Today: July 9, 2024


One of the year’s funniest and a huge leap forward in digi-mation. Given Industrial Light And Magic’s pedigree in pioneering visual effects

One of the year’s funniest and a huge leap forward in

Given Industrial Light And Magic’s pedigree
in pioneering visual effects, and everything else CGI related in Hollywood, you
would be forgiven for assuming they had already dipped their toe in the crystal
clear waters of digital animation. You would however be wrong. Rango marks
ILM’s first venture in animation and, like almost every project they have ever
turned their hand to be it Tie-Fighters is Star
(1977), Dinosaurs in Jurassic
(1993) or robots in Transformers
(2007), they have again broken the mould. Indeed the advances they have
achieved in one of the most popular cinematic formats of the time will have
even the trendsetters at Pixar sit up and take notice.

Rango (Depp) is a pet chameleon who likes to
act out parts in his safe container. However, when he finds himself lost in the
desert he stumbles across the town of Dirt and manages to, accidentally, slay
the hawk that was terrorising the town. Proclaimed a hero by the townsfolk he
decides to play the part of a ruthless gunslinger and is soon made sheriff. The
problem is that corruption runs deep in Dirt and when the town’s water supply
dries up Rango must form a posse to find who is responsible.

Computer lead
wizardry in films is an ever-evolving beast. Rango is the next big step. It
manages to blend the whacky cartoon adorability factor of a Pixar film with the
almost life-like rendering of animals akin to Avatar. Everything from the textures of the grit and sand to the
lighting and shadows, the film used numerous Oscar nominee and Western
specialist Roger Deakins as a visual
consultant, is breath takingly rendered. All this makes for a visual treat for
the eyes that, despite the dehydrated pallet of the film, leaps off the screen
in ways that 3D could only dream of emulating.

Of course visuals
are one thing but an animated film has to have more than just that. Thankfully
original Pirates of The Caribbean
(2003) director Gore Verbinski and Gladiator (2000) writer John Logan have concocted a delightful
story fit to burst with loveable and funny characters. If anything the humour
on offer is almost too firmly aimed at an adult audience. Such things as Apocalypse Now (1979) and Spaghetti
Western references are likely to go over younger audiences heads. Much of the
laughs, and there are more laughs per minute in Rango than most other films
this year, come from some belly aching slapstick. Watch out for Rango’s
constant attempts to put out fire as a source of genuine entertainment.

However, while
much of the magic comes from ILM and the timing from Verbinski and Logan the
heart and soul of the film comes from Johnny Depp as the voice of Rango.
Through the entire Jack Sparrows and Tim
quirk it is easy to forget Depp as a master of whacky comedy. Using
his normal dulcet tones for the role allows him to inject Rango with an
adorable innocence that never fails to light up the screen. There is a certain
sense of irony that Rango is a frustrated actor, in cartoon format no less,
which allows such a talented actor such as Depp to reassert his true screen
presence. The rest of the voice cast all bring solid vocalisations to the film,
Timothy Olyphant in particular
channeling Clint Eastwood is a joy
to behold, but it is Depp who holds your attention throughout the near two-hour
running time.

The plot is all
slightly circumstantial, think China
by way of Once Upon A Time In
The West
and The Three Amigos
and you’re almost there, but with this much fun on offer you are swept up in
the excitement of it all. Strap on your six-shooter, tint your Hunter S Thompson glasses to the sun
and enjoy the best-animated film of the year so far.

To Buy Rango On DVD Click Here Or On Blu-Ray Click Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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