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A movie directed by Gore Verbinski.

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Rango is another example of covering the defunct storytelling with mesmerizing visuals.

  • Mar 3, 2011

Every film product must satisfy it's audience. Since we're talking about an animated film, the goals are harder to obtain simply because you must project a rich and attractive story filled with funny moments and a detailed animated world. We've seen animated movies made for a smaller audience like, for example, The Illusionist from last year, which addresses adults and not underaged idealists. Rango is a movie for all ages because probably everyone will have a good time watching it. But having a good time watching a movie describes how good the movie really is?... Is Rango that good?

The western adventures of the simple and clumsy lizard Rango (Johnny Depp) borrows elements from Leone's classic westerns, refurnishes the set-ups, creates a comfortable world for the viewer and starts to convert the old-fashioned western story. While it may be remarkably smart written, the story is dragged around the biggest cliches in animated films. We all understand Rango is a perfect reason to pay homage to one of the greatest eras in film history, however, was it necessary to offer a predictable and pointless story?

The lonely guy (or lizard in this case) with no friends and no actual talents whatsoever, integrates in a community (Dirt Town) threatened by an oppressive ruler (The Mayor) and becomes the local hero by luck and chance while defeating a local villain. After a short period of popularity he loses all the credibility and affection by getting engaged in a duel with the big villain (in our case, the town's mayor) which unveils his true face and forces him leave his people with his tail behind his legs. But somehow, in the middle of nowhere he finds hope and courage with the help of some unusual force and decides to go back to his people and free them from the oppressor because that's (obviously) the right thing to do. Wait... I'm hearing some of you interrupting me "Will he get the girl Julian?"... Of course he'll get the girl mate... We all know the story, and we're already bored by it thanks to the tens and tens of movies using the same narrative ingredients. The story structure in Rango is not only common but is also deceivable, cliched and pointless since it adds no gram of originality.

Despite the beautiful look of the film and impressive execution nothing makes me care about our hero. Where's the emotion?... Where's the emotional core? Rango has emotional moments but not because we care about our main character but because we somehow pledge to the loneliness and hopeless described at some point in the movie. Was that really necessary for Rango?... I will say that it wasn't. The funny moments in the film are barely even there, few laughs in the theater but mostly there were just smiles and voices around me debating something but not the actual movie. Most of these funny moments don't even come from our main protagonist but from our secondary characters. We also have that classic group of characters that create a bridge from one point of the story to the other. The four singing owls represent the narrator's voice but they are useless since they are neither funny nor entertaining. They just come, sing and leave without making a strong point. You will forget about them as soon as their scenes end.

As if the gasps in the storytelling's design were not enough, Rango confronts with... politics. An animated film satirizing the world's current issues like our main economical problems and our hunger for resources. Rango depicts the selfishness and creates a pretty dark and actually marxist character in the town's mayor. I was thinking that, okay, it's a understandable thing for adults but is it good for a kid to watch this and being told that if the people don't obey the rules they must be eliminated?... I don't know, maybe I'm a little bit off-topic but I think such delicate issues like that should not be addressed directly to kids.

Going to the voice casting, there were good choices but I can summarize Johnny Depp's vocal impersonation as being close to an animated Jack Sparrow: same tonality, same laugh, same mumbling... It looks like he really has a hard time getting over that character. I felt the entire movie I witnessed an animated green and skinny Jack Sparrow. But enough is enough.

Let's take a moment and applaud the incredible technical execution of this movie. The picture looked so clean and perfectly drawn, the colors were alive and powerful, the contrasts and the sound mixing and editing was really really impressive. The fight scenes looked like the epic grand-scale battle scenes from movies like Avatar or Star Wars... The cinematography was gorgeous and I must say I was impressed with some of the techniques used in the film. There is a shot of Rango dreaming and that crossover from reality to dreams and back to reality was simply amazing. It's a jaw-dropping visual world. Even the score was good. Good choice of music and not a single waste of wrong tones or anything like that. Everything fitted the movie wonderfully. Rango really blew out the water other animations and is a real step forward into animated drawings and design. It's like a concept car or a new burger. It's fresh.

Before I'll finish I want to apologize if you feel that I'm bashing the film because honestly, I'm not doing that. I liked the movie thanks to the wonderful execution and to the homage paid to the western era which I'm a great fan of but that doesn't mean that I need to forget and get over the lack of originality and the over usage of the same pointless story. I wanted more, I wanted to care and I wanted to not feel like watching another Avatar. I do love the visuals but the story is too cliched for me to get over it. And judging the fact that we have a four time Academy Award winner leaving his legacy to Rango to me is a little forced (You'll know what I'm talking about). In the end Rango is a film that deserves a first watch but it's not the kind of movie I'd want to watch again. It seems like studios found again a great chance of covering the defunct storytelling with mesmerizing visuals and impressive editing.

Storyline/Dialogue: 7/10. (I'm trying not to be too harsh)
Voice-Acting: 7/10.
Cinematography/Editing: 10/10.
Art Direction: 10/10.
Score/Soundtrack: 8,5/10.
Overall: 7,8

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March 06, 2011
nice review, and hey, the purpose of Movie Hype is to get away from the pro critics opinion and we welcome all reviews of all viewpoints!....I liked this one myself, this was a little rough on some areas but I enjoyed it. Thanks, Julian!
March 04, 2011
No, I thought this was gonna be awesome! *sigh* I think we can only depend on Pixar for great animated blockbusters these days...
March 05, 2011
Well, I didn't knew 7,8/10 it's something bad. Those pro critics gave it almost the same grade... somewhere around 8/10...
March 06, 2011
Lady D, actually I am a bit tired of Pixar myself...I thought Rango was pretty clever.
More Rango reviews
review by . March 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Clever, Fun and Entertaining....Johnny Depp Rides On As
I am going to be truly honest here; I love spaghetti westerns and I enjoy almost any film with any sort of theme, tone and mood that is the slightest bit similar to a western. That said, I hope you can understand the mindset I went into this new animated film directed by Gore Verbinski called “Rango”. The film was written by John Logan (responsible for acclaimed hits such as “Gladiator” and “The Aviator”), who isn’t exactly known for kid movies; and I have …
review by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Going into this film I had pretty low expectations. It’s released by Nickelodeon, stars Johnny Depp, who tends to be rather feast or famine, and is an animated film that’s not made by Pixar. Due to that latter fact, the probability of it sucking hard went up by, oh, about 300%. So imagine my surprise when I went in and actually liked the movie! Rango stars Depp as the title character, a chameleon who finds himself lost in the middle of the Nevada desert. A kindly, if somewhat …
review by . August 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     When I first discovered that director Gore Verbinski was not going to continue his "Pirates of the Caribbean" saga to work on a new animated film called "Rango", I was a bit of a skeptic. And then, the film released, and I started hearing some good things about it; so I saw it. You can't tell much from trailers, but if you take a good luck as the ones for "Rango"; you'll notice that the animation alone may be enough reason for you to see it, especially if …
review by . March 15, 2011
From the minute I saw the trailer for this movie at True Grit I had high expectations for Rango. Now that I've finally seen it, my expectations were met and exceeded by how incredibly awesome this movie is. Rango is not only the first great movie of 2011, but it's one of the greatest animated films of the last 10, maybe even 20 years and one of the best non-disney/pixar/dreamworks animated films ever. I knew I was going to love this movie, but I had no idea that I would love it as much …
review by . March 06, 2011
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I’m wary when it comes to animated movies because I don’t know when I’m going to experience another Shrek (which was surprisingly awesome) or Hoodwinked (which is easily in the top three worst films I ever had to sit through, and takes the cake on worst kid movie I’ve ever had to endure) I had no intention of going to see Rango, but one of my aunts really wanted to see it for her birthday so to the movies my family and I went. On opening weekend. On a Saturday matinee. …
review by . March 27, 2011
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I think it's fair to say that CGI animated movies are really coming of age. As well as actual animation quality reaching new levels of brilliance, films such as How To Train Your Dragon and recent releases from Pixar, such as Up and Toy Story 3, have shown that you can add real emotional depth and take a less formulaic approach to storytelling without sacrificing good old-fashioned entertainment. We're now at a stage where movies that are primarily aimed and marketed at children are appreciated …
review by . March 05, 2011
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Star Rating:         Gore Verbinski’s Rango is a treasure of an animated film – funny, smart, stylish, perfectly cast, and a technical achievement. Although its pratfall humor, bright colors, and usage of talking animals will almost certainly make it accessible to children, I suspect adults will find it more appealing, for they are far more likely to be familiar with the conventions of the movie western. This movie doesn’t miss a beat: It takes place …
review by . August 31, 2011
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Thematic, Pretty And Not For Everyone
   When you think of the heavy hitters in the animated feature film realm, it’s certainly understandable if the first things that come to mind are Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks.  However Nickelodeon has been hovering around the scene for a while now, hoping to earn a nice piece of the CG animated movie pie. Rango is by far their most serious attempt and while the film’s deserved PG-13 rating may succeed at distancing it from its key demographic (a concept all studios would …
review by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Love this Lizard!
RANGO   Written by John Logan   Directed by Gore Verbinski   Voices by Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty and Alfred Molina       Rango: No man can walk out on his own story.       As I waited for RANGO to start, I was forced to sit through a number of trailers for this year’s other expected animated features.  All are unnecessary sequels hoping to cash in on previous success and they all …
review by . March 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Rango, Is Best Suited For The 12 Year and Older Kids.
When my wife and I first seen the advertisement on the television we thought that it was really cute. If it were not for the fact that our daughter has also seen this preview, we probably never even thought twice about taking her to see it. What the preview doesn't show you is all of the senseless words that the chameleon( voice of Johnny Depp) uses throughout the whole movie. This computer animated western is supposed to be for the kids, but with this language the has transpired throughout …
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Julian Left ()
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About this movie


The film was produced by Nickelodeon Movies, Gore Verbinski's production company Blind Wink, and Graham King's GK Films. The CGI animation was created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), marking the first feature animation done by ILM, generally a special effects company.[4]

During voice recording, the actors were given costumes and sets to "help give them the feel of the Wild West". Star Johnny Depp had a 20-day window in which he could voice his role as Rango, and the filmmakers scheduled the supporting actors so as they could do their scenes with Depp and interact with him.[5]

Verbinski said his attempt with Rango was to do a "small" film after the large-scale Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, but that he underestimated how painstaking and time-consuming animated filmmaking is.

An animated Western with a chameleon as the hero is an unlikely concept, butRangois a great film thanks to its witty mix of parody, intriguing characters, and sophisticated humor. When a common pet chameleon who's suffering from an identity crisis crashes headfirst into the stereotypically classic Western town of Dirt, he has the unique opportunity to completely reinvent himself. Dubbing himself Rango, the chameleon boasts of his own heroism and creates a spiral of deception that lands him an appointment as sheriff of a town in crisis. The question is, can one unprepared and completely unqualified chameleon possibly change this little town's future for the ...
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Movies, Animated Films, 2d, Paramount Pictures, Gore Verbinski Movies


Director: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Action, Adventure, Animation
Release Date: 4 March 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: John Logan
Runtime: 107 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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