I first read about Rango just after Johnny Depp had completed Public Enemies and when I found out that Gore Verbinski would be directing it and after his great but slowly weak Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy which Depp played the lead role, expectations became quite high. After seeing the trailer, it looked like it could be a good bit of fun but didn’t look amazing. For the first time, there has been an animated western that became a success and western is a rather rare genre in the animated world. Anyway, when I saw it on the day it was released in the UK (in fact, the very first showing at my local cinema), I could see the fantastic side of the film but I couldn’t help but notice one or two disappointing flaws.

Where I found this film rather flawed was that it began very slowly and took quite a while to get going and I kept thinking to myself when I was watching it “Ohh… come on! Get on with it!”, I felt that the ending was rather rushed and also I barely found any comedy at all within the film. Well, I didn’t literally laugh out loud anyway but apart from those weaknesses, I was rather impressed with the story and how they involved hard environmental issues for those animals who live in deserts all around the world so that was quite clever and it did teach a lesson or two about that. The effects were fantastic as predicted and I am both surprised and glad that Rango wasn’t released in 3D. I mean, an animated CGI film not released in 3D in this generation afterAvatar‘s release?! I never thought I would live to see the day(!) Rango is a perfect example of why 3D is now a money-grubbing system and shows how pointless most films released in 3D really are.

A pet chameleon who has lived his entire life in the confines of a cozy glass terrarium discovers adventure beyond his wildest imagination in this animated western adventure. When we first meet Rango, the imaginative pet chameleon is safe in his terrarium, and embarking on epic adventures through the power of imagination. Then, suddenly, his safe existence is irrevocably upended thanks to a bump in the road that sends him soaring out of a car window, and right onto the searing hot asphalt of a desert highway. On the advice of a wise armadillo who relays the story of the Spirit of the West, our conical-eyed hero sets out on search of a town called Dirt, narrowly escaping a hungry hawk and encountering a self-sufficient pioneer named Beans along the way. Upon arriving in the dusty desert town, Rango wanders into the local bar and convinces the locals that he’s a notorious gunslinger with a lightning fast trigger-finger. When one of the locals challenges Rango to a showdown on Main Street, the hawk that menaced our hero on his way to town shows up looking for a rematch, and ends up beak down in the dirt. Now the townspeople are convinced that Rango is the real deal, and the Mayor decides to name the brave chameleon their new sheriff. But Rango’s honeymoon in Dirt is short-lived when bandits steal the town’s entire supply of water, and the newly christened sheriff forms a posse in order to get it back. Little do they realize they were all being manipulated by one greedy power-monger who’s determined to keep the people of Dirt under his thumb with the help of a diabolical villain named Rattlesnake Jake whose Gatling gun tail makes Swiss cheese of all challengers. Now, if Rango can just locate the Spirit of the West and summon the courage to realize his true potential, perhaps he can finally free the people of Dirt from the tyranny that binds them, and discover his true destiny under the scorching desert sun.

Johnny Depp has only provided a voice-only acting performance twice in his career; once for this and in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride in 2005 so Johnny in an animated film is a rare occasion (and quite frankly is probably the main reason why most people decide to watch it). He provides different voices for every film he has made and he gives us mostly his Captain Jack Sparrow/Sweeney Todd voice so it is easily recognizable. I think one flaw where Johnny being cast in Rango is that people would perhaps only care about Johnny Depp being in it, not about the Rango character. I liked the Rango character anyway and he reminded me a lot of Captain Jack Sparrow due to his wittiness, trying to play a strong leader but is quite a fraud, can act rather cowardice towards his enemies and a few other reasons so I think that is what led to Johnny’s role in Rango. Aside from Johnny, the cast was simply fantastic! I mean, I have noticed recently that it is mostly animated films or live-action CGI films that have the best ensemble casts (this cast doesn’t quite beat the Gnomeo And Juliet but it certainly is a tough challenge against it). The rest of the cast features the likes of Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant and Ray Winstone. To be honest, Johnny Depp is one on his own and the rest of the cast are all there together just like Rango is one on his own and the rest of the characters in the town Dirt.

Gore Verbinski really has been in my good books ever since the start of his career with the hilarious family comedy Mouse Hunt, romantic-comedy The Mexican which I wasn’t too fond of, the first Pirates Of The Caribbean film, the hilarious black comedy The Weather Man, the two Pirates Of The Caribbean sequels and now Rango which is perhaps his most different and extraordinary project to date. I normally prefer directors who try making films of different genres but some work and some don’t. Verbinski and Rango does work pretty well but not as well as I have seen from directors in the past. He re-unites with Johnny Depp for the fourth consecutive time after the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy and their work on Rango is another success.

Overall, Rango is a visually stunning and extraordinary but a both slow-paced and fast-paced film that I did get good fun out of but I wouldn’t class it as one of the best films of 2011 so far. Folks, don’t see it just for Johnny Depp’s voice! You’ll find that it isn’t just about him despite he is awesome! I think I would watch it again at some point in the future but it’s not one I would urge to see again at the cinema or immediately get on blu-ray. It would look good on blu-ray, though. Anyway, the point is that Rango is good and you should check it out.


~ by SJMJ91 on 21/05/2012.

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