Run time: 107 min
Genres: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
Director: Gore Verbinski
Writers: John Logan, John Logan
Stars: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant
Rango is a pet chameleon always on the lookout for action and adventure, except the fake kind, where he directs it and acts in it. After a car accident, he winds up in an old western town called Dirt. What this town needs the most is water, but they also need a hero and a sheriff. The thirsty Rango instantly takes on the role of both and selfishly agrees to take on the case of their missing water. Written by napierslogs
|Plot Keywords: water, lizard, sheriff, western town, chameleon|
Release Date: 4 March 2011 (UK)
Budget: $135,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £1,638,613 (UK) (4 March 2011)
Gross: $123,207,194 (USA) (1 July 2011)
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 so interesting!
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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