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A movie directed by Gore Verbinski.

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Rango is "Winning"

  • Mar 11, 2011
  • by
We’ve all heard the age old joke… Why did the armadillo cross the road?  To get to the… Eeeekkk! Ok maybe not, but after this weekend you will get what I’m trying to say.  Director Gore Verbinski shares a story that over flows with life due to his unusual method of recording voices by actually having his actors acting out the scenes and recording the action to create a base line for the animated characters that are soon to follow.  Rango is a film that has placed the bar so high, that one can only hope it delivers.

Rango follows the journey of a chameleon who goes from being a family pet to finding its inner strength to become the hero to a small western town named Dirt.  Having lived a rather boring life behind four glass walls, when accidently thrown from the family car out into the hot dessert, and needing to quickly find his footing in order to survive in the Wild West.  Rango is one of those unlikely heroes who spent his entire life dreaming of adventure, when suddenly he is put into a situation where he has to use his acting skills to play the role of his life!  Rango must save Dirt from drying up and prevent it from being taken over by bandits.  This little animated western can easily rival any western that has come before.

Rango is a fantastic film full of little nods to a variety of previous films that ultimately makes a transition from being a kid’s film to a film more likely enjoyed by adults.  Paying homage to a wide variety of western films, as well as some film and entertainment references easily recognized and others not quite as obvious that it is the “big kids” that will truly enjoy the film for what it is.  With a classic camp fire scene that reminds us of the great Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, to an Apocalypse Now aerial action sequence, to a bridge crossing that rivals The Fellowship of the Ring, to a Mariachi band of owls whose reappearance throughout the film, with perfect timing, only adds to the overall hilarity of the story. There’s even a bit of Fear and Loathing visible during some of the hallucination scenes, and there is even a little nod to Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.   With a quirky main character voiced by the talented Johnny Depp and a leading lady-lizard, voiced by the beautiful Isla Fisher, the caliber of talent that lends their voices to so many well developed characters almost makes you forget you’re actually watching a cartoon.  The ensemble includes Alfred Molina (Sorcerer's Apprentice) as Roadkill, who will leave you squirming in your seat; Bill Nighy (Pirate Radio) as Rattlesnake Jake, who is the epitome of a western bandit; Ned Beatty as the crocked Mayor; Abigail Breslin (Zombieland) as Priscilla, who you can identify a little with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld; Harry Dean Stanton (Big Love) as Balthazar; and Gil Birmingham (Twilight) as Wounded Bird, just to name a few of the memorable characters.

But if that was not enough, there is one scene in particular that will make this film a true hit.  Bare in mind this is purely for the adults in the room as it is highly unlikely that anyone under the age of 15 would appreciate what Verbinski delivered just before the end of the film, and it is at this point that I fell head over heels in love with Rango.  It is the Spirit of the West who brings the film full circle, and once you met this character will you understand the perfection that is Rango.  My only complaint is that for my own selfish desire I wish the actor chosen actually sounded a little more like the person they were portraying.  Even though I love Timothy Olyphant (Justified and I Am Number Four) who voices the Spirit of the West, and was thrilled that he was attached to Rango, I felt that they could have found someone a little more fitting.

Over all the team up between Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies was extremely successful, giving audiences of all ages a story that hit the ball so far out of the park that we are not likely to see a competitor in the near future.  It is rare these days to find an animated project that is this well developed and not from the powerhouses of Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks.  Audiences will be thoroughly surprised and impressed by the way these two companies are able to provide you with an entertaining story that is well fitted to be called a modern western, exceptional animation and characters that you can’t wait to see where the story takes them.   I suggest that you attend a showing of Rango, whether or not you have kids that provide you an excuse to attend a cartoon.  I guarantee that you will be thoroughly entertained and leave the theater wanting more.

I give Rango a 4.5 out of 5.   

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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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   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 …
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 …
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Hannah aka Angry Penguin ()
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I am a film fanatic, constantly watching films new and old. When not watching movies I'm reading YA lit or sci-fi/fantasy novels, or working on completing my own book.      If … more
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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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