Its biggest flaw, though, for those who care about such things, may be its moral attitude. That might seem a stodgy thing to bring up in the context of a Quentin Tarantino movie, but it takes such center stage that it needs to be examined.
It's these fine sequences that can make you truly regret Tarantino's snarky, in-joke impulses, not to mention his arrogant -- perhaps even dangerous -- lack of concern with the story's moral dimensions.
Clocking in at 2 hours and 32 minutes, it is unforgivably leisurely, almost glacial, a film that loses its way in the thickets of alternative history and manages to be violent without the start-to-finish energy that violence on screen usually guarantees.
All the trademark Tarantino flourishes are here -- the joyous splaying of gore; the self-referential dialogue; the artful artificiality and the juxtaposition of humor and violence -- but they don't add up to much.
Simply another testament to his movie love. The problem is that by making the star attraction of his latest film a most delightful Nazi, one whose smooth talk is as lovingly presented as his murderous violence, Mr. Tarantino has polluted that love.
I don't know if I've ever seen a revenge fantasy so willfully messed up, sometimes offensively so, that still manages to be worthwhile for whole sections of its 2 1/2 hours. The opening is as good a sequence as Tarantino has ever created.
The true moral universe in which the film unfolds is that of the spaghetti westerns...: a world in which the strong are above the law and the way to tell the good guys from the bad guys is not by their acts but by the kind of hats they wear.
Many Tarantino movies are female revenge fantasies, in which strong women plot the deaths of men who wronged them. In Shosanna and Bridget, the writer-director has fashioned two of his steeliest, most principled femmes fatales.
Tarantino is the most fearlessly inventive filmmaker alive -- but we knew that. And while Inglourious Basterds is never anything less than ridiculously entertaining, it's nothing Tarantino hasn't done before.
Detractors and proponents alike will see what they want to see in this two-and-a-half-hour World War II fable, which hits all the beats of a retribution-laden genre piece without ever entirely satiating character or audience bloodlust.
If only Quentin Tarantino the director weren't so completely in love with Quentin Tarantino the writer, Inglourious Basterds might have been a great movie rather than just a good movie with moments of greatness.
Inglourious Basterds is not boring, but it's ridiculous and appallingly insensitive-a Louisville Slugger applied to the head of anyone who has ever taken the Nazis, the war, or the Resistance seriously.
By turns surprising, nutty, windy, audacious and a bit caught up in its own cleverness, the picture is a completely distinctive piece of American pop art with a strong Euro flavor that's new for the director.
The film is by no means terrible but those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing.