After nearly a year of conversations about Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film, Django Unchained, which follows a former slave who sets about getting revenge on slave masters in an effort to find his wife, we now we can really start talking.

While many wondered how (and why) Tarantino would pull off a film that is billed as a revenge story (with a little comedy thrown in) about slavery, others were willing to just wait and see. The discussions were fierce, however. After black film blog Shadow & Act let it be known that they’d seen the original screenplay and it wasn’t “funny” or inspiring and basically called it “contrived”, many were up in arms about Tarantino tackling such a serious issue in such a light-hearted way.

Last year, Tambay of Shadow & Act wrote:

Yes, I know it’s essentially a parody of spaghetti westerns, with a  little blaxploitation elements thrown into the mix. In fact, you’ll find pieces of films like Drum and Mandingo in it. I believe Tarantino once previously referenced the latter as an influence of sorts. But I found this to be maybe his most contrived work…It’s exploitation cinema, and, I think it would have worked much better, and been an easier pill to swallow 40 years ago.

Django isn’t quite the hero here – not the way you’re probably expecting. For a good 2/3 of the script, he’s pretty much playing second fiddle to Christoph Waltz’s character who is essentially Django’s mentor, and the man responsible for his freedom, later providing him with the necessary skills Django needs to eventually challenge the plantation owner who holds his wife captive…

In fact, I’d say that Django doesn’t really, fully, come alive until about the last 25 minutes of this almost 3-hour script/movie…Suffice it to say that just as it takes the assist of a white man to set Django free and on course towards saving his damsel in distress, it also takes the assist (however unintentional) of a white man to finally allow Django his moment to really shine, and get out of the white man’s shadow…

I was also skeptical about premise of the film and became even more concerned after Tambay’s review of the script hit the web. But now the trailer is here, and it is most certainly a slick piece of advertising. James Brown, guns, and Jamie Foxx looking like he’s ready to avenge all 500 years black folks have been oppressed in this country? Oh my!

I’m still not convinced, though. But my interest is piqued just enough that I’ll probably pop into a screening to see if it’s as bad (or as good) as folks think it will be.

What do you think? Will you be seeing ‘Django Unchained’ this Christmas?

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  • Maat

    I knew it was going to play out like that…I don’t think Hollywood is ready to offer up that image for a significant amount of time on the screen. I remember the first black princess Disney movie – The Princess and The Frog. I was very excited to see the movie but was a little disappointed that she was a frog for the majority of the movie.

  • Nadell

    It is pretty much “The Help”…more edgy and raw, pre-Civil Rights. I can’t believe how many folks opposed TH but are enthused for DU?
    Every year a film of this nature comes out.

    • The Bishop

      This movie has nothing in common with The Help. I see you didn’t go see the movie, because that comment was just plain ignorant.

  • malik hemmans

    haven’t heard of too many good black films coming out this year…i think black people should stop being picky about what type of films they wanna see especially when black filmmakers keep making these played out ass movies about the black struggle…movies are mirrors not windows therefore you’re portrayed how you are seen

  • Khufu

    Ok sooo I wanna f^%K Tarrantino up, quick two times. He just bothers me at every level, but… the dude is a master filmmaker. Yes he steals other people’s ish but he has a way of making it his own and that becomes original. He just knows the right moments to show the right stuff, matching the correct shot with the right music que,etc. This trailer is dope, the lighting in the beginning, the fear / rage on Django’s face. The dope shot of Django throwing the blanket off in slo mo after the text- HOT, the rifle shot of the horse man which splatters blood on White flowers – DOPE. The random Black Woman dolled up giving much sexiness- AAHHHHH. I can’t stand it! The politics are disgusting, and lets be clear, it is a White man’s film as no doubt the real battle royale is between DeCaprio and Waltz. And then there is the whole notion of Django not gettting his freedom but being emancipated by an oportunistic white man -extra WACKETY WACK. The only redemption for me would be if is after he get his freedom he shoots Waltz for F&*&^& taking him thru all this BS. LOL

    So do I wanna see it YEAH, but imma be just as pissed at the subtext as I will be elated at his craft.

  • Well… I’ll put it like this. I will not “pay” to see Django Unchained, and we’ll leave it like that. I’m saving actual $$$ to support Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Quentin Tarantino’s big daddies in Hollywood have thrown so much money around to promote and market his ego-maniacal white savior take on slavery. I have concerns that the film projects in which Black people lead their own salvation and freedom–Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells–have been ignored by Hollywood. There’s a sinister design there that I do not care for. 12 Years a Slave is a true story written by a Black man, directed by a Black man, screenplay by a Black man. People have barely heard of it because Hollywood doesn’t give a damn unless the project is lead by a favored White–Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Waltz, Leonardo di Caprio. It hasn’t escaped my notice that these three are the ones getting the Oscar buzz, not Jamie Foxx and not Kerry Washington. Sick of Tarantino and Tarantino’s crazed fanboys with whom I will not sit in a darkened theater and watch multiple Black female rape scenes while they cheer, whistle, and catcall.