KILL BILL, VOLUMES I&II
Hearing that the Kill Bill story was written and filmed as one movie, then
separated into two movies at the behest of studio heads, one might reasonably expect the worst. It sounds like just a cheap and sleazy way to make fans buy two tickets to see one whole movie.
Having seen both films, however, it really does make more sense this way,
cutting it into two movies. It plays like two whole different movies, with
different styles, subjects and goals. The whole tone of the story takes an abrupt shift with the first scene of Volume 2. You might think of it as Old Testament vs New Testament.
The first movie was all action. Some reviewers described Volume 1 as the most violent movie ever made, or some such. With all the body parts flying off the edge of Uma Thurman's sword, that seems like a reasonable judgment.
The main defense of this horrible gore was usually that it was presented in
an ultimately cartoonish manner. The flying and spurting blood were
obviously fake, so they really were not representing real suffering and
death. The whole first movie, with the hundreds of up close and personally hacked-to-death dead plays more as an homage to the Quentin Tarantino fan experience than any immediate story, there being little dialogue or storyline in this film. The real meta-subject becomes the director's joyous memories of movie bliss. It works somewhat like the Indiana Jones movies that way.
On one hand, the palpable joy of Saturday afternoon at the movies constitutes a perfectly good topic for art, just as valid a part of the human experience as whatever angst filled dark night of the soul you want to conjure up. One beautiful aspect of the human experience comes from being a young man in a theater enjoying the finer aspects of action movies and a big box of popcorn.
Volume 1 gets to that with just perfect, heightened artistic sense to wring
the most out of the experience. Tarantino's doing tricks here in all
directions with choreography, photography, sets, editing and surely a bunch of
stuff that I don't even notice. It's well worth the price of the movie
just to see the ballet of this presentation, the juggling act of colors and
It is widely noted that Volume 1 lacks any significant story or motivation-
only the most primitive loyalty and revenge. This is true, but somewhat
defensible. Indeed, there is very minimal dialogue of any kind at all
though, because Tarantino's got other stuff going on.