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A movie directed by Gore Verbinski.

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Probably the best film Johnny Depp has been involved with since Sweeney Todd.

  • Aug 1, 2011
**** 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 you're like me, and you absolutely love animated filmmaking.

I applaud the great minds involved in this film. They have made a great animated feature; braver, smarter, and far different from most animated films all-around. In my opinion, this is a classic; and I don't get to say that often. Heck, the last time I did was when I watched "The Illusionist", Sylvain Chomet's melancholy French animation about a fading magician in an evolving world. That was a wonderful film; although even as animation, it is much different than "Rango". This film doesn't have the emotional kick of Chomet's film, but it doesn't want to; it's a satire of Westerns. And as far as that goes, it's kind of brilliant.

This is the story of Rango (Johnny Depp); a house-pet/lizard who is some sort of dreamer. When we first meet him, he's setting up a cinematic-like scenario with a couple items. We learn that he is inside a tank; probably waiting for a "miracle" to happen. And one does. An armadillo (Alfred Molina) is hit by the car he is in; sending Rango flying into the air, into the road, and onto the windshield of Dr. Gonzo and Raoul Duke (in one of the best scenes EVER, as a reference to "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", which also starred Depp).

From there, Rango comes across an old Western town, which is being deprived of all its water. It is somewhat run by the mayor (Ned Beatty), who appoints Rango the sheriff position soon after he arrives in the town and shares his absurdly false stories. But as with all dreamers, Rango does indeed believe that he can be the person that he describes in each of his tales. Perhaps he can be. When the casual trouble-makers make their way to town, Rango puts it upon himself to drive them right back out. And when the water's source of disappearance, a family of moles somewhere far from home, is discovered; Rango is determined to get the town's aquatic beverage back.

Then comes the film's central villain; Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), a mean, slender bastard whose relations with some of the townsfolk may be more sinister than initially thought. Rango must also defeat him, even if he has other things on his mind. I also forgot to mention the love interest of the character: Beans (Isla Fisher).

Verbinski's film loves Westerns as much as it loves cinema in general. I was consistently amused by the references to "Fear and Loathing", "Apocalypse Now", and the films of Sergio Leon, while I was watching the flick. These references, and the narrative style of "Rango", set it apart from most of the animated films of this year, or any other year. In the end, the film's nearly surrealistic qualities, and its absolutely stunning attention to detail in its animation, make it sort of beautiful. This is one of the best films of 2011, and yes, I know how alone I might be when I say that.

Johnny Depp brings a lot of his expected-quirkiness to the role of the titular character. The lizard himself reminds me a bit of Raoul Duke...without the cigarette always hanging from his mouth, without the same sort of hat on his bald head, and without his crazy addiction to mind-altering, potentially dangerous psychedelic drugs. If you can draw such connections, then you will know that "Rango" is not an animated feature for children. They may enjoy some of the jokes; but how many kids have seen half the movies the film is referencing? Some of the brighter ones, at best, might actually appreciate the film; as I did. This film is more than pure fun. It has characters worth caring about, direction (from Verbinski) that counts as some of his best in recent years, and I fell in love with the final product. The film is as hilarious as it is satirical; and as non-kid-friendly (sort of) as it is dark, witty, and appealing for cinephiles of all ages. This is a movie for movie-goers who want to think, and who want to appreciate. "Rango" is genius.

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August 01, 2011
Oh yeah...this was one of those movies that I felt that was written by someone who sat with his kid to watch dumbed down family movies one too many times...this was just incredibly entertaining and so creative in the way it handled visuals, dialogue and the story. Great review!!
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 . 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 . 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 …
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 …
Quick Tip by . August 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Absolutely delightful!!  It never ceases to amaze me at how fascinating good animation is; my daughter and I enjoyed this one -- the characters seemed true to life, the special effects were amazing, it was humorous and taught a good lesson too.  Johnny Depp was amazing (as usual) as the voice of Rango; in fact, all the characters were great and true to life.  A wonderful animated film with a great story line -- if you haven't seen it yet, please do!!      I'm …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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