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28 December 2011

Rango (2011)

Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Western
Country: USA
Runtime: 111 Minutes
In this animated salute to the western genre, we meet a high-res chameleon who ends up being the hero of our story. The film has a highly original and distinctive style as it tries to combine desert creatures with western genre characters. WE have gunslingers, ranchers, Indians and even a tortoise that really seems to have been round along time. From Pirates director Gore Verbinski the film is highly polished with and a bright story, that makes it one of the finest animations in recent time.

Rango (Johnny Depp), a chameleon who enjoys acting ends up knocked off out of the back of a car in the middle of a desert. He walks through the empty and extremely hot desert and bumps into Beans (Isla Fisher), resident of the town dirt. After a strange meeting, Rango gets a ride into the town Dirt, where he finds himself becoming the sheriff of the gun-slinging gritty town. Welcomed as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt.

Gore Verbinski who director the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films suddenly comes out directing his first animated film, and what a fine job he has done. The idea for the film came up in 2003 to Verbinski, and did not go into proper development in 2007, after Verbinski had worked on the three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. Verbinski has carefully planned how the film ended up giving it a unique touch of visual brilliance, and a movie-referenced storyline.

The voice acting was superb and many great talents were involved. Johnny Depp gave life into the charismatic reptile Rango. The to-be sheriff of the town Dirt we first meet acting with his inanimate friends. He soon ends up on an unexpected journey and encounters many memorable characters. We have Beans, voiced by Isla Fisher, who is the leading female of our story. Her character is a head strong, but sweet woman and owner of a ranch. She soon becomes the romantic interest to Rango, giving the film a classic Western touch of romance.

One character who definitely will be remembered is Rattle Snake Jake, the gunslinger who appears near the end of the film with his antagonistic fear factor. Being voiced by Bill Nighy (Who played Davy Jones in the POTC Series), the character is definitely terrifying in some ways, right down to the last scale. There are dozens of characters thrown into this of various species. We have possums, tortoises, snakes, toads, bullfrogs and loads of other animals that honestly are not seen much in Computer Animated films. Which brings me to saying the film is magnificently original. 

The style undoubtedly sets itself aside animated films in recent years. Everything is so gritty, dirty, textured and photographic. The film combines animation with classic western conventions and the desert to create something special. The result for some may not be as what I think of it, but as a technological fan of animation, I think what they have created is highly impressive.

Hans Zimmer, the legendary composer who has previously worked on films such as “Inception” and even “The Lion King” way back definitely shines here. The music in “Rango” has the spirit of a western topped with a Mexican feel. The soundtrack is wonderful to listen to as the film plays and that is that.  
What makes Rango so special is how it has explored the animation medium, and goes for something that has not quite been done yet. Many of the shots and angles remind you of a feature film, a western to be exact. Some examples of what inspired “Rango” are the films “True Grit” (original) and “high Noon”, two classic westerns. I am not the biggest fan of the western genre and have seen few, but it is clear this films homages and references are to spaghetti westerns.

It has comedy, great characterisation, an entertaining story and the spirit of a western, making it a grippingly engaging animated film. Forget kiddie crap like “Gnomeo and Juliet”, this film has a more high tones touch. It may not be violent or have strong language, but it definitely does not feel like a full-blown kid’s film, but rather a global audience kind of animated film. The plot may be generic in some parts, and partially predictable, but its charm oversees that.  I will go ahead and say this is one of 2011’s greatest films because of its smart plot, original style and great collaboration of creative talents. This is an animated wonder for smart filmgoers.                          

My Rating: 8.5/10

Extra Info:
Distributed by Paramount Pictures 
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Screenplay by: John Logan
Produced by: 
Gore Verbinski, Graham King, John B. Carls
Age Certificate: PG


  1. Though I certainly agree that it was better than your average animated feature released today, I still think it lacked enough genuine originality for me to accept it as much better than just okay. I have the same problem with a lot of Pixar movies as well (like WALL-E, which I still view as something of a mash-up of various sci-fi movies and Bill Peet's 'Wump World'), but seeing as it is a kid's movie, I should probably be a little more forgiving. Excellent review, though, I can see where you're coming from, it just didn't have the same impact on me.

  2. Gave it the same rating, brilliant film, best animated of the year probably.

    Hey Thomas, do you know anything about the Kreativ Blogger Award?

  3. thanks, no I havent what is it?

  4. terrific review. I haven't seen this one yet, but you (mostly) can't go wrong with Johnny Depp

  5. happy to hear you say that! Depp is easily one of my favourite actors.



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