness that was more than just the things being mentioned, it was the how and the personality with which was handled as well. That’s something the imitators would fail to see when trying stuff like that all their own.

Tarantino’s film also gave us a look at his brilliant casting choices he’d continue to do over and over again. Quentin is a master of making a soup consisting of career revivals, launching pads, character actors having leads and giving international/B-movie stars a platform with which to properly showcase their talents. But it goes beyond. There’s a true strength in a full understanding of what those performer excel at, how to challenge them and how to play them with and against their type. Parts you feel at the end of of the day, that only they could be the ones performing it. Sure, he wrote FOR many of them, but plenty he would alter for people as well.

We’ve talked up and down about Pulp Fiction for nearly 30 years, and with good reason. Its cracked the top 100 films of all time on the AFI list and will likely continue to climb. This will probably see its legacy pointing to it as Tarantino’s best, though that’s honestly a tough thing to do (I mean, have you seen Jackie Brown or Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood?). But its clear this is the one where the guy, even if he wasn’t going to have staying power, at least delivered an all timer. Luckily, he’s panned out. And luckily, we have this beautiful new 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray of the film to give us all an excuse to revisit it for the umpteenth!

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: Pulp Fiction’s debut on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray is something Jason Coleman would call “quite tasty”. This is a beautiful transfer that blasts off right from the opening scene with Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth. Each scene marvels in greatly improved depth and crispness. Details are very fine and colors are very well saturated and have more of a life here on 4K than they did on the previous Blu-ray release. Its obvious that great care was taken with this as was Reservoir Dogs.

Depth:  Depth of field is incredibly improved as this looks much more spacious and free here. Camera movements and character movements are confident, fluid and have no issues with motion distortions. Scale is even more apparent here as this film looks quite bigger than it ever has here.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really provide some better contrast and are more deep than they were before. There are no light gray looking moments, these are dark but retain information if not providing more texture/pattern/detail here. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors radiate quite a bit better here and are more well saturated than they were before. The Jack Rabbit Slim’s interior pops a lot more, the blue on the walls much more bold and rich. Whites impress even. Even regular stuff like wood paneling or orange booths have some good refinement.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures like stubble, make-up strokes, dried blood, cuts, scrapes, scars, sweat and more really come through very fine like looking through some glass at the performer.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch

Dynamics: Pulp Fiction retains its dynamite 5.1 track. This thing is plenty airy and playful. There’s great layering and depth to go along with thoughtfulness of surroundings at all times. It features great balance between the vocals, effects and music with terrific volume adjustments that play to great effect.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer here rumbles and bumps with good force when it comes to gunshots, crashing, glass shattering, punches and the bass and drum in the music featured in the film.

Surround Sound Presentation: This mix is woven around the room and plays to great effect for a 360 degrees room of engagement. Sound bounces and travels around the room with good volume placement and accuracy. Rear channels are pretty active in this be it ambiance or more ambitious contributions.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals drive the room and they are clear and crisp as if the person is in the room talking to you.

Extras

Pulp Fiction comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. The Blu-ray disc is the same exact Lionsgate one released in 2011.

4K UHD

Not the Usual Mindless Boring Getting to Know You Chit Chat (HD, 43:01)

Here are Some Facts on the Fiction (HD, 20:37)

Enhanced Trivia Track

BLU-RAY

Not the Usual Mindless Boring Getting to Know You Chit Chat (HD, 43:01)

Here are Some Facts on the Fiction (HD, 20:37)

Pulp Fiction: The Facts (SD, 30:31)

Deleted Scenes (SD, 24:39) – Included Quentin Tarantino Introduction

Behind the Scenes Montages

  • Jack Rabbit Slim’s (SD, 4:44)
  • Butch Hits Marsellus (SD, 6:02)

Production Design Featurette (SD, 6:22)

Siskel & Ebert At the Movies: The Tarantino Generation (SD, 16:00)

Independent Spirit Awards (SD, 11:29)

Cannes Film Festival – Palme D’Or Acceptance Speech (SD, 5:20)

Charlie Rose Show (SD, 55:27)

Marketing Gallery (SD)

  • Theatrical Trailers – U.S. Theatrical Trailer, UK Theatrical Trailer, French Theatrical Trailer, German Theatrical Trailer, Japanese Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots – Question, Electrifying, Event, Reaction, Nominations, John, Question/Review, Review, On the Move, Movie Event, React/Review, Academy 7, Travolta Academy
  • Pulp Fiction Posters
  • Academy Award Campaign and Trade Ads

Still Gallery (HD) – Behind the Scenes Photos, Special Photo Shoots, Production Stills, Production Design and Logos, Props and Memorabilia

Enhanced Trivia Track

Soundtrack Chapters

Summary

Pulp Fiction arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a pretty perfect release. The only new item here is the video transfer which is top notch and quite a joy to take in. There’s no Atmos audio here, but the 5.1 is au natural and I’m sure the way Tarantino would like it kept. And over the years we’ve been given just a wealth of extras that keep intact here. This is an immediate upgrade and the definitive release of one of the finest films there ever has been.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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