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A chameleon that aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally pl ay the role in order to protect it.
An animated Western with a chameleon as the hero is an unlikely concept, but Rango is a great film thanks to its witty mix of parody, intriguing characters, and sophisticated humour. 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 better? And how do road kill, enlightenment, and the Spirit of the West figure in to the equation? The animation looks great in this film and kids will love the goofy characters and crazy scenarios. But adults will find the film intriguing on a whole different level because of its comic parody of the iconic classic and spaghetti Western genres and the skilled balance of action, romance, and adventure. Kudos to director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and the talented voice cast, among them Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, and Bill Nighy, for an award-worthy film. Some kids ages 7 to 9 may find the film rather dark and the action a bit too intense, but kids 10 and older should be fine as long as parents don't object to the PG rating (some rude humour, language, smoking, and action). --Tami Horiuchi
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Top Customer Reviews
The film begins in a very similar way to the excellent Aardman/Dreamworks Flushed Away, a pampered but lonely pet is thrown into the wild world and forced to fend for himself.
It then morphs into the classic western plot, stranger in town, corrupt mayor, gunslingers etc, all played out by a cast of beautifully animated ugly wild creatures.
Yes, it is weird, the animals are not standardised Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks cuties - they are rough and ready, battered looking wild creatures.
Yes, some of the references - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Clint Eastwood westerns, assorted Tarantino-esque moments - will be lost on little ones, but then the best animated films appeal to all age groups.
After watching I decided my daughter would get along OK with Rango, and it has quickly become a favourite, being requested most days!
I would say that if your kids can handle the weirder side of animation - my daughters favourites include Coraline, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox, the Nightmare Before Christmas and the Studio Ghibli movies - they will love this film. If they prefer their animation a bit more cute and cuddly, perhaps steer clear or buy it for the grown ups to enjoy!
The reasons why this movie is so good are many, and I will try to enumerate the more important, avoiding the spoilers as much as possible:
1) It is a really really good, solid classical western, with all the necessary ingredients: a lawless town (named Dirt), a mysterious lone stranger, a cemetery filled with dead sheriffs, a cute (although tough) senorita in dire straits, a bank robbery, a saloon filled with the scum of the earth, a joyful merry undertaker (which is only normal - his is the only prospering business in Dirt), a deadly evil gunfighter who ALWAYS "takes a soul" in every town he visits, an Indian tracker (who molts, but we shall not hold it against him, shall we?) and also desperadoes, buzzards, posses, dynamite, old timers with shotguns, youngsters with Colts, hillbillies with Gatling machine guns, booze galore, Far West stories, coffee and beans around a campfire, mariachis on the cactuses and let's not forget the seven brothers killed with one bullet...)))
2) Johny Depp gives to Rango more than just his voice - this lizard IS Johny Depp! And also by placing in his mouth some of the lines from "Pirates of the Caribbean", Johny Depp made me relieve some of the best moments of this franchise. There were moments when I half expected seeing Barbossa behind that Gatling machine gun!Read more ›
I've seen it twice now and can't wait to get the Blue-ray when it comes out.
This 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 2.40:1 picture is truly magnificent. Detail is exceptional. Every nuance of texture is vividly depicted, especially on Rango's scaly skin. Fine detail can be observed in every unique desert creature, from hide to hair. All the furry critters roaming about the town of Dirt come equipped with sharply distinct hairs that seem to move independently of each other. The facial and body movements of some creatures are simply astounding with breathtaking realism and lifelike motion. Costumes are incredibly vivid, with every thread and stitch perfectly resolved. Colours are perfectly balanced. Contrast is perfectly executed with deep blacks and exceptional shadow delineation. (5+/5)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack is a masterpiece of high fidelity delight! The voicing talents of Johnny Depp (Rango), Isla Fisher (Beans), Ned Beatty (Mayor) and Bill Nighy (Rattlesnake Jake) are exceptional. Bass extension is deep and solid. Hans Zimmer's wonderful orchestral music score performed by Los Lobos is dynamically powerful and spatially enveloping, with an aggressive surround presence. This lossless mix as a whole feels spacious with a very wide expanse in the imaging. Room-penetrating dynamics are crystal-clear with amazing clarity detail. (5/5)
Did you know that Ned Beatty based his performance on that of John Huston in Chinatown? Johnny Depp character Rango was modeled after Don Knotts character Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show. Rattlesnake Jake was modeled after Lee Van Cleef. And Spirit of The West was modeled after Clint Eastwood. Also, at the back of Spirit's golf cart are four golden trophies...Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent film. Wasn't sure what was going on in the first 10 mins but all became clear. A laugh a minute.Published 2 months ago by Stcsteve
This isn't a kids animation, I mean it is but it's not like Bugs Life or anything like that, this films humour will go over kids heads and it is more intended for adults but kids... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Zack