Django is a good flick.... Too much is made of Foxx's character, he's an automaton type actor. The real actors worth watching are The Dr. (can't think of his name) Sam Jackson and Leonardo... Don Johnson is also good.... If not for those actors the movie wouldn't be worth watching.
I realise this a gaming website, but there was one huge response to my top 5 films of 2012 blog. It was, where is Django Unchained? Well Django Unchained only came out yesterday in the UK, and for that reason (being a UK resident) I hadn't seen it. Now I have, and I feel that I owe you guys my take on the film. So here goes.
Django Unchained is a highly entertaining movie; its brilliantly funny, sharply written and well acted. If you have an affinity for Tarantinos sensibilities there is no way you wont enjoy your time with this film. However its also tonally quite confused, leaving it as a fun movie but one with no lasting impact. Its classic Tarantino b-movie style revenge, in a way it feels like Tarantino making a Tarantino movie, aping his own style rather than doing anything different. This isnt really a problem, the man has made some exceptional films, but Django doesnt reach that level, it has high points where the film starts to excel, but as a whole it merely manages to entertain. Of course entertainment is something we want from a film, but the reason why this is somewhat of detraction here is because Django shows a clear want to be something more than entertaining. It wants to say something, it wants so give a lasting impact, it wants to expose a part of history for what it was and make you think on the past. It wants to do this, but it fails to do this. This is due to an imbalance of tone and how self referential the film is, Tarantino has caught himself up in a web of his own tropes and is determined to peddle out the sharp witty dialogue he is known for, and the bloody violence, at any point. All of this is done well, but it doesnt gel with the films other ambitions.
If youve been following the film its hard to separate Tarantinos claims about it from the movie itself. They are very different beasts and linking the two can cause the film to be a disappointment. However, if you are to judge the movie on its own terms you have the net result of a superbly crafted piece of entertainment that gives you what Tarantino does but in a new setting. This isnt a Western film that just happens to be directed by Tarantino, this is a Tarantino film that just happens to be set in the old West. If you look at the directors claims though a different picture is painted, one of an important movie, an eye opening movie. Django Unchained is not that movie. Tarantino holds himself responsible for bringing the topic of slavery to the lips of the world, because obviously nobody even thought to tackle or talk about this before Quentin put pen to paper. He also claims to be drawing peoples attention to the reality of it all, he himself speaks of a holocaust that happened in the States that people dont know about and his aim is to show things for what they are. Noble aims indeed, but not ones he achieves. If you know anything about the world you will go into Django Unchained with a negative view on slavery, you will also exit Django Unchained with a negative view on slavery. As a society we are pretty aware that slavery was a bad thing and Tarantino does little more than re-iterate this point with little nods to look dont these slaves have it bad. Theres nothing special about it on this front. Now of course there is still the aim of showing a historical account, the point of exposing how bad America was. This is a separate thing, it expects you to know slavery was bad and then educates you by giving accurate examples of how the American people used to act, shaming us with history. Once again, a fine aim, but one not reached.
Fun Fact: Tarantino is terrible in this movie (thankfully not for long)
The core problem of Django Unchained is its tone. The film is so over the top and detached from reality that its hard to learn anything from it. Yes horrible acts towards people of a different race are depicted, but it never seems like something real, it seems like back-story for a B-movie revenge flick. This is a revenge flick that is excellently realised, but it is only this. The film goes for the ludicrous at every point, it plays for laughs throughout and even when it turns sincere it is a fictionalised sincerity which applies to a fictionalised world. The characters are brilliant, they are well acted and cleverly written, but they dont feel like real people in the slave trade, they feel like characters from a Quentin Tarantino film. Quentin plays to his strengths, but he does so at the jeopardy of his ambitions. Whats more troubling though is the films depiction of violence. The trouble doesnt come from gratuitous violence on screen; the gratuitous violence is for the most part highly entertaining. Its all unrealistic and laughable in a way that works for it, its not used to shock or to make you uncomfortable, it is used to entertain. For the most part its successful, when early on somebodys head oddly explodes from a gunshot, the scene is set. Violence is entertainment for the next few hours, and it is knowingly so. The trouble comes when Tarantino tries to have his cake and eat it. Not only does he use violence for entertainment, he attempts to use it for other means. He attempts to shock the viewer, unsettle them, and show them something real and gritty that they dont want to see or accept, and ultimately use this to show how bad the slave trade was. This just causes a large dissonance though; you cant go from comically over the top blood splatter to a very real portrayal of the whipping of a slave. It doesnt fit and it detracts from the film later. Something could have worked with this, he could have turned the table on the viewer and stuck with a you think this is entertainment, well lets see how it really is. The problem is he flits between the two and neither has an impact. A particularly excellent and suspenseful scene is ended with the threat of brutal violence, its gripping stuff and an unappealing prospect. However the very same scene is followed up with a lengthy and hugely bloody gun battle, once again featuring unrealistic amounts of blood spraying everywhere and clearly using violence as a way of amusing and entertaining the viewer. This falls flat though and the scene is off putting due to the carryover from before, its also far too long, the end result being a contradiction in tone. The film cannot quite decide whether it wants to seriously say something about slavery or just be a violent and really funny revenge film. In the end it is just a violent and very funny revenge film with a few weird forays into out of place sincerity that fail to make an impact.
Christoph Waltz however is superb, take note Mr Foxx!
Overall it is a really good film though, a great film actually, it's just nothing special. It's not a film to hold up against Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, merely another solid Tarantino flick. Personally I will take a solid Tarantino flick any day of the month, but there comes a point where it isnt quite enough, where his films become expected and pedestrian rather than seminal moments in cinema. Thankfully he still gets great performances out of his actors, Christoph Waltz is the standout as the hilarious Dr Schultz and Leonardo DiCaprio is almost as brilliant as Monsieur Candie. Jamie Foxxs Django fits the bill, but the morality of the character is ultimately quite strange and earns him the role of a well acted caricature. Samuel L Jackson is as entertaining as always, but is just playing himself once again. The problem here is that his character starts out as something slightly different, and just lapses into pure Samuel L Jackson when needed. This makes for entertaining diversions, but its stuff youve seen before and its mildly inconsistent. The bottom line is this, if you like Tarantino movies this will work for you as an excellently made piece of entertainment. Its a bit too long and can drag in places, but not aggressively so, its a self-indulgent movie but Tarantino just gets away with it (who knows, next time he may not). If you want something that excels, something with meaning to it and, basically speaking, any kind of lasting impact, Django Unchained doesnt deliver. It may set out to achieve this, but its attempts fall flat and are all half baked. Tarantino is too busy trying to do what hes known for and make his style of movie to commit to something else. This means you get a fun film with some great highpoints, but some out of place moments that detract from the picture as a whole.
I give it a 7.5 out of 10 for great acting but poor character background information. I would have liked to have learned a lot more about Django besides a very small flashback. Going from a dentist to a bounty hunter deserves much more of a background as well. How did that come to be? I think the violence was used well though for this time in history and setting.
I am looking forward to watching this one.
I am sort of split on Tarantino movies. I love Pulp Fiction and Inglorious Basterds, but I hate the Kill Bill movies. Let's see where this one falls for me.
I just don't like the way you've presented your arguments. You had one sentence that read "There are horrible acts, but it doesn't feel real" and the rest of it is spent criticizing the tone. Great, so you didn't say violence isn't there to show us something. I'll give you that for the half-sentence that made mention of it.
Tarantino's biggest success is that he managed to get his point across by still managing to entertain the audience with humor, whether it was with sharp wordplay (Samuel L. Jackson) or violence (like when Schultz frees Django and the slaves at the start of the movie) while still showing the audience how horrible slavery was.
You never discuss how the relationship between DiCaprio and Jackson mirrors that of Foxx and Waltz. You never describe how violence is justified through civility in the eyes of the antagonists and how violence is justified through retribution for Django and profit for Schultz. It is only when the violence is not justified that we are left uncomfortable with it. Does that say something about us as viewers? Does that say something about Tarantino's ability to make us laugh and then gag at similar scenes?
Your issue is simply that you think comedy and drama when used in violent context can't co-exist and that Tarantino essentially messed up by using both.
In short, I know what your argument is, and I don't care for it because I think it only examines the surface and says "this is what I wanted and instead I was given this." That's well and good, but that's the most basic analysis you could give. You don't have to like the movie, but when you tip toe between "it's superbly crafted but this is what I wanted" and "it's great but not special" then the tone of the review feels as off as the tone you're trying to criticize.
It told me my comment was too long and then the reply button was being hokey so forgive the extra posts.
Except that was the point.....
@NeonNinja @stephenage Django is the 2nd worst character in that film. There's no reason for sympathizing with him aside from him suffering a lot as a slave. He shows no compassion for the other slaves and treats them the same way white people do. Tarantino wanted to make an inspiring, memorable black hero but instead made a psychopath that isn't interesting or likeable at all. He failed miserably at his aspirations.
Great film, though.
I disagree with this point entirely.
Django did not want to kill that one bounty at the start of the movie because the man's son was with him. Schultz made him do it anyway.
The only people Django and Schultz killed were criminals, even in the violent shootouts. But the reason why Django did not show any effect during the other moments, like when he sentenced that one slave to death essentially as Candie let his dogs tear him apart is because he was forced to pretend that it didn't bother him in order to save his wife.
The comparison to Nathan Drake is absolutely a poor comparison whether it's a full character or the violence. Django does not fall under the trap that you're describing.
Please don't compare Nathan Drake and Django. That's just stupid. There is a huge distinction between the two. Other than that, whatever.
@NeonNinja Did you miss this bit 'not only does he use violence for entertainment, he attempts to use it for other means. He attempts to shock the viewer, unsettle them, and show them something real and gritty that they don't want to see or accept, and ultimately use this to show how bad the slave trade was.'
I disagree with your points about a dissonance in my review also, a movie can be well crafted and still flawed. On a technical level it's an excellent movie, he gets great performances out of his actors, the cinematography is excellent and the dialogue is really sharp and very witty. However the movie had a big tonal issue for me. It carried no greater meaning for me and therefore the attempts to reach this (which failed in my eyes) stood out and became tonally problematic. I also didn't mention the points about the relationship between the pairs of characters because I don't wholly agree with it. Jackson's character stands out due to his admiration and subservience to DiCaprio's Candie, the same isn't true of Foxx and Waltz. Though there is some hierrachy to their relationship Waltz goes out of his way to be accommodating and treat him as an equal. They were partners in the movie and Jackson's character was an underling to DiCaprio. I also don't feel that all the violence was justified, Django did a Nathan Drake in killing everybody in sight whilst remaining a charming and charismatic lead.
Ultimately the tonal digressions of the film are up for debate, for you it strenghthened the film, and I can see where you are coming from. There is something to say about well used juxtaposition For me personally this didn't work and just ended up not having either of the desired effects. The entertaining violence stopped being entertaining and the shocking violence started to fall flat. This was my personal take on the movie and is what I put down in my review. I see where you differ and respect that, but I'm not going to lie about the impact the movie had on me, and I think my point of view is very understandable even if you don't agree with it.
Also, violence is not used to shock you and show you how inhumane the times were? It's for your entertainment only? Because I distinctly recall a nude woman left in a box under the sun as her punishment. I distinctly recall a man being torn to pieces by a dog. I distinctly recall a man having his eyes gouged out and then his skull hammered in for the amusement of a slave owner.
You are seriously going to write a review and tell me that the violence is there for the sake of my entertainment and then toss out "tone" as the reason for a freaking Blaxsploitation Western? Are you freaking serious? The movie succeeds in both pushing its message and helping an underserved genre reach a state of recognition.
What was the last great Blaxsploitation movie you've seen? I guarantee you your experience with that genre is practically non-existent if this is your takeaway from this film and its tone/portrayal of violence.
@NeonNinja If it worked for you than that's great, but I didn't claim violence to shock wasn't in the movie I distinctly said it was and that it exists alongside the violence for entertainment. This dilutes the shocking violence and lessens the entertainment value of lengthy bloody shoot outs where over the top non-realistic violence is used. As far as blaxsploitation goes, the closest touch stone I have is Black Dynamite, but I'm not going to forgive a film its faults because of its genre. If a rom-com showed attempts at depth and originality but ended up cliched I would not let it slide because most rom-coms are cliched for example. If Tarantino wants to make a great blaxsploitation movie, then he achieved his aim, but in doing so he didn't make a fantastic a film.
If you loved the movie, that's awesome. Just make sure you get my argument right if you want to criticise it.
@NeonNinja I think Terintino did something not people can do and few people can recognize. He made a thought inducing action movie. Looking back at the interplay between the well chosen actors or how they accurately portrayed the fine line between seeming rational thought and insanity was great, Decaprio seemed to be a charming southern gentlemen only to consistently show that beneath he was a power mad loon drinking the 1800 souths kool-aid. Mixing Micheal Bay esq. action with a critical eye of those times is no mean feat.
Django is absolutely fantastic and you cray. The movie never once fails in expressing its message.
And Jamie Foxx was excellent.
Also, Tarantino is terrible in every movie he's in. That's hardly a fun fact. That just goes without saying. The man can't act.
Funner fact, this is not the first Django movie Tarantino was in.
@NeonNinja You can't just knock a film review blog because you disagree with what he says. I hope you know the picture captions were supposed to be sarcastic. (V);,,;(V) Zoidberg disagrees with you comment.
The comments are from sarcastic. They're cute and I like that he praises Waltz over Tarantino though.
@NeonNinja I really like Tarantino in from Dusk till Dawn, in fact I really liked his cameo at the start of Reservoir Dogs and I enjoyed his part in Pulp Fiction. In Django he was really awful due to his attempt of an accent he really couldn't do.
after getting dismantled on Friday for posting a non-gaming post to the front page, I admire your bravery :) saw this movie, it was good, not great :)
This review reads like it was written by a 9th grader.
"Overall it is a really good film though. A great film actually. Its just nothing special..."
@monicker Do you wish me to explain the distinction between those three terms? It is a way of highlighting that the film is in fact very good but making sure the point stands that it's no masterpiece. I reiterate its goodness to make that point clear (which was necessary after the amount of negativity to create the right balance) and then follow it with a slight detraction.
All clear now? Also it's hard to take an accusation of childish language seriously when it ends with a 'LOL'.
Ignoring the typos, grammar, and attempts at sounding erudite you don't seem to understand what adjectives mean. Perhaps I was a bit harsh in my criticism, and if that is the case, I do apologize. That said, saying something is "great" and "not special" in the same sentence, with nothing else separating them, is not only a contradiction, it's sophomoric writing. I know this is just a post on game site, but the writer should take the criticism, bad or good to heart, if he does indeed care about writing. If he disagrees, that's his choice. If you put something out there, it will be read by all types, and people will criticize, so if the writer of this review can't handle that, then perhaps they should find better ways to spend their time, ways that require a thinner skin. TTFN : )
I agree with your review. It was a highly entertaining movie with good scenes, but some things are over the top. Same goes for Inglourious Bastards
@ipinto1441 Glad you see my point of view, but I did like the movie. And while I didn't love it I am glad other people did.
The classic b-movie action was pretty enjoyable but the music scenes were a bit too many and boring. To be honest I was expecting it to be better. For me a 6 out of 10.
It was long but not once did my but go numb from sitting in my seat, thats how i can tell it was a good movie. Avatar, Pirates of the caribbean...numb ass..
This film was wayyy too long. As good as Tarantino is with dialouge, set pieces and bringing out the best peformances with his actors, he has no sense of restraint or discipline due to the fact that Tarantino the director is obsessed with Tarantino the writer. Theres a good 90 min film in Django Unchained, but it left me underwhelmed with its bagginess and pointless scenes (Tarantinos minor appearance) which made the film feel like a directors cut. At this point in his career, u could probably make 2 entire films comprised of all the scenes he shouldve cut out from other material. Tarantinos best films were in the 90s (Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, Jackie Brown), but i lost interest with everything from Kill Bill onwards. It was just fanboy claptrap.
I don't think Tarantino will ever make a deep, thoughtful movie. I'm not sure he is even capable. I watch his movies for the scenes not the movie, he is brilliant for creating these rich individual scenes that really crackle with energy. His problem is he can't make a complete movie and never really has (the closest would be Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown).
@jeffrobin Maybe your right, but the point stands that in this movie he was clearly trying to and he ultimately failed. I would agree with you on Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown being the closest, I adore those movies.
This move was really good, I thought it was going to be a joke at first until I found out Tarantino did the film. I was a fool for judging and not paying attention
I actually found Django to be a bit overrated (tine for me to get flogged). It was good, but it dragged too much. People complain the Hobbit had pacing problems (which I don't agree with), but people have nothing but praise for Django, and between the two I feel this one suffered far more from pacing. Inglorious was much better. Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson were great though.
I haven't checked out the film yet, but usually I like Tarantino's films, so I'll still go see this one just for kicks.
Glad to see someone that doesn't hail this movie like everyone else. I don't see the big deal about Tarantino, and this one looks a lot overrated. I'll skip it.
@AvatarMan96 Sounds like you need to see Pulp Fiction.
@AvatarMan96 Yeah... I thought the movie was great...