So the trailer of one of my most anticipated movies of year has arrived, Django Unchained. In case you didn’t know what it’s about, here’s the basic plot:
With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. …
So what do I think of this trailer? To be honest with you I’m a bit underwhelmed by it. I hate to judge a film base solely on its first trailer but somehow I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be. Some of you may have already read my script review of the movie. From what they’ve shown so far in the trailer, most if not all of the scenes from the script are there. I love the look of the film, even though it’s referred to as a western, most of the film actually took place in the south. Christoph Waltz looks exactly as I had envisioned him when I read the script, although I’m still not sold yet on Jamie Foxx as the hero Django, maybe because when the script was “leaked” Will Smith was being sought for the title role so I pictured him in that role instead. Leo DiCaprio looks like he’s having a blast playing the villainous Calvin Candie, if he’s as good as the role that was written in the script, I predict he’ll get an Oscar nomination.
Now the reason I was underwhelmed by the trailer is the tone of the film. To me it looked too cheesy, I expected the tone to be more of a serious western like The Outlaw Josey Whales or The Wild Bunch. Now I know Quentin Tarantino is paying a homage to the cheesy spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s but I didn’t expect to look this cheesy. It looked more like a comedy/western than a serious action/western. Another reason I wasn’t too excited about the film is that QT is working with a new editor since his long time editor/collaborator, Sally Menke, passed away two years ago. He’s now working with Fred Raskin and I’m not sure if he could translate what QT wanted out of the movie. As some of you know, editing is one of the most important parts in filmmaking and if the editor doesn’t have the same vision as the director then the film could be a disaster.
Even though I was a bit underwhelmed by this trailer, I’m quite sure the actual film will be great, heck they’re still shooting it so hopefully when they’re all done, we’ll get a new great trailer. In the mean time, we can all discussed what they’ve shown us so far.
[rtm’s note: With the recent casting of Jamie Foxx in Tarantino’s upcoming film Django Unchained, Ted looks back on some of his favorite films from the Tennessee-born director. Also check out Ted’s review of Django Unchained script.]
QT is one of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today and yes I do think he’s a hack but he’s a damn good hack. He’s able to combine his favorite genre films from the 60s and 70s and put in own spin on them. With the news that he’s going to make a western, I thought I should list my favorite films of his. I’ll only list films that he was the sole director, I’m not going to list films or TV shows that he co-directed, co-wrote or starred in. Also, I won’t go into the plot of each film since readers of this site probably know QT’s films pretty well. In order, below are the films:
1. Pulp Fiction
I actually didn’t care for this film the first time I saw it. I thought it was weird and well just plain sucked. So a couple of years later, I decided to give it another shot since it got nominated for so many Oscars. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it the second time around and it’s now one of the few films I’d call a masterpiece. I have seen this film countless times now and I’m still waiting for it to come out on Blu-ray. Highly recommended if you’ve never seen it. …
2. Inglourious Basterds
Tarantino spent over ten years writing the script of this film and I think it was well worth it. I love this movie, all the performances were great, especially Christoph Waltz as the sinister Col. Landa. QT said when he first wrote the script, he wanted to cast big named stars in the movie. He wanted Sly Stallone as the Basterds leader then Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis and Adam Sandler will play the Basterds. He wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger as Landa and the film was going to be more action oriented. Of course around this time, those actors were still making $20mil per movie so he figured there’s no way he can cast them all so he decided to re-write it. When he finally was ready to shoot the movie, he met with Leo DiCaprio and offered him the Landa role but Leo told him to cast an actual German for the role instead. We have to thank Leo for that suggestion. …
3. Kill Bill I know there are two films but I count them as one because originally the film was supposed to be released as one movie. After The Weinstein Bros. saw the film, they told QT to cut it into two so they could make more money from it. Great move since both films earned around $70mil each, had they released it as one, they’d only make $70mil. QT’s take on the kung-fu and spaghetti western was just awesome; he even played homage to Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More. …
I thought Uma Thurman got robbed for not getting an Oscar nomination for her role as The Bride. A little tidbit about the second film’s ending, in the script there’s a big fight scene between The Bride and Bill. The scene would’ve taken place right after their conversation near the end of the film. The fight was going to be on the beach and Bill’s demise was quite brutal, I think that’s a correct word for it. Rumors been going around that QT actually shot the scene but he didn’t like it and decided to not use it. Of course he never confirmed or denied those rumors. So hopefully we’ll get to see it in the near future. … 4. Reservoir Dogs I didn’t see this film until after I saw Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, by then I was in the QT fan club and wanted to see all of his work. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started watching this film but was quite surprised of how much I enjoyed it. The film has very intense torture scene, I still having a hard time sitting through it even if I watch it today. But I thought the way the scene ended was quite ingenious; I definitely didn’t see it coming. … 5. Jackie Brown QT’s take on the Blaxploitation genre was very good but it wasn’t well received by the critics or audiences. I think many people were expecting another version of Pulp Fiction even though he kept telling people that isn’t. I remember a guy I used to work with at a video store, he was so excited to see this movie and I kept telling him it won’t be like Pulp Fiction and he said he knew that going in. Well after he saw it, he told me it sucked because it wasn’t anything like Pulp Fiction. I thought it was funny and just laughed at him. I’ve only seen this movie once; it’s definitely one of my least favorite films of QT. I’ll see it again once it comes out on Blu-ray. … 6. Death Proof (part of Grindhouse) I enjoyed this film but can’t say it’s good because the film was pointless and didn’t have any plot whatsoever. Going into this film, I expected to see his version of Halloween or Friday the 13th, but what I got was a movie about pretty girls talking nonsense and they kept talking and talking and talking. Although I thought the chase scene at end was awesome and the little twist was pretty cool too. I can’t recommend the film to anyone unless you’re a huge die-hard fan of QT like I am.
Well those are my ranking of QT’s films, from best to worst. What do you think? If you’re a fan of QT, how would you rank his films?
So I got a hold of Tarantino’s new script Django Unchained and have read it three times, it’s probably one of the most exciting scripts I’ve read in a while. In case you don’t believe me, see the image to the right, it’s the front page of the script, if you go to some other sites to read the review of the script, you‘ll see the exact same page.
I also read the scripts of Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds way before the films came out and I thought those were great but Django was much better, so let‘s hope QT can turn it into a great film. Since the film hasn’t even been made or cast yet, I won’t go deep into the story, I have too much respect for QT to ruin his great work and spoil it for those who prefer to see the film. I’ll skim through some of the characters and what you can expect from the film. It’s basically a revenge/love story with Tarantino’s touch.
Fans of QT know that he love the cinemas of the 60s and 70s and this film will be his true homage to the spaghetti western genre and also a little bit of blaxpoitation films. Particularly he played a lot of homage to Once Upon a Time in the West and Mandingo. A lot of people assume it will be a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Django, but it’s not. Although the star from that film, Franco Nero, will probably have a minor role in Django Unchained, QT wrote a character especially for him. The story took place sometime in the 1800s, he never specify the year and right away we see to our hero Djangoand a couple of pages in we were introduce to our second hero, Dr. King Schultz. Since QT knows how to shoot a great action sequence, this opening scene will no doubt be spectacular once it’s on the screen, again I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say Dr. Schultz is one bad ass character. Apparently QT wrote the part specifically for Christopher Waltz and if he accepts the role, no doubt he’ll own it like he did with Col. Landa.
After we were introduced to our two heroes and a big action scene (trust me you‘re going to love the sequence and it was quite bloody too), just like in other QT’s films, he jump the story to another character with the usual screen fades to black and then title card telling us what we’re about to see now. In this segment we were introduced to Django’s wife Broomhilda and what happened to her after the opening scene. There’s a flashback scene in the beginning of the movie of Django and Broomhilda’s time together but a tragic event happened and they got separated.
Also, here we were introduced to the main villain, the slimy and despicable Calvin Candie. If you think Col. Landa or Bill were great villains, Candie might actually change your mind. I’d compare Calvin Candie to another despicable villain character, Judge Holden from Blood Meridien, a western novel written by Cormac McCarthy. I won’t be surprised at all if QT sort of based Calvin Candie on Holden. Later in this segment, we get to see Candie’s right hand man, a house slave named Stephen; he’s as nasty as Candie. Also there were some minor characters we were introduced to; these include a vicious killer who kills slaves for fun. There’s a scene in the script that’s very similar to a scene from Schindler’s List where Ralph Fienes’ character lined up Jewish prisoners and shot them in the head one by one; in this movie a few slaves were lined up and this character named Ace Woody starts shooting them in the head one by one. Then there was Candie’s lawyer Mr. Moguy, even though he’s in the rest of the film after we met him, he didn’t have a lot of dialog. The rest of the film takes place at Candie’s farm called Candyland, that’s where he pits slave fighters against one another.
As I mentioned before, this is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read and it has QT’s signature unexpected scene in it, you know like the one where Vincent shot Marvin in the face in Pulp Fiction or the shootout scene in the basement bar in Inglourious Basterds. In this one there’s a handshake scene that will make people laugh and jump at the same time, seriously it’s going to be awesome. What’s surprising to me though was how straight forward the plot of the film was, I was expecting something wild and crazy but what QT wrote was a true western with a lot of action and great characters. Now since the story is about slaves in the 1800s, the N-word were uttered by every major characters in the film except Broomhilda, so if you’re offended easily I don’t recommend you go see this film. Also, whichever actress who gets the role of Broomhilda, she’ll have to bear her skin quite a bit. There’s a couple of rape scenes and of course whipping. Just like the other QT’s films, it’s brutal and unflinching; I know for sure some scenes will make people very uncomfortable. One particular scene might not make it to the screen, it involved a runaway slave and huge hunting dogs, and I’ll let you use your imagination as to what happened in that scene.
In the last month or so Will Smith was the front runner to take the role of Django but looks like he’s backing away from it, probably because he doesn’t want to star in such a violent film, which is kind of funny because he was in Bad Boys 2 and that film was quite violent. If Smith won’t take the role then I would like to see maybe Anthony Mackie or Idris Elba. As for Dr. King Shultz, Christopher Waltz have to accept it, I can’t see anyone else in that role but him. If Alan Rickman were a bit younger, I think he’d be great for this role too. Rumors also been going around that Michael Fassbender was offered a role in the film, I assume it’s for Candie’s lawyer role Mr. Moguy, the role is minor and very similar to his character in Inglourious Basterds.
As for the villain Calvin Candie, apparently QT offered the role to Leonardo DiCaprio. This is kind of strange since he wrote the character as someone who’s in his late 40s or early 50s. If Leo accepts it then I’m sure QT can change the script and make the character younger. I actually like this move by QT a lot, cast one of the biggest stars in Hollywood as one of the most despicable villains ever and I think Leo can do it. It will be very interesting to see how people will react when he says the N-word to our hero and to all of the black characters in the film and trust me he uttered that word quite a bit. I think for the role of Broomhilda QT can probably cast some unknown actress since I assume some well-known ones might not want to take it. Like I mentioned before, the role will require the actress to be naked a lot and she got raped in a couple of scenes. For the role of house slave and second main villain Stephen, Samuel L. Jackson has apparently been offered the role and he’s perfect for it. In the script QT described him as a tall, skinny and in his 50s. He and Django do not like each other one bit and the showdown between them was pretty awesome, can’t ruin it for you though.
Now QT love to change his scripts so what I read might not be the final script but I hope he keeps most of it when he finally shoots the film. I remember he changed the script of Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, only about 60% to 70% of script made it to the screen. Whatever he decides to do, I’ll be there opening night. Seriously I can’t wait to see this movie but it won’t hit theaters ’til Christmas 2012!
So there you have it, an early review of QT’s new script that sure to be stirred up some controversies once it hits the big screen. What do you think? Will you go see it or are you not a fan of Tarantino? Feel free to leave your comments below.