Inglourious Basterds (2009) 4k Blu-ray Review

Universal Pictures released a 4k Blu-ray Disc edition of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds on Oct. 12, 2021. The 2-disc combo edition from Studio Distribution Services includes a 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray Disc, and code to redeem a Digital Copy. On the 4k Blu-ray Disc, Inglourious Basterds is presented in 2160p resolution at 2.40:1 aspect ratio with HDR10+. The audio is provided in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Here’s a review of the 4k Blu-ray Disc presentation.
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The Movie

Whether you’re a filmmaker, writer, critic, or just generally a fan of good movies Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds has got to be up there with some of the best. The film garnered an Oscar for Christoph Waltz’s role as Colonel Hans Landa and was nominated for seven more Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The other nominations consisted of Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing.

Although a completely original film, Inglourious Basterds is a remake of The Inglourious Basterds (1978) from Director Enzo G. Castellari who even has a cameo in Tarantino’s version. Tarantino started work on the script shortly after Jackie Brown (1997) was released but he put the script aside to work on the Kill Bill movies. Almost 10 years later he returned to the script and began principal photography in Oct. 2008.

Inglourious Basterds is broken down into five chapters, and three of those chapters introduce the main characters in the film: Col. Hans Landa Christoph Waltz), Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), and Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent). Once you get to know the characters Tarantino begins to intertwine their stories and they will eventually merge in the finale of the film at the French cinema.

The movie is really about characters and their authenticity. Tarantino says he was insistent each actor must be of the same nationality as the character they portray. In other words, if you weren’t German you were not going to play a German in his movie. Tarantino also reveals how the movie is really about language and how during war World War II there was the possibility of surviving the war just by understanding different languages.

Of course, you can’t dismiss the brutality of Inglourious Basterds. “The Bear Jew” beats the heads of Nazis in with a baseball bat, the team of Jewish Americans scalp dead Nazi soldiers, and Aldo carves the swastica into the foreheads of those he lets live. In other words, this movie is not for the squeamish.

But underneath the gore is a superbly-written script, incredible acting, and dark humor as only Tarantino can deliver.

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On 4k Blu-ray, Inglourious Basterds is presented in 2160p at 2.40:1 aspect ratio with the HDR10+ spec for added color depth. Not everyone’s system will take advantage HDR10+, but the code (similar to Dolby Vision) allows dynamic changing of the video metadata throughout the movie. If your your home theater system does not support HDR10+, it will still deliver HDR10 to supporting HDR TVs. Note: This is an upscaled presentation from the 2k Digital Intermediate.

Like other Tarantino films, Inglourious Basterds has an earthy palette with saturated colors in all the right places exaggerating the red, gold, and certain blue hues throughout. The colors speak to the time period and the drab colors of army uniforms. The HDR provides deeper color depth, especially in the shadow areas. There is a lot of wood in the old architecture that reveals its grain nicely in 4k, along with chipped paint and bullet holes that look as real as can be on a screen.

Tarantino is a master of detail. The smoking gun at 1:33:25 is a nice touch that was hard to notice in previous media types. This is when the German Private Wilhelm has just shot up the bar with a submachine gun while bargaining with Lt. Aldo. In 4k, all the details of the tavern such as bottle labels, block walls, and war metals look realistic. 

Followin the tavern scene at 1:41:18 when Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) tells Lieutenant Aldo (Brad Pitt) the recent development that Hitler will attend the premiere, the extreme close-up of Hammersmark is extremely detailed and colorful in HDR and one of the best in the movie. 

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The audio on this 4k Blu-ray edition doesn’t improve from the last Blu-ray release that provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 at 48kHz. The soundtrack is also provided in French and Spanish in DTS Digital Surround 5.1 channels. Subtitles are provided in English SDH, French, and Spanish.

It’s no wonder Inglourious Basterds was nominated for two Oscars related to audio including Best Achievement in Sound Mixing and Best Achievement in Sound Editing. This movie sounds as good as it looks.

Much of the film is dialogue, but there is nice crisp quality to each character’s voice that is sometimes overlooked. The quality of Waltz’s voice, for example, is unmistakable with a dynamic range that can be best enjoyed either loudly or with headphones. His voice inflections and ability to deliver a three-dimensional character surely earned him the Academy Award.

It’s also the little details that give Inglourious Basterds so much richness in the audio experience such as the lighting of cigarettes, glasses clinking in the tavern scene, and the sounds of film spooling in the cinema.

If you’re looking for your subwoofer and multi-speaker to go off, the gun shootout in the tavern at 1:33:00 is no joke. The incredibly long scene (lasting approx. 35 minutes) is 99% clear dialogue. But when the guns come out it’s as much an audio massacre as it is visual. There’s yet another big shootout in the cinema at the climax of the film that will really push your speakers.

The mix of dramatic sound design, old western guitar picking, and 70s action film music is another characteristic of Inglourious Basterds that makes it so unique. In addition, when Samuel L. Jackson provides narration the background music changes to electric guitar and keyboard riffs. Who else but Tarantino would combine all those genres of music and sound in a World War II film?

Inglorious Bastards 4k blu-ray setup

Inglorious Bastards 4k blu-ray setup

Bonus Features

There are a ton of extras included on the 4k Blu-ray (in HD and SDR (Standard Dynamic Range)). If you already own the 2k Blu-ray edition of Inglourious Basterds these are nothing new, but still, it’s nice to have them on the 4k Blu-ray rather than having to switch discs to watch bonus material.

In the UHD BD Bonus section you can watch a few extended and alternative scenes, a making-of featurette, and a roundtable discussion. There is even the German propaganda film “Nation’s Pride” from producer Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) starring Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl) that was premiered in the finale of the film.

Also what could be considered bonus material in this combo edition from Universal is a Blu-ray and Digital Copy of the film. The included insert will allow buyers to validate a code on through Movies Anywhere partners or Vudu. The insert also includes a rewards bonus of 1200 points redeemable on

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Bonus Material

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