|Plot Outline: Django, an ex union soldier, wanders the south west just looking for his next meal… and opponent. He drags a coffin behind him that no one knows the contents of, but surely will find out. After saving a woman from bandits he takes refuge in a small town owned by a vicious ex confederate General. Now Django is caught in the midst of a war between Mexican bandits and this lunatic General. How will Django get out alive?|
The Review: The internet really is an invaluable tool. Why, just over a year ago if you would have asked me what a ‘spaghetti western’ was, I would have assumed it was some kind of bizzare western where people use noodles as weapons of some sort. I had seen Leonne’s films, but didn’t really know any background on them. I just knew they were awesome. Hey, I was a kid, how was I supposed to know? Anyway, thanks to this glorious tool we call the internet (invented by Al Gore of course) I have discovered several film genres I would have never explored if it were not for this network of words and numbers. Of course, there are negative sides to every genre. I figured this out very quickly a few years ago with the Italian zombie genre. Thankfully, so far, I haven’t ran into too many bad apples in the Spaghetti Western. Four of the Apocalypse was a major let down, but it didn’t send me into a rage, so I guess that was a fairly good thing. I fell in love with Sabata and Adios Sabata, and now I’ve seen Django. I wouldn’t put Django on the same level as Sabata, nothing beats Sabata’s weirdness for me, but it’s still a classic entry into the genre and makes for easy entertainment.
I think Django sets it’s self apart from all the other westerns from the time & place fairly early on. During the first shot with Django carrying a coffin over his shoulder, there’s something not frequently seen in Spaghetti Westerns: Mud. Usually the scenery is decked out with sand and brick homes, but Django’s world is full of dirt and mud. It’s a subtle change from the usual, but makes a great difference in my judgement of the film. It seemed a more realistic touch to me, there can’t always be a dry climate. To me, the theme song that plays over this beginning takes away a little of the scene’s power, but the visuals stand fairly well on their own. I’m sure the theme song might have some fans out there, but I am not one of them. It sounded like some Elvis impersonator got a record contract in Italy or something. I just generally don’t like it in films where the theme song actually sings about what is happening on screen or about characters. It worked disastrously in Last House on the Left, anyone remember how terrible the music was there? The only time I can think of a theme song I liked that tried to weasel it’s way into the film was with Killer Klowns from Outer Space, but that was only because of how bad and cheesy it was. The Django theme is cheesy, but the film is actually fairly serious. It just didn’t mesh with me.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the film’s soundtrack. As per usual for the genre, the soundtrack is as blunt as a mallet to the skull. I of course mean that in the most positive form possible. The soundtrack isn’t going to be making my top ten list anytime soon, but it definitely has it’s good points. Although I never thought I would say this about an Italian Western, but the soundtrack actually could have been a little more flamboyant. The themes are recognizable on listening, but I didn’t walk away humming bars from it or anything. I just didn’t get the feeling that there was anything really catchy about it. This is probably all me though so don’t take my word on it. Funny enough though, I did walk away singing the annoying theme song. The only other deterring aspect of the film other than the lack of a great soundtrack (once again, my opinion) is the terrible, terrible english dubbing. Generally you wouldn’t see me complaining wholeheartedly about the dubbing in an Italian western, because frankly these films need english dubbing or else they come off insane. It’s just the dubbing here is terrible. Django really called to be dubbed by someone with a menacing and gritty voice, instead he got an average voice actor. This guy sounds like he could be filing my taxes; Not shooting me and seven other men. Other than these two things though, Django is a whole lot of fun. It doesn’t take it’s self all too serious, but puts enough effort into seeming so that the audience buys it. Not a perfect film by far, but a fun one.
What should I end on? Maybe I should go into the spectacular and beautiful last shot of the film? Or the incredibly cool scene that leads to it? Maybe talk about the awesome gun fights? Nah, you people who haven’t seen it can figure it out for yourselves if you so choose. Don’t see the film for it’s violence or you’ll be let down, instead see it because it’s an interesting (although granted, a bit generic plot wise) take on a genre you love. Django isn’t The Good The Bad and The Ugly, or Once Upon a Time in the West, but it is a fun if not over the top film. A classic in some circles, beloved in mine.