"And this is my horse, Fritz!"
While Django Unchained was in its theatrical run, I had the chance to see it twice; release day on Christmas and a few hours after the premiere of my first feature film. I remember on the release day, I left an hour before the first showing and I was stuck in a line and was in that line for ninety minutes and it was at the point where I had to catch the second showing. And I was the third person in a long line for the second showing as I arrived forty-five minutes before it started, to get concessions and such. After being one of the first people sitting down, a large obesse man with his wife sits right next to me in an open theater and says; "Hey, hon! Let's sit next to him! He's got a large bucket of popcorn!"
I proceeded to move over a seat and the movie soon starts. When the film starts and Dr. King shoots the horse, the man proceeds to freak out and say out loud; "He shot that horse!" And his wife quietly responded to him and said; "This is a Tarantino film, honey!" It made me aware who was wearing the pants in this crappy marriage. After the film ended, it was myself and another hippy-ish couple in the theater and the lights come on. As I was the last person walking out, I can hear this guy saying; "This movie won't be playing long in the theater as it will be banned! They said the 'N' nonstop throughout the film!"
Again, the town I live in is full of rocket scientists. I don't live in Europe, not any more, where a government can actually ban films from being sold and purchased. In America, the government does not have that type of power. Despite the fact that the MPAA has nothing better to do than go after illegal downloads, I'm sure that government has better things to do, then again...
Django Unchained tells the story of a slave (Jamie Foxx) is freed by a German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz has Django help him track down and collect a bounty on three brothers who helped Django get sold off. After the task is said and done; Schultz learns from Django about his wife, Broomhilde, (Kerry Washington) who was sold off at the same time and that Django wants to find and free her. Schultz and Django learn that his wife was sold to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is a sinister slave owner.
I place Django Unchained in my top three Tarantino directed films, next to Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. He managed to capture this look of what the late 1850's looked like before the Civil War. However, I do think that the you could have named the title character anything else and it would still be as good. I'm sure most are aware that Django was a lone gunslinger played by Franco Nero (who cameos in the film) the 1966 film, Django.
Samuel L. Jackson plays a despicable villain in this film and terrorizes Kerry Washington again, previously in the 2008 film Lakeview Terrace. I think all of the actors shine in this film. Waltz does another great job, this time playing a protagonist in this film. Jamie Foxx as Django also gives appeal and humor to his character whenever Django is interacting with Broomhilde towards the final moments of the film. I give the film a 5/5.
Presented in 2.35:1 and in 1080p, Anchor Bay gives the film the best look it can get. Since the film is pushing three hours and does have a few bonus materials, I think that the transfer could be better as it seems to hang around the low 20's in the Mpbs acording to my PS3. Despite that, it's solid, as we have the overall feel of the theatrical presentations I had seen. Grain is decent and I'm sure it could have been stronger. I give the video presentation a 4/5.
Anchor Bay gives the film a nice DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track. We also have the film presented with French and Spanish dub tracks for the feature. The English audio is very nice as we hear sound effects with zoom ins, like when we first see Candie's face and Tarantino has the tight zoom in for the reveal. I think this audio track really helps the experience as you are immersed with Tarantino's vision for this film. I give the audio presentation a 5/5.
While the Blu-ray only has a few extras, we have an extra DVD which includes the cast at Comic-Con in 2012. On the Blu-ray, we have "Remembering J. Michael Riva", the production designer who sadly passed while working on the film. The crew and cast talk about how they were impressed with how he helped managed to capture the look the of the late 1850's. "Horse and Stunts" which talks about using horses and that Jamie Foxx actually used his own horse towards the end of the film as he rides back to Candie-land.
A look at the woman who was the costume designer who helped make all of the characters stand out and not look exactly alike. Tarantino talks about how the one who looked exactly like the sketches was Don Johnson as Big Daddy and how his look leaped from the drawings to the big screen. Promotional trailers for the Django Unchained soundtrack and the highly stupendous Tarantino XX Blu-ray boxset. Problem I have with this boxset is that they do not include From Dusk Till Dawn which is probably one of the most important films that Tarantino wrote and also starred in.
On the bonus Target exclusive DVD, we have a 50+ minute look at the cast and director Quentin Tarantino at Comic-Con 2012. I think this is an interesting bonus, but, ultimately not needed. Also, something else that is not needed with this Blu-ray is a DVD copy, and iTunes and Ultraviolet Digital Copies of the film. I give the bonus features a 5/5.
I'm not a fan of exclusives. Virtually all of the big retail chains, Best Buy; Target; and Wal-Mart had exclusives for this film. These exclusives and combo packs, especially the combo packs are a big waste of production time and money! I loved the film, but DVDs and Digital Copies are a big waste of time for me as a consumer. If you're a fan of Tarantino's work, this will no doubt be in your collection of films. I recommend Django Unchained, despite whatever Blu-ray exclusive you buy. 5/5.