Rango

2011-03-17 14:10
 
Rango
What it's about:

Rango tells the tale of an unlikely hero whose existential angst causes him to ponder the mystery of his own identity. As he departs on a journey of self-discovery he realises that he must fulfil a destiny he could never have imagined. When Rango (Johnny Depp) finds himself in the inhospitable, drought-stricken desert town of Dirt, he is met by a community of strange and gritty critters who have their own mystery to deal with.

What we thought:

It is clear from the very first scene of this fun-filled yet uncanny adventure that Rango is not going to be your average, 100% kid-friendly slapstick parade which has become a sad standard for many films aimed at younger audiences. From the get-go one senses something quirky about the unique characters, the existential questions and the witty, pacey script. Rango breaks the mould and does it well.

Director Gore Verbinski, who dazzled viewers with bar-raising adventure films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, brings his sense of epic action and lush detail to the film. Even though Rango is shot in the now considered "old school" 2D, the lustre of the crystal clear, superbly animated screen is undeniable – in fact Rango is more visually appealing than many of the animated features often seen who have simply jumped on the 3D bandwagon for the sake of it. Every scene is perfectly realised, every character crafted to perfection with staggering attention to detail.

The characters, rather than the plot, are what make this film so ridiculously enjoyable. The feathered Mariachi band that introduces the film and the protagonist elicit laughs before they even act out their narrative. Similarly, the rugged bunch of rodents, lizards and desert creatures all bring their share of funny dialogue and outlandish looks that just forces you to crack up. Johnny Depp supplies the voice of rambunctious reptile Rango and Isla Fisher is the stubborn Miss Beans - delight as both deliver punchy lines with flair. Even Rango’s solo scenes, where we meet him as a lonely household pet with a big imagination, are energetic and sincere.

Although the plot and most of the action will be simple enough for a slightly older children’s audience to follow, some of the themes, sequences and even the characters themselves might be a bit much for a young mind to handle. This certainly isn’t Finding Nemo – even if the characters are endearing in their own wacky ways. Surreal dream sequences, seriously evil looking creeps and weird philosophical half-dead armadillos would’ve kept me awake at night had I been a young 'un.

Rango is delightfully fun; it draws from spaghetti Westerns and tips its hat to classic cinema by means of subtle references and familiar archetypes. Sure there are a few predictable moments and some of the pace is lost towards the middle, but the end product is one that is surprisingly refreshing and decisively exciting.

Creepy critters, Western adventures and surreal sequences that make for fun, family viewing.
Read more on:    johnny depp  |  isla fisher  |  review  |  movies  |  animation

Suzanne Boswell 2011/03/22 10:48 AM
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Rango is most definitely a childrens movie. It is scarey for the kids and there is no joy in the movie. I took my five year old daughter (who sat on my lap for most of the movie. I saw 4 mothers removing their children half way though the film. It is dark, depessing with hardship & suffering and deceipt as the main them.Think long and hard before taking your kids. The animation is excellent but is more for an adult audience (not to mention the smoking, beatings and shootings). The worst was when the Mariachi band were singing while hanging from hang man's nooses!
Bert 2011/03/23 6:52 AM
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Agree with Suzanne not a kids movie. The movie is not funny nor grabs your attention. This is dark animation and when one is finish watching one does not get the "enjoyable" feeling of movies like Toy Storie, HTTY dragon ect.
Lanfear 2011/03/24 11:07 AM
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@ those 1-star raters: Well, with Johnny Depp in it what did you expect? He is after all well known for being a Tim Burton collaborater for instance, whom we all know make very dark animated and odd, freaky movies. I agree that it isn't a kids movie, but I myself enjoyed it thoroughly! Very well done, darkly funny and satirical. You wouldn't take a five year old kid to see movies such as Pirates and Corpse Bride would you? Not all animated movies are for young kids. My brother-in-law's 11 year olds also enjoyed Rango, they understood more and wasn't upset by the dark humour etc.
Lanfear 2011/03/24 12:06 PM
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@ those 1-star raters: Well, with Johnny Depp in it what did you expect? He is after all well known for being a Tim Burton collaborater for instance, whom we all know make very dark animated and odd, freaky movies. I agree that it isn't a kids movie, but I myself enjoyed it thoroughly! Very well done, darkly funny and satirical. You wouldn't take a five year old kid to see movies such as Pirates and Corpse Bride would you? Not all animated movies are for young kids. My brother-in-law's 11 year olds also enjoyed Rango, they understood more and wasn't upset by the dark humour etc.
Suzanne Rudham 2011/03/25 9:11 AM
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@ Lanfear - agreed with regards to Jonny Depp, however, this is being billed as kids movie through and through - Spur are even doing a kiddies meal special where you can get a Rango figurine when you order the kids burger meal. FYI I don't think most adults watch animation off the bat it is almost always with the kids. Oh well its too late now we can't unwatch it
Anthony 2011/03/28 3:25 PM
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It was BRILLIANT! Brilliant brilliant!! There are not that many animated movies that hit the mark and also break barriers with storylines and pure genius animation and not to mention the acting. Each character, and I mean there are a lot of characters in this movie, are so unique in their own right. Agreed that it is dark and perhaps for older kids and adults. But that idea is no stranger to film...for instance a Christmas Carol or Nightmare before Christmas were also very dark in nature and would have scared the 'younger uns'. I found it a funny, fresh, unique story and I'll definitely watch it again on DVD and perhaps even buy the DVD. I only do that with with really good movies :)
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