Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Saddle yer turkeys and hang yer opossums 'cause we're reviewin' Rango!
How are people liking the sketchy coloring?

Fair warning: I am completely biased because I LOVE Chameleons. Easily my favorite animal and I think they can never appear in too many movies.

Rango was a ton of fun and very funny. It's a must see for any animation aficionados with some wonderful character acting and amazing sequences. I don't think I would say it was a perfect movie or my favorite, but it was a damn good story with great characters.

The movie starts out as our nameless hero is putting on a show for himself with himself as the lead (with heart wrenching supporting roles from a wind up fish and a decapitated barbie doll). Just as he suddenly has an epiphany that he needs conflict in his life, he gets thrown out of his cage, out of the car his family was traveling in and onto the dusty road. He meets an armadillo that acts as a kind of spiritual guide to send him on his journey to Dirt, and it's at this new western town that he meets a whole cavalcade of characters and starts to re-imagine himself as the badass hero he wants to be known only as...Rango. He gets into trouble with outlaws, becomes the new lawman in town, and lucks his way into a whole slew of western adventures in an effort to find the town's water.

See, they don't use money here, they use water. It's this and so many other little touches that show they really created an intricate, living breathing world. All the characters are unique; they have interesting clothing, different accents, and lovable quirks! If you're into animation at all, this is one you NEED to see, it's just that beautiful in a ridiculously detailed kind of way. All the other reviews emphasize how "ugly" everything is, but being a character designer, and being someone who loves creepy animal designs(see brother rabbit) I couldn't get enough of the characters! For me they were the perfect animal-human hybrids and the designs were a real throwback to crazy stylistic 2d animation.

Johnny Depp does a stellar job as the blank slate protagonist. He's silly, dramatic, and just plain fun. All the other actors have unique voices and they easily get lost in their characters. The humor is quirky and silly with enough double entendres stuffed in there to be enjoyable by adults as well as kids.

The story is fairly predicable; "oh, [that character] can't be bad...oh no [that character] is actually bad! Who would have seen that coming," but it is an entertaining ride throughout. There are some fantastic sequences including shootouts, cavern diving, and an amazing chase with hillbillies on bats with a hillbillized version of The Ride of the Valkyries. And it had a weird but great cameo from a well known western character!For some reason I thought it got a little too ridiculous when plants started to move, completely glossing over the fact that animals can not only walk and talk but also have tiny clothes and guns.

I do have to say one of the things I didn't like and something I look forward to in movies was the end credits. It was somewhere between full rendering and stylized cartoon with choppy animation. It felt like it was trying to have classy 2D animation showing the process or early designs like a Pixar or disney movie, but they were too lazy to hire 2D animators and just did a crappy stop-motion using the actual models. Not that this is going to stop anyone from seeing it or take away from the overall score, it's just a personal disappointment in a movie like this.

All in all Rango is a great animated movie for kids and adults alike. A must-see for prospective animators, and a should-see for everyone else. Also, Chameleons.

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