Rango (2011)

Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Western
Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Breslin
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.
Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.
  • Paramount Pictures Company:
  • PG Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 Mar 2011 Released:
  • 15 Jul 2011 DVD Release:
  • $123.2M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Brilliant in every sense of the word9/10
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.
Rango... Every archetype, convention and finest detail is here! The west lives on...10/10
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!
Existential yet goofy, "Rango" will impress both young and old8/10
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.

~Steven C

Visit my site at http://moviemusereviews.com
Awesome9/10
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.
Wasn't expecting something this good so early on in the year...9/10
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 cliche(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