Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Them Basterds Aren’t So Glourious After All

So, as I mentioned in my last post, Sunday afternoon I dragged myself out of bed to see Inglourious Basterds.

Earl and I are both HUGE Tarrantino fans, so I have been anxiously awaiting this film for about a year now.

After leaving the theatre, I couldn’t help but feel slightly…… underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong… I.G. is a pretty damn good movie (As are pretty much all of Tarantino’s flicks).

I guess I just expected it to be a different KIND of movie.

For anyone who’s seen the trailers, or heard Tarantino talk about it, you might think that this was an homage to “The Dirty Dozen”….. a World War 2 film where a small band of soldiers sneak behind enemy lines to pull off some kind of caper.

Well, it IS about that, and it isn’t.

I mean, the story IS about that. The problem I had with this film is, you just don’t actually SEE very much of that.

The movie revolves around Brad Pitt’s character, Lt. Aldo Raine, putting together a team of Jewish-American soldiers in 1941 to sneak into German-occupied France to kill as many Nazis as possible, in the sickest WAYS possible.

The concept is classic Tarantino goodness, through and through. The PROBLEM is that you just don’t SEE very much of the Basterds. Oh, We hear many stories, through other characters, of the sick and twisted things the Basterds are doing to any Nazis they come across, but we just don’t actually get to witness very much of it. I don’t even think half of the team had any speaking lines. Hell, even Brad Pitt himself, billed as the star of the movie, goes AWOL without any screen time whatsoever for 30 minutes at a clip more than once in this 2 ½ hour movie.

The reason, in my mind at least, that movies like “The Dirty Dozen”, “The Magnificent Seven”, and “The Great Escape” worked so well, is that in THOSE films, each team member is pretty well fleshed out as a character, and you really start to care about each and every one of them.

Not so much with the Inglourious Basterds. With the exceptions of Pitt’s Lt. Raine, Eli Roth as the bat-wielding “Bear Jew” Sgt. Donny Donowitz, and Nazi-turned-Basterd Sgt Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), you just won’t care about any of the other members of the team at all. And that is a BIG flaw of the film.

I don’t want to put too much of a down note on this movie, though. There’s certainly a lot to like about I.G.. Christopher Waltz as the Nazi-enforcer Col. Hans Landa is truly outstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get an Oscar nod. Ditto for Mélanie Laurent as the Jewish orphan-in-hiding Shosanna Dreyfus. Some of the dialogue, especially between these two, gets you on the edge of your seat and keeps you there.

In the end, I look at Inglorious Basterds like this: I love ALL of Tarantino’s work, but there are some movies that I absolutely OBSESS on and need to own and could watch over and over (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), and some that I enjoyed but really don’t ever need to see again (Jackie Brown, 4 Rooms).

For me, Ingorious Basterds unfortunately fell into the latter category.

Has anyone else out there seen it yet? What did you think of it?

29 comments:

mikeb302000 said...

Thanks for the report, Slyde. I'm really out of the loop, sometimes I don't even hear about movies till they're out, but this one I've been looking forward to.

I was surprised you put Jackie Brown in the second category. For me that one's right up there with Pulp and Resevoir.

Slyde said...

mikeb: like i said, i do LIKE jackie brown, but i just dont feel the need to own it or obess over it as i do with some of QT's films..

B.E. Earl said...

I haven't seen Basterds yet, but I'll give you my take on QT as a director.

His films have fallen into two categories for me. "Shock and awesome" or "learn to love".

Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill vol I all fall into the first category for me. Jackie Brown, Kill Bill vol II and Death Proof are all of the latter variety.

And in a way, I like those movies more than the first batch. Lemme 'splain. That first batch will never be better than the first time I saw them. Deservedly so. But each of those movies in the second list I learned to love after repeated viewings and in ways I love them more each time I watch them. Jackie Brown, especially.

So maybe Basterds will be a movie that you will learn to love over time with repeated viewings. It might be too early for a verdict.

Slyde said...

earl: thats probably a pretty good assesment. and ive been meaning to try to watch jackie brown again.. maybe soon.

Nej said...

Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs - totally rock. Not so hot on allot of his other stuff though. And, from what I've heard from other people, you're not alone in your review of this one. Will I still watch it though? Yes - but when it comes out on Netflix. :-)

GiGi said...

Have not seen it yet...I plan to get to the movies as soon this 'newborn' phase is over...right now I am like the walking dead.

dizzblnd said...

I have NOT seen it yet. I know hubs wants to see it. I just want to know is it VIOLENT like all his other films. All though I am slighlty squeamish, a deep down twisted part of me wants to see entrails and shit like that. We will probably still see it though.

And I LOVE Jackie Brown just for the 1 line. You know which one I'm sure.

I linked you in my blog today ;)

this is me breathing now.

elizabeth said...

Didn't see it. Was gonna. Not gonna know.

(hey - when I move to the states do I have to stop saying eh?)

Karen said...

I haven't seen it. And the prosepect of sub-titles isn't turning me on. I am shallow like that.

Dr Zibbs said...

I really liked it but I love his other movies so it was at the bottom.

Even though I really liked it.

debi_in_Hawaii said...

Never saw it, not going to. Just wanted to say WTF is that thing on the side... MAD CLOTH Ads by goooooooooooooooooooooogle WTF? LOL

Blog Queen said...

Tarantino has always been kind of weird to me. I'm a huge movie fan of just about everything. I just don't get his style. However! KILL BILL was awesome. I do plan to check out IB though.

sybil law said...

I have not seen it, but most reviews I've seen have been awesome.

Chris H said...

Thanks for the review.. You have saved me from watching it now. I would have only gone to drool over Brad anyway, lets get real!

Tamara said...

I studied film, so I'm not supposed to say this, but...

There are no words to describe how much I dislike QT's movies / style of direction / pointless violence / daft dress sense.

*awaits S*%# storm in response*

badgerdaddy said...

Jackie Brown is pure class. That movie was a great way to follow Pulp Fiction.

But Reservoir Dogs... Yes, it's very very good... But come on, did you see the brilliant City On Fire? Plagiarism gets right on my tits at the best of times.

Look forward to IB, hopefully will get to see it at the cinema.

pixelhazard said...

Oh I have been meaning to go see inglorious bastards. My expectations have been adequately lowered so i have a chance at loving this movie now :P

P.S.Thanks for the complement over at my blog!

Anonymous said...

What a waste of film. More whining about the chosen ones dying and not enough recognition about the other 70 million people who died thanks to the war.

Getting really tired that the war deaths of my ancestors is forgotten in favor of this other group.

Don't understand how this trash gets made, again and again and again...

I guess some people have too much money.....

P.S. - QT certainly has style, but I must disagree about his "brillance".

.
.

Heff said...

I'm waiting on this one to hit Dish Network. It doen't appeal to me enough to go dole out cash directly to see it.

2abes said...

disppointing, I was hoping for an updated tarentino-esque version of dirty dozen. I'll catch it on cable.

Kimberly said...

Have not seen it. Have no plans too. I'll save my $7.50 for a pint of vodka.

Cocaine Princess said...

I haven't seen it but on another blog I follow the person raved on and on about it. They loved it! Too each his own I guess.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Haven't seen it yet, but plan on possibly seeing this weekend.

Believe it or not Brad Pitt is NOT one of my faves. It's Tarintino that makes my heart swoon....

Scarlet said...

Thanks for the review. I like Tarrantino's work in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, but I don't think I'd like this one.

What you said about the lead character is important...you can't care much about someone you can't see, especially for a whole 30 min in a 2 1/2-hour movie.

Meghan said...

I still want to see it, but thanks for the heads up.

James said...

Hi Slyde, thanks for your nice comment on my blog.

From what you have said I think I am going to give IG a miss; it sounds like a sloppy job. A pretty good war film I saw recently is "Man of War" a Norwegian film about a true life character, Max Manus.

Don't even mention that "Defiance" crap crock of shit waste of film....

Faiqa said...

Admit it. You're just pissed that you didn't get all the Brad Pitt time you feel you deserved. :)

mo.stoneskin said...

Not seen it yet. Saw some interesting reviews, people seemed to think it glamorises the war etc., but would like to see it.

Hannah said...

I saw it and agree with you-Its not one of Tarantino's better movies. Inglourious borrowed way too much from his other films-It felt too much like a cut and paste project. Plus-It kinda dragged on a bit too long.
But yes, Waltz and Laurent were great in their roles and I'm looking forward to seeing them in other movies. :)