(Spoilers) Sad as I am to do so, I have to agree with Charles. DU was pretty disappointing. It is surprisingly straightforward -- no chapters, no shuffling of chronology, no intertwining stories -- and character development and opportunities to provide content are too often traded out for laying an arbitrary song down and showing nothing-much-happening. The pacing is awkward and even the most interesting scenes -- say the one where Candie discovers the duo's ploy -- make little sense in the specifics of how they play out.
Perhaps more central yet to the movie's ineffectiveness is the fact that at no point are we given any particular reason to like Django himself. As protagonists go, he's a bit of a dud, to the extent that QT feels the need to awkwardly stop the action at one point to have the Schultz character remind us, through a needless bit of exposition, that Django isn't really an asshole, just pretending, as instructed. We knew this, but it's as if QT didn't have faith the audience was on the same page -- it felt to me like something added during filming, because of how ineffectually characterized Django still is at that point. And if Django is a dud, it's doubly true of his absolutely non-developed cipher of a wife he has set out to rescue. Given the nature of their predicament, historically and narratively, it's almost impressive how little QT managed to get me to care about their plight. The excitement ends up stemming more from a desire to see the relatively cartoonish slavers get their comeuppance, which they do -- but even that somehow fails to be as satisfying or well-executed as one might hope. There's at least one pretty terrific shoot-out, but the overall trajectory and resolution of the various action bits was somehow unsatisfying to me.
Dr. King Schultz is a much more enjoyable character than the pair he is assisting, but that's more by dint of Waltz's natural charisma than anything: the character himself doesn't really make a whole lot of sense.
What I did like: I normally can't stand DiCaprio, but I thought he did a fine job as Candie. Samuel Jackson was really terrific as well, and the relationship between those two characters was loaded with all kinds of interesting potential. But like most things in the movie, it wasn't delivered on to the degree I thought it would be, given a near 3-hr running time.
The movie also boasts QT's own most insufferably awful cameo yet. It's cute that he blows himself up, as if joking with the audience that he realizes his sudden presence isn't welcome -- but alternatively, he could have just left himself out of it.
DU is definitely at or near the bottom of my list as far as QT's movies go. It had a lot of potential but so much of that potential felt either half-baked, or all together squandered.