Fast forward about 5 years and I get it. No one does what Tarantino does. No one makes films with the incredible knowledge and respect for history that he does, and no one throws away the rule book and gets away with it like this man. Since 2007 he had wanted to do a film about slavery, but not as an "issue" movie. "I want[ed] to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to." Django Unchained is the unofficial second entry in a "trilogy" that was started with Inglorious Basterds, and will finish with an as-yet-undetermined film by continuing the tradition of justice being served in unconventional ways.
Django is funny. Many of the critics who saw its early footage and trailer at Cannes this year were surprised, because isn't this a violent, bloody, revenge film about a slave in the pre-Civil War south? Yes. But this is also Tarantino, whose unselfconscious sense of humor serves the story well because it lets White folks enter Django's world without guilt or worry, and Black folks claim Django's triumphs as their own. He is the hero of his own story: he teaches himself to read; he learns how to shoot a gun with deadly accuracy; and he begins to believe in his own value despite society's opinion of him.
As the trailer starts the music is appropriately somber, but then Christopher Waltz emerges from the woods (with a giant, wobbly tooth mounted to the top of his stagecoach?) and politely "in-KWIRE"s about the whereabouts of Django. But isn't a white man giving Django his freedom? Doesn't it insult his humanity? The trailer doesn't let us dwell on the "issue" of it all because there's Django, throwing off the heavy symbolic blanket of slavery and -- spaghetti western style -- taking control of his situation as a respected equal of the bounty hunter Schultz.
Besides experiencing the main story's driving purpose -- rescuing Django's wife Broomhilda once the Brittle Brothers have been located -- I just want to go on this ride. How does Django come to be wearing that heinous blue suit? Why is Leo so excited, and is he allowed to be having that much fun as a despicable, rotten-toothed plantation owner? Why is Jonah Hill in the credits? So many questions.
If you're interested to know more about the story before its December 25th release, check out the ScriptShadow review that gave it a rare "genius" rating (spoilers, obviously).
And how much fun is this trailer?