Rango (2011)

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Hollywood
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Rango

Storyline

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff. –IMDb

Director:

Gore Verbinski

Writers:

John LoganJohn Logan (story), Gore Verbinski (story) and James Ward Byrkit (story)

Stars:

Johnny DeppIsla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant

Genres:

 Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Family | Western

Rango is filled with funny and slapstick moments.But it also has some real serious sequences. This is the surprising element that should not work and still it does..

The film stars a chameleon (Johnny Depp), who thinks he’s an actor, going through an existential crisis, as he has lived his whole life in a terrarium. When that life is quickly—and literally—shattered, he finds himself walking in search of water. Instead, he finds a town called Dirt, where all the residents are plagued by outlaws and a severe lack of water, which is used as currency, it’s so rare. Rango, seeking acceptance, assumes the role of sheriff, a role that has been played before, but with more unfortunate results. To make matters worse, someone is dumping water in the desert and draining all of dirt’s resources. Rango is now in no-man’s land and must escape from a Hawk who wants him FOR A MEAL! Tons of action awaits the viewer. Who could it be, what is their diabolical plan, and is Rango really the unlikely hero of his own story?

In case it wasn’t obvious enough from this summary, the film’s tone is surreal, complex and almost shockingly mature for an animated picture. It blends in so very many movie references, blending the gritty, revisionist western with the surrealism of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a too-obvious comparison on the latter’s part. Director Gore Verbinski had a unique way of producing and directing this picture: he gathered Depp and all the other actors on a sound stage, in various costumes, acting out their scenes, as a sort of visual reference. Depp affectionately—and appropriately—called this ‘Emotion capture,’ as it gives the movie a more natural, organic feel, as if the reactions were believable. When it’s put on screen, it’s full realized in both interaction and appearance.

Still of Rango

What most people have touched on when talking about the pros of this movie is, indeed, the stellar animation…and, boy, is it stellar. Granted, some of the human cameos are kind of on the flat side, but our animal heroes are textured and expressive, which is important in this kind of movie. We can reach out and touch these sets if we were able; the roughness of the scales, the harsh desert heat and the sponge and spikes of cacti that crop up throughout are just a few of the details in this grand visual experience. The characters that make up this floundering town are actually interesting to look at and listen to, as the animation and awesome voice work give them all distinct and likable personalities. The voices are great with each voice actor doing a fantastic job bringing these characters to life.

Resident include old prospector mouse Spoons, large, but quiet tomcat Elgin, morose, trigger happy little aye-aye Priscilla (Breslin), and, my favorite, the kind, butno-nonsense Beans (Fischer), a rancher lizard who finds herself falling for the goofy, but sincere hero. But, by far, the biggest fan favorite has to be Bill Nighy’s rogue, Rattlesnake Jake, who is hands-down, flat-out scary in any scene he is in! How any kid will survive his scenes is beyond me! However, that made him more of a threat that Rango needs to overcome, which is more satisfying in the long run.

For movie fans there are references throughout. One that really stands out is an epic scene involving a man with no name and a golf cart.Ultimate coolness. Don’t make the mistake comparing this to CGI movies like Ice Age,Kungfu Panda or similar. Approach it like it is fully fledged western that has everything and more of that genre.If you get past that than you will have the pleasure to see one of the most funny and entertaining movies made this year.

However, the story has nothing new to offer. The fake hero plot is old, we’ve seen it in animated movies too, like Chicken Run. The liar with a potential good heart returns to save the city…The rotten leader who sells out his people is not a bright and blossomy idea either, only in this here movie, we have the tortoise, usually an animal of wisdom, representing the corrupted character, in a rather uninspired association made out of negligence or just to avoid a more clicheistic animal. While that may seem rather unoriginal you have never seen the “new place, new identity” gimmick done like this.

This animation is a great way to introduce children to the classic western theme.

The landscape is beautiful, the enemies are great and the soundtrack is perfectly suited to the film (there is a fantastic version of ride of the Valkyries). The film is packed with satirical humor that helps to keep the film fresh and helps the elements of the film to come together perfectly and you can tell that everyone was on the same page when they made this film.

I rate it 7 out of 10.

Watch the trailer…

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