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"Django Unchained" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-april-2013-django-unchained

Synopsis

Django is a slave who is taken by Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter in search of the three Brittle Brothers.  As Django knows what they look like and Schultz does not, he makes him a deal: Help me kill them, and I’ll reward you with $75 and your freedom.  Happy to take him up on the offer, Django and Schultz quickly find the brothers and dispatch them.  Now Django is set to go in search of his wife, Broomhilda, who was separated from him and who he desperately wants to find.

Dr. Schultz realizes that seeking her out will be a challenge, but he agrees to help Django do so after they spend the winter bounty hunting together.  In their quest to find Broomhilda, they discover Calvin Candie, on his plantation Candieland, currently owns her.  To attract his interest, they pretend to be interested in Mandingo fighting, where two slaves fight barehanded to the death.  Using this ruse, they attempt to gain access to Candieland, and discover if she is actually there to be rescued.

Specifications

  • Starz
  • 2012, Color, R, 2 Hr 45 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Extreme
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Extreme

Commentary

Even for Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is amazingly violent and bloody.  Of course, any film that revolves around slavery, bounty hunting, and fights to the death is liable to be violent, but this was extremely so.  That aside, Quentin Tarantino certainly seems to have mastered the art of violent revenge fanasties, from Kill Bill to Inglorious Basterds to Django Unchained.  Django starts out fast and never lets up, as Tarantino fills the film with stylistic homages to past films and styles and always keeps it interesting.  Jamie Foxx does quite well in the title role, though Christopher Waltz once again steals the show in an Oscar winning performance.

If you like Tarantino, then you’re likely fine with the excessive gore and violence that he seems to pile on now, and you’ll have no issue with Django Unchained and enjoy the ride as much as I did.  It doesn't quite live up to some of his previous efforts, but that is a pretty lofty bar to aim for.

Technical

I’ve seen a few comments knocking the quality of Django Unchained, but in reality I think those people are just knocking how Tarantino shot the film or designed the soundtrack.  Some shots are deliberately soft, but everything looks very nice on screen.  Highlights like bright snow and detailed and not cut off, and shadow detail, of which there is plenty, comes across very nice as well.

The soundtrack to Django Unchained is a wonderful thing, rendered in all its glory in lossless audio.  Gunshots and explosions are loud and pan across the soundstage well, and the horrible sound of dogs barking over your shoulder comes across as clear as can be in one scene.  I guess it’s not the absolute pinnacle of Blu-ray quality, but only because the original film itself was made that way, so it seems a bit unfair to detract for that reason.  Overall, I never felt like I missed anything watching at home on a 2.40:1 screen compared to seeing the film in the theater, and that’s the mark of a good transfer.

Extras

The package includes a DVD, Ultraviolet Copy, and a few featurettes.