Reservoir Dogs: Collector's Edition (1992)

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Released 11-Feb-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Quentin Tarantino (Writ/Dir), Lawrence Bender (Prod) et al
Featurette-Critics Commentaries (Amy Taubin,Peter Travers,Emanuel Levy)
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Audio-Only Track-K-Billy Radio (4)
Featurette-1992 Sundance Festival (6)
Featurette-Sundance Institute's Filmmakers Lab-Scenes of Reservoir Dogs
Featurette-Tributes and Dedications (7)
Featurette-The Film Noir Web (6)
Notes-The Noir Files
Featurette-Small Dogs
Featurette-Securing The Shot: Location Scouting with Billy Fox
Featurette-Reservoir Dogs Style Guide
Gallery-Poster
Deleted Scenes-5
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 95:01 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (83:25)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Quentin Tarantino
Studio
Distributor
LIVE America Inc.
Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Harvey Keitel
Tim Roth
Michael Madsen
Chris Penn
Steve Buscemi
Lawrence Tierney
Steven Wright
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (128Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The R-Rated cult film classic Reservoir Dogs has finally been released on DVD in a brilliant Collector's Edition.

    Quentin Tarantino was a 'Hollywood nobody' when he wrote Reservoir Dogs. His only claim to fame was that he had briefly appeared as an Elvis impersonator in a 1985 episode of The Golden Girls. A genuine 'overnight success', this man went from working behind the counter of a video store to being a Hollywood A-List writer/director with one movie, Reservoir Dogs.

    Tarantino's script had floated around a few people, and into the hands of Harvey Keitel. Tarantino openly credits Keitel for his part in getting the movie made and distributed. As a result, Tarantino, a first-time writer/director with no real experience got to helm an independent film that was to shake Hollywood's foundations. Shot as a low-budget film in just 24 days, on release Reservoir Dogs became the darling of the film festival circuit internationally.

    Word of mouth really sold this movie, and I can still recall the buzz from over ten years ago when it was initially released. After about the seventh friend of mine told me that I just had to see this movie, I ventured to a small art-house cinema (The Metro) on George Street, Sydney to do so. Normally, I dislike many art-house films, as they're often pretentious and unentertaining. However, the lights dimmed, the movie started, and I recall sitting through Reservoir Dogs absolutely spellbound. Even on my first viewing I could recognise this movie as being an 'instant classic'.

    The film is so visually powerful that you might recall that it was used (un-credited) recently as an example during the television series The Human Body of how humans react to visual stimuli. They filmed a movie audience's reaction to the 'ear-chopping' scene, in which the camera pans completely away, yet the audience is seen shrieking and thoroughly disturbed. If done well, this Hitchcockesque approach to direction allows the audience to use their imagination, and 'see' something far worse than anything SFX can create.

    Employing creative and inventive film techniques (that might relate to the low budget), and often paying homage to classic Samurai or Hong Kong gangster films, Reservoir Dogs is a raw and intense experience, not easily forgotten. Humour and drama is often conveyed through the rhythm and pace of the dialogue, and Tarantino's script, dialogue, use of the camera, pop-culture references, and ability to juxtapose extreme and confronting violence with light comedy in the same scene soon had a number of A-list Hollywood directors imitating him. The story, as with my other favourite Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction, has a non-linear story line, and the story segments are presented out of order, with frequent flashbacks.

    There is no reference to the title within the movie, but from what I understand, "reservoir dogs" are nasty, starving dogs that spend their time fighting over scraps of food and snapping at each other and passers by. An apt description for the characters in this movie: A jewellery heist has gone wrong -- we never see this, but the events are relayed and pieced together by the characters. This technique, plus the fact that most of the movie occurs inside a single room (the warehouse), lends the film an almost play-like feel. While unconventional, the script works through the inspired direction and camera work, and with the great naturalistic acting of the characters. Indeed, this movie is a real showcase for all the actors, except for Tarantino, (who keeps putting himself into minor roles, and showing why it's best left to the 'experts').

    Tarantino followed the success of Reservoir Dogs (1992) a few years later with Pulp Fiction (1994), which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes Film Festival, and was also nominated for the Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay Oscars at the 1993 Academy Awards. Tarantino also wrote Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), wrote and directed Jackie Brown (1997), and wrote the original script for Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994).

    By the way, if you need help with any of the super-cool quotes from Reservoir Dogs, the original script for this movie can be found here. (http://www.godamongdirectors.com/scripts/reservoir.shtml).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Despite the low-budget, art-house, independent nature of  this film, it looks really terrific and the transfer to DVD is great.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness and shadow detail are acceptable, but the black level is poor, often appearing brown/grey in colour. This is very obvious when the 'titles' for each segment are presented during the movie, for example when white lettering, such as "Mr Blonde", is presented against what's supposed to be a black background.

    The colour, overall, is good, with accurate skin tones.

    There are no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts. Small film artefacts appear throughout, but they are never distracting. At times there appeared to be some mild edge enhancement, but again, this was never distracting.

    Strangely, there are no subtitles present on this DVD.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change well placed at 83:25. It is very smooth and, as it is between scenes, it is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo, this Collector's Edition boasts remastered audio, with the feature's soundtrack now presented in English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s). I listened to both tracks, and preferred the dts track for what seemed to be greater presence in the surrounds. There is also an English Audio Commentary, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 (128Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on both the default English Dolby Digital and the optional dts audio tracks.

    There is no traditional musical score as such. Rather, the movie includes a number of 70s classics, such as George Baker Selection's Little Green Bag, Stealer's Wheel's Stuck in the Middle With You, and Bedlam's Magic Carpet Ride. A fictitious radio station, K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s, is used as an aural film technique for stitching some of the story segments together. A lot of these songs are presented as the movie's source music. I bought the Reservoir Dogs soundtrack on CD and, along with Pulp Fiction, it is one of the very few movie soundtracks I own. Indeed, both of these are still found in the glove compartment of my car, and they are still regularly played while on my way to, or from, work

    As one might expect of what was originally a dialogue-heavy, stereo movie, the remastered surround sound mix is quite front-heavy. However, despite this, the rear speakers are used subtly and effectively to help carry the score and provide ambience. This  maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen. There are not a great deal of rear directional effects, but the rears do add nicely to some scenes, such as the cacophony of the (off-screen) sirens and helicopters at 82:12.

    While not being a sub-heavy track, the subwoofer is also utilised on occasion for some sound effects, which adds a dramatic punch.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This 2-Disc Collector's Edition is packed with extras. Unless stated otherwise, all extras are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Menu

    An animated menu.

Original Interviews

    I found the last two to be the most interesting. The actors mainly speak about themselves, and their approach to the characters in the movie, while Tarantino and Bender give an insight into the film's production, and how it came to be made These interview snippets can be played together or separately.

Critics Commentaries

    In this lengthy featurette, which can be played separately or together, three film critics and authors discuss the movie and what they liked about it. They are:

K-Billy Radio

    An unusual extra that allows viewers to select from three car stereo buttons for surprise audio extras, such as an interview with Gerry Rafferty of Stealer's Wheel, or a fourth extra, entitled Reservoir Dolls (2:16), which is a version of the 'ear-chopping' scene acted out with Reservoir Dogs action figures.

Class of '92

    A discussion of US independent cinema in 1992, which enjoyed the hits Reservoir Dogs, Edward II, and Poison Ivy. There is also some discussion of the Sundance Film Festival, and interviews with independent film-makers:

Sundance Filmmaker's Lab (11:34)

    This appears to be a rehearsal scene, with Tarantino playing Mr White.

Tributes & Dedications

    Yet more interviews, in which Tarantino and others remember Lawrence Tierney and Eddie Bunker. Also, Tarantino mentions some of his film-making influences.

The Film Noir Web

    The following men discuss all things noir:

The Noir Files

    A lot of text, discussing creative people who have contributed to the film noir genre.

Small Dogs (4:05)

    A short featurette about the movie's action figures.

Securing the Shot (4:20)

    Location scouting with location manager, Billy Fox.

Reservoir Dogs Style Guide (0:20)

    Short style shots from the film.

Poster Gallery

    Three of the movie's posters presented as stills.

Deleted Scenes

    Five deleted scenes, including two far more graphic versions of the ear-chopping scene.

Audio Commentary

    Accessed under the "Set Up" menu of Disc One, the commentary is by writer/director Quentin Tarantino, producers Lawrence Bender and Monte Hellman, editor Sally Menke, DOP Andrzej Sekula, and four of the actors. The commentary is often not screen-specific, and seems to have been stitched together from separate sources.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Reservoir Dogs was originally released on DVD in Region 1 in 1997, as a non-16x9 enhanced flipper. In August, 2002, R1 consumers were treated to a 10th Anniversary Edition, which is basically what we now have. I assume as we got it late, however, that they've dropped the "10th Anniversary" tag, although it is referred to during the audio commentary. According to "The Doctor", the R1 is noticeably sharper, but suffers from poorer black levels, and a greenish tinge.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

     I will call it even, as I don't see anything compelling me to prefer the R1 edition.

Summary

    Like Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs is a real love-it-or-hate-it movie. I personally love it, and the four viewings of this movie that I enjoyed for this review will be the first of many for this DVD.

    The video quality is great.

    The audio quality is also great, and much better than what we heard at the cinema.

    The extras are plentiful.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
No english subs on R1 "10th Anniversary Ed." - Juha REPLY POSTED
This is a "Must Have DVD" - Neil (I dont want a fucking bio)
bad pressing? - ste threepio
Easter Egg & Noir Files - Trigger Mike (The Bio Of An Egomaniac)
Lot's of Special Features, Good Quality and all For only $5! - Derek
re - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Re Re - Steveo
New "Anniversary Edition" - chaossphere