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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

Kill Bill Vol. 1 [Blu-ray]

(aka "Kill Bill: Volume 1" or "Kill Bill")


(Quentin Tarantino, 2003)






Kill Bill - Volumes 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]



Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: Miramax Films

Blu-ray: Buena Vista Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 111 min

Chapters: 19

Size: 50 GB

Case: Locking Amaray Blu-ray case with Slipcover

Release date: September 9th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC MPEG-4



English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM (48 kHz/24-bit); English & French 5.1 DD. Extras: English 2.0 DD



Feature: English SDH, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese & Korean.

Extras: English SDH



• The Making of Kill Bill (22:05)

• The 5, 6, 7, 8's Bonus Musical Performances (5:51)

• Six Tarantino Trailers



The Film: 7.5
Much has already been written about Quentin Tarantino and his extended essay in the ultra-violent: Kill Bill, the two volumes conceived as a single film, but released theatrically just six months apart. I imagine it's no accident that the second part doesn't really have a title card. The movie begins with a brief recap of the opening of Volume 1 where Bill shoots The Bride, then a quick cut to where that film leaves off: Ms Thurman driving in her convertible declaring that she's killed a lot of people to get to this point and she finds him, she's gonna kill Bill. Then the title card: Vol. 2. Cool, huh.

But I digress. Taken together, the two parts of Kill Bill sets up the how and, later, the why, of The Bride's revenge for Bill having let loose her former assassins in arms (I like to think of them as Charlie's Devils) on the day of her wedding, killing everyone in the church, and leaving the place a lot more holey than they entered it. The first volume is as bloody as a manga: lots of killing – and for good reason. The second volume is a philosophical essay by comparison.



I like it – both parts. If you haven't seen it, you should. If you find something worthy in A Clockwork Orange or amusing in Pulp Fiction, I think you'll like it.




Image: 8.5/9.5  


NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

Compared to the Region 1 SD, which was pretty good in its day, the Blu-ray is just enough more filmlike to make it worth the upgrade on its own. Shadows have more detail, black & white footage is damn near palpable, colors are more vibrant without oversaturation (In fact, the color balance is much the same). It's the by now familiar song of increased sharpness, resolution and dimensionality, not entirely apparent in the comparative screen captures. The picture needs to be in motion to fully appreciate the difference. Somehow, the flat, grainy picture that we once felt was quite satisfactory just doesn't cut it anymore.
















Audio & Music: 9/9
One of the virtues of an uncompressed audio track is how clearly and believably we perceive textures: When we hear Bill's boots walk across the floor in the opening scene we can sense not only the wood floor but that it's a suspended floor. Later when the Crazy 8's make their grand entrance, every sliding of a door, scurry down a stair, and stomping on the floor (not suspended) is differentiated – one or two persons here, several there.


Operations: 8
BEHOLD: Even though this is a Buena Vista release, there are NO promos or previews in advance of the menu, only a lone Miramax Films logo. Missing however, is that delicate lead in to the main menu background music. As in many other recent Blu-ray DVDs, I found the menu operations to be sensible, listing the length of the various segments along with a brief description. And it's easy to return to the menu from the bonus features. Always a plus.



Extras: 6
As with Volume 2, all the extra features are ported over and retained in 480i. The image quality varies enormously here. The 22-minute Making-of featurette is very much worth watching as we learn about what makes Kill Bill and Tarantino tick. Director T and others discuss the script, cast, music (RZA, Zamfir, and the 5, 6, 7, 8's), locations and themes – and how the characters emerged. We get insights into how Tarantino sees himself and Kill Bill as a test of his skills as an action director. We also learn about the origins and overt influences of the movie in Japanese manga and samurai films – and, in particular the genre of female revenge films - spaghetti westerns, and TV shows, HK gangster films, and 70's grindhouse exploitation cinema. The 5, 6, 7, 8's are a 3-piece R&R Japanese girl group so serious about their work, they're camp.



Bottom line: 8
Knock yourself out. But beware of what you've been eating and drinking first.

Leonard Norwitz
August 31st, 2008

January, 2010





Kill Bill - Volumes 1 & 2 [Blu-ray]



About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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