Monday 18 July 2011

Today's Review: Rango

I am a complete and utter Pixar fanboy. I have seen many other movies of the CG animation age, and have disliked pretty much all of them apart from those that my beloved Pixar have made. But lately that's changed. Other companies really seem to be stepping up to the mark and are making movies that I actually quite enjoy. Certainly not as much as Pixar, but definitely better than I was used to. Rango is one of these movies.

Rango is a story of a lizard (Johnny Depp) who is in the middle of an identity crisis, as well as a glass terrarium on the back of his owners' car. But then he's knocked off the back and forced to wander through the Mojave desert, eventually coming across an iguana named Beans (Isla Fisher), and the town of Dirt, a Wild West style town populated by a wide variety of desert critters. Trouble is they don't take too kindly to his company, so our hero on the persona of Rango, a lean mean killing machine, and he is soon promoted to the position of town sheriff due to a string of dumb luck. Unfortunately his first order of business is to find out where the entire town's water supply has gone, and it's not going to be easy.

Rango is one of those great forms of parody, it's absolutely dripping with Western movie references, but is a great Western in its own right. Just one with slapstick humour and aimed at kids. Not that this is primarily a kid's movie. There are guns, deaths, it all seems quite an adult affair. Still, the action and story are tame enough to keep little ones entertained, even if a lot of it might fly over their heads. But as an adult viewer there's a lot to keep you entertained. you've got the Wild West movie parodies, the trippy dream sequences, and the adult references embedded among the various poop jokes. Hey, gotta keep everyone happy, right?

The movie looks amazing. The water and dust effect are probably the best I've seen in a CG movie, and a good thing too, because a movie about deserts and water needs to have realistic effects. The characters are greatly animated too, feathers and scales look almost real, and the emotions the characters convey are great.

The real standout feature is the voice cast. Depp and Fisher are wonderful in their roles, even though they sound nothing like they normally do. The movie boasts a great voice cast, with Bill Nighy, Ray Winstone and Ned Beatty, among others. Everyone does a great job, putting on their Western drawls to really suck you into their world. Even the minor roles are awesome, especially the owl Mariachi band who follow Rango around, eagerly awaiting his "inevitable" death.

Of course, this being a kid's film, the story is not as deep and intense as you'd expect from a regular Western movie. But the movie does a great job of peppering a quite bland plot with menacing and vivid characters, beautiful locations and a great sense of humour. Rango isn't just a great kid's movie, it's a great movie. Even if there are a few too many poop jokes.

My rating: 4/5

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