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I mean... wow.
*insert slow clap for ILM folks*
Last night my wife and I had the pleasure of checking out an early screening of Rango here in the twin cities. It was a blast! This movie was a great deal of fun. The jokes all hit the right marks, the story was solid, sweet and not too formulaic, and the visuals were outstanding.
There were times that this movie looked 100 percent photo real. outstanding job modeling and texturing and lighting on this. the little tiny attention to detail in the world you guys built had my wife and I in awe throughout most the movie. The animation was fun and eccentric. Over the top but at times subtle and felt meaningful. The only little nit pick was the mouths on some of the characters. in the attempt to make the animals look more like the animals they were representing the mouths were quite small and at times the sync was a bit odd. Though it provided for some goofy looking characters that were fun.
at just over an hour and a half, at times it felt it was a little too slow paced. well, that was my wife's critique. I looked at it more so that they were going for the slower feel of some classic westerns. I thought the long stretches of little dialog, epic music and visuals, and great cinematography worked in the films favor.
The crowd dug it too. I think the youngest person in the theater was about 6 (which i found odd for a late night screening, but whatever) and the oldest was probably in their 70's and everyone was engaged.
I was kind of surprised what they could get away with in a PG rated movie. Im no prude or anything, but there were enough adult jokes snuck in there to give me the giggle fits. Couple of lite swear words, references to more... ehem, adult type themes, but overall pretty tame and enjoyable.
Hats off. If this doesn't win awards I don't know what I believe in anymore. This is one of the more entertaining movies I have seen in a long time.
Rango... yes it is a play on the classic Western Django. Thats why its
I had eagerly awaited the arrival of Rango, not only as a western fan but also as an admirer of Gore Verbinski; and the inclusion of Johnny Depp has yet to be a bad thing. The trailers had almost completely left out any kind of plot hint, which i now realise was a very good decision.
So, the story is that a chameleon, with acting ambitions, longs for social interaction outside of his lonely environment. His wishes are granted when he stumbles into the western town of 'Dirt' and takes over the vacant role of Sheriff. When he discovers the towns water supply is almost run dry he searches for answers along side the townsfolk, all of whom believe Rango to be their Saviour.
If you have seen the trailer you will have noticed the singing mariachi owls, who tunefully break down the forth wall to open the film. Not too dissimilar to the rooster in Disney's classic Robin Hood they help guide the story along and in doing so also keep you guessing. Which was a real bonus for me in terms of animated films as they do tend to get predictable, despite how well they are told.
Rango himself upon first meet is absolutely NOT a hero. Even more interesting though is that his name is not Rango. In fact we have no clue as to what his name is... no doubt an obvious reference to the classic Spaghetti Westerns to which its inspired by and its Eastwood lead 'Man with No Name' character. But Rango, despite his lack of name, knows what he wants and Verbinski very clearly makes sure the audience knows too... He wants the chance to be a hero and to one have a story to tell. Let the narrative unfold...
The real winner here is the scenery, its animated alright but i was struggling to believe that at various points in the film. The scene in the saloon towards the beginning is fantastically lit and the final showdown is shot better than a lot of the classics. I'm not kidding! In fact I would happily pay to see it again just to look at those shots again because they capture the tension so well.
Although the real audience is those who love the classic west, Verbinski is able to make it accessible to a vast number. The younger audiences will definitely appreciate Depp's eccentric character as well as the very well timed humour, both visually and verbally. The more mature audiences will appreciate the latter a lot more so. The story is excellent! It unravels perfectly and its runtime passes by almost without effort.
Rango is western... make no mistake. But i assure you one thing should you decide to give it a chance, its what it needs to be! Its entertaining, action-packed, funny and sincere. Above all else, it has what makes a great film, alongside the great protagonist is a great antagonist! Rattlesnake Jake is scary... he's great with his words and deadly with his gun and he helps build to a great and tense final showdown!
Rango gets 10/10 from me!
I heard from a number of people that this was excellent so I went to
see it myself being a fan of animated movies and of film in general.
And I absolutely loved it, other than being a little too long, which is
such a minor complaint, it was a wonderful film with some surprisingly
mature themes and does very well at trying something different.
The animation for starters is outstanding. Not only do the characters move convincingly, but the colours look gorgeous and the backgrounds are imaginative and stunning. The soundtrack is another plus, the score is wonderful with a sense of fun, great use of instruments and nods to Ennio Morricone, without being too generic or over-the-top with some inspired musical flavour to it.
The script is funny, smart and quirky as well- loved the Chinatown(Ned Beatty based his performance on that of John Huston's), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Star Wars references- the characters are genuine and likable with heart and don't fall into the trap of being too cliché(there are some but it works in the film's favour and I loved the title character), the film goes at a great pace while remaining wholly satisfying at its end with an almost elegiac quality that is there with almost all the best westerns, the slapstick action bounces along nicely and the story is far from formulaic instead it is original and inventive. The voice acting is wonderful, both Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy- Rattlesnake Jake is awesome!- give knockout performances, while Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton and Abigail Breslin are equally terrific.
In conclusion, a wonderful film that I wasn't expecting to be this good this early on in the year. On a side note, for those complaining about suitability for children, I actually wouldn't say this was a film for kids but more adult-oriented. 9/10 Bethany Cox
We all face an existential crisis at some time or another, just usually
not when we're seven, which will likely be the mean age of children
watching this newest non-Pixar non- DreamWorks animated feature. No,
"Rango" won't challenge kids to contemplate their role in the cosmos,
but that's precisely the predicament of its main character, a
theatrical lizard who finds himself as many animals in animated films
do these days thrust out of domestic bliss and forced to reckon with
the untamed and unforgiving nature of the wild natural world. But in
addition to all its verboseness and abstract homage to classic
Westerns, "Rango" equally dishes out top-notch physical humor and
creative characters for the young ones to lap up, even if they're not
exactly of age to, as the film puts at least once, "ruminate."
We don't learn much about Rango's life as a pet lizard. In fact, his name is not even Rango; he adopts it as his identity during his adventure. We do see him create his own theatre productions with the random items in his tank and he pretends that they give him feedback and criticism. When he determines that his latest show needs some intense conflict, he finds himself flung from his tank and on the side of the dry desert road. At the advice of an old armadillo (Molina), he seeks out water and stumbles upon the town of Dirt, a classic Wild West locale full or critters and experiencing a nasty drought.
Johnny Depp quickly loses himself into Rango, a character that's somewhere between his take on Willy Wonka and his turn as Hunter S. Thompson. Depp churns out an outstanding animated protagonist, one who is equal parts boisterous and insecure. As the ultimate outsider in Dirt, our lizard hero has an epiphany: he can reinvent himself out here. He takes up his new name and makes up a fantastical tall tale and then with a pinch of luck, becomes the toast of the town and gets anointed sheriff. All seems swell, but something's up in the town with regards to the dwindling water supply and the local critters are getting restless. Rango must truly be the hero he masquerades as.
The creatures of Dirt are fascinatingly animated. They are gritty and unpleasant looking, but awing in their detail. Rango's facial expressions even out-Depp the man behind them as embodied in the scrawny asymmetrical lizard. The animators do a particularly fine job of creating the hot and dry climate of the desert, enough so to recommend that the film is best enjoyed with a beverage in hand. It's so effective that it magnifies the problematic nature of this simple predicament done hundreds of times before. Hidden underneath it all somewhere has to be an environmental message, but not an overt one and not the main lesson to learn from the story.
The language and texture of the film might be decidedly adult, but the conventions of the story and the degree of action aims specifically for children. Rather than aim for a middle ground, "Rango" somehow takes the highest road and the lowest road simultaneously. The dialogue and the situations are sophisticated but the physicality of the characters and the high-flying Western frontier action still plays to a child's understanding. This only proves that "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski has a real gift for all-ages entertainment.
In addition to Rango's existential quandary, children will not understand the cinematic homages either, particularly to spaghetti Westerns. One of the film's most affecting scenes comes at the moment when our animated hero, as they all do, hits the lowest of lows after he's exposed as a "fraud." Rango has a run-in with "The Spirit of the West," an instantly recognizable figure who has some old-fashioned advice about toughness and walking tall on the path you're given. It's a tender moment as what has been considered a bygone era of cinema plays an important thematic role in such a modern mainstream story.
"Rango" doesn't quite capture the degree of humor and emotional depth that the Pixar greats of the last few years have, but it's a fun adventure with exquisite animation, tasteful characters and a good heart, which puts it as an above-average offering compared to others of its kind. Adults will simply marvel at the intellectual boldness of this pure and simple kids movie and rightfully so. Only with a Pixar gold standard in place does "Rango" come across as flawed; otherwise it's an absolutely pleasant watch from start to finish.
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Director Gore Verbinski has put together quite the filmography over the
years. His first feature film was the family comedy Mousehunt, which he
followed up with the R-rated action comedy The Mexican. He also jumped
on the successful remake bandwagon before the trend really took off
with The Ring. It was the Pirates of the Caribbean films that teamed
the director with the hottest actor in Hollywood today; Johnny Depp.
Perhaps it's because those films made over a billion dollars at the box
office or because they just had fun working together or a little bit of
both that Depp was chosen to voice a talking chameleon in Verbinski's
bizarre yet spectacular animated adventure known as Rango.
Rango isn't your average animated film. That fact will become abundantly clear during Rango's opening monologue amongst his "friends." The film is actually more adult than any of the trailers let on. Within the first ten minutes of the film, Rango has a rather lengthy conversation with some fresh roadkill. In addition to that, the last half of the film is much darker than the first half. Maybe it's the countless number of bats with gatling guns strapped to them, Rattlesnake Jake being one of the most menacing animated villains in years, the film using its fair share of both "hell" and "damn" quite a few times, the film not shying away from the use of nooses, or, God forbid, animated characters smoking, but Rango just doesn't feel like an everyday, run-of-the-mill film put out by Nickelodeon.
Rango also wears its western references on its sleeve. The old time saloons, tumbleweeds, stare downs before a gunfight, and a town's utmost desire for both a sheriff and something to believe in are proof of that. But perhaps it's Timothy Olyphant's cameo appearance as The Spirit of the West that is both the biggest homage to westerns you could possibly think of and the biggest surprise of the film (at least as far as his appearance goes). Well it's either that or the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas reference. Both are equally amazing.
This has the atmosphere of an animated film that was made for adults. It's very off-balanced in the best kind of way, but a lot of the references and humor are sure to go over a child's head. Some of the characters in the film talk really fast (mostly just Rango and Beans at times) and while Rango is goofy enough to make the kids laugh, the subject content involving the town of Dirt certainly seems to be aimed towards a more mature sense of humor.
Rango is the first animated film from Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company that did computer generated effects for the first three Star Wars films and the effects for the T-1000 in Terminator 2 among countless others. The film looks phenomenal. There were times when Rango looked like he was walking in an actual desert. While the characters weren't quite as detailed as the owls in Legend of the Guardians, they still looked incredibly realistic or as realistic as talking animals could possibly be.
Rango is one of the most eccentric animated films you'll ever have the pleasure of sitting through. Its homage to westerns combined with its explosive action sequences, an endless amount of hilarity, tender and sentimental moments that actually make you feel sorry for a talking lizard, and even a little bit of romance pretty much has all your bases covered as far as genres are concerned. Rango is a dark, witty, and entertaining ride that's also fairly mature for an animated film. All in all, Rango is easily the best movie of 2011 so far.
This movie is insane! I read a lot of negative reviews here, and all of
them had one common factor: children. Of course it's not meant for your
4 year old kid, It's a Gore Verbinski movie. This guy made The Ring and
Pirates of Caribbean, none of them had any child-safe approach about
them. if you want to make your children happy, go and watch Mars need
Mom or something.
Ranting aside, this movie is one hell of fun journey and a feast for eyes. No 3d, shining bright colors, A good script that gives space to each and every character, strange and beautiful landscapes; the list is quite endless. It also happens to be quite post modern in it's approach. I couldn't believe what I was watching on screen. You definitely will long for a second watch.
in movie Things were not shiny and tidy. It was full of grime, the characters experienced real helplessness and despair; you could feel for them. That's a big achievement for an animation movie.
"Rango" is more appealing to adults than to kids. It has a lot of
reference to the old western movies which kids might not understand.
There is nothing new about this movie but "Rango" is visually stunning,
full of decency and totally hilarious.Though there are problems about
the story but it's dark, crazy, and exciting.
The story is nothing but reference of other western movies. It's kind of a remembrance but it's not compelling and new. There is nothing new about the story. It's just a western relic.
The best thing about this movie is its animation. The visuals are wonderful and eye candy. The character design looks old fashion zany and I love it. Kind of reminded me of "The Misadventures of Flapjack" a TV show from CN. While this movie is from Nickelodeon there are some humor that kids will perhaps laugh. The movie is not in 3D. "Rango" proves us that 3D is not necessary to our lives. 3D shrinks the scale of a movie.
There are no flaws with the voice acting. Johnny Depp is really meant for Rango. Isla Fisher did this before in Horton Hears A Who so it's okay. Bill Nighy is an amazing villain. I want more Ned Beattys' sexy voice. Too bad Timothy Olyphant didn't have enough scenes but it's still great.
My favorite thing about the visuals is the environment. Look at the sky and the desert. Cinematography is also great. Every visuals are eye candy. The scene when Rango and his friends are being chased by bats and gophers is truly breathtaking.
Maybe the reason why Ebert gave this movie a perfect rating because it's not in 3D. Well Rango is not flawless but it is still entertaining. If you like beautiful visuals then I will recommend this movie to death. The story is not really unique. It's still worth watch. The merits makes us ignore the flaws of this movie.
So a slight blurb about how surprised I was that Nickelodeon was
tackling several mature themes: Rango boasted quite a number of darker
undertones that you wouldn't normally expect from a PG, animated
Nickelodeon movie. Such areas included language (sporting such lines as
"You son of a-"!, "Go to hell!", and "Can I gut-shoot someone?"),
violence (an impressive amount of shooting and dying), sexual themes
(making references to how "active" one's mother was and a joke about a
mammogram), and the film's portrayal of death (where characters
constantly expect Rango's death and at one point, parody death by
hanging). That is, you could arguably find just as much material in
other animated films, such as The Incredibles- but it just goes to show
that Nickelodeon is ready to experiment with a braver sort of film,
much like Disney did with Pirates of the Caribbean. Okay, disclaimer
Rango is beautiful film that, regardless of its content, gave everyone in the theater a darn good time. Borrowing heavily from classic Westerns (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and Western comedies (The Three Amigos), the film brings reinvents a past formula in an amusingly creative way. Rango, a pet chameleon unsure about how he wants his identity to develop, is suddenly cast to into the life of the wild wild west and decides to assume the duties of the sheriff in a troubled town. When the gunslingin' enemies arrive, the trouble begins...
If anything, the film is revolutionary in its animation. The quality and textures of the animals and landscape is simply spot-on and never ceases to amaze. By far this is the movie's greatest strength- and supporting the beautiful visuals is a whole slew of jokes. Like I said before, sometimes the humor is a bit awkward for its targeted audience (there were definitely a lot of times adults laughed instead of the kids) but for the most part the theater as a whole enjoyed the comedic spots. The voice acting cast is of course lively and fun, bringing a unique quality to each and every animal character. And lastly, the score by Hans Zimmer is once again majestic and exciting (influences from his work in Pirates and Sherlock Holmes are easily heard, but with a Mexican twist!).
Overall, Rango is a beautiful and exciting western adventure that you shouldn't miss! As long as you know what you're in for, the humor and the visuals will take you for an unforgettably pleasing ride. 8/10
After an extremely weak first quarter in the cinematic world full of
remakes, re-dos, 3-D flicks and movies about gnomes (really
finally have something fresh, original, and quite trippy to kickoff
2011. Once again reaching into his Western roots, Gore Verbinski makes
up for what he did to World's End and delivers one heck of an animated
film. Rango is full of surprises: surprisingly violent, surprisingly
smart, surprisingly full of western references left and right, and with
a surprisingly incredible western score that matches that of Ennio
Morricone (never thought I'd say that). If you can muster its sluggish
start, extremely fast-pace humor and rather bizarre moments throughout,
then you will thoroughly enjoy Rango and its Western mayhem. And who
said the Western genre is dead....
Rango (Johnny Depp) is a chameleon that after a mishap inside his tank comes across a town full of desperation and hopelessness. With a little bit of luck and a lot of lying, Rango becomes sheriff of the town but runs into a lot of trouble when the water supply hits low and tensions start rising. The storyline is nothing new, but the script (Good work John Logan) is full of fresh ideas, fun action pieces, and a great assortment of characters. In the midst of the script lie so many homages and references to classic westerns you can make up one heck of a drinking game.
A strong factor into the fun of Rango is the excellent voice acting, which rivals that of Pixar's best casting work (See: The Incredibles and Finding Nemo). Johnny Depp is phenomenal in all his crazy roles, and his performance of the hilarious Rango is nothing short of brilliant. But, let's not forget the great work of Isla Fischer (as the lead female), Bill Nighy (as the sinister Rattlesnake Jake), and the great singing of the owl mariachi (Los Lobos). And speaking of singing, let's talk about music. Hans Zimmer was robbed when Inception didn't win Original Score, but he deserves even more praise with the score here. It is an incredible mix of guitar, strings, orchestra, and nods to masterful Morricone, and is hands-down the best score since Michael Giacchino's "Up." I am strongly contemplating buying the soundtrack if it's out in stores.
The three main reasons why Rango works: Johnny Depp, Hans Zimmer, and Gore Verbinski. Very few blockbuster directors have the zaniness and range of Verbinski; as his repertoire includes Pirates of the Caribbean (epic blockbuster), The Ring (horror), The Mexican (I still don't know...) and Mousehunt (underrated dark family comedy). His talents can be shown here as he interweaves strange dream sequences with unique action sequences and plenty of hilarious moments. This movie also doesn't hold back for the kiddies, as it has the language, adult dark humor, strong themes, and heavy violence of a good-ol' western. Just picture what were to happen if Chuck Jones directed a tamed Quentin Tarantino script. And Lord knows there is not enough Chuck Jones influence in the modern animated movie world.
Bottom Line: Rango works because of its fresh originality and its refusal to follow the clichéd rules of children animated flicks. It ditched the 3-D, ditched the watered-down tone we see all too much, while we experience a very unique take on Westerns while at the same time see plenty of odes and homages to them. The zany edge of classic Warner Brothers doesn't happen enough in this millennium (With Emperor's New Groove being the outstanding example) so its great whenever we see a Chuck Jones-style of entertainment. While the movie is quite gritty for a PG flick and some of its off-color content may throw you off, I am confident when I say that Rango is the first good flick of 2011. Once again Depp, great job. Your career is astounding and even underrated in critical acclaim standards. Zimmer, I think its time to start making an Oscar dedicated to you, because that was quite a musical trip. And Verbinski, I forgive you for World's End.
A couple days ago, I started 2011 off on a solid note with The
Adjustment Bureau, but that solid note has now risen to a brilliant
note with the release of Gore Verbinski's Rango.
Johnny Deep provides the voice of the title character, a chameleon house pet who gets lost in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and through a series of effective fibs, as well as killing a lethal hawk by accident, winds up the sheriff of the town he wandered into known as Dirt, a town low on water supplies, and on the brink of total drought and dehydration. Rango decides to investigate the mystery surrounding the low supplies, and quite often bites off more than he can chew.
The direction by Gore Verbinski, who garners enthusiastic and terrific performances from his voice cast, is wonderful, and the screenplay by John Logan pays tribute to the classic spaghetti westerns of yesteryear, right down to pre gunfight stand offs, important events happening at high noon, and the decision to have a Mariachi band narrate, and make comment on the film's events. Sure, a couple scenes seem to overstay their welcome, but in spite of that one flaw, the film is fresh, and funny, and the film quite often got a good laugh from myself. I also loved visual references to characters played by Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
I must also praise the technical crew. This is the first animated feature designed by the legendary special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, and John Knoll does a good job at supervising the film's many grand, colorful and photo realistic images. I have just as much praise for the audio crew. Sound editor Addison Teague does a good job at handling classic western sound effects such as gunfire and galloping hooves, and Hans Zimmer (whose music score pays delightful homage to the scores of Ennio Morricone) does a great job at heightening the excitement and wit.
Before I sign off, I must make a final point. I'm normally not too vocal about censorship, but take the facts that the film is animated, and rated PG with a huge grain of salt, because Rango is NOT a kid's movie. The images are quite quirky, and sometimes even trippy, some of the subject material is rather violent and foul mouthed, and some of the jokes may fly way over kids' heads, but that's exactly why I think the film's so special. The film makers stuck to their guns, and didn't wimp out in order to get a bigger audience of children. It's a movie almost strictly for older viewers, and should be treated as such.
Needless to say, I loved Rango. I give it ***1/2 out of ****
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