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Monday, 7 March 2011

Rango: Review


A word of warning about Rango. if you are thinking of taking your younger siblings because it has a strange looking lizard and the poster has him carrying a fish so it must be for families, then look somewhere else. This is an animation for older children and adults who love nods to movie genres. It is definitely not for younger children.

A household chameleon, dressed in an Hawaiian shirt, is unceremoniously thrown out the back of a car during a near-accident and left in the desert sun. Advised by a half squashed armadillo, he ventures into a dusty town where he meets a collection of local animals, all fighting for survival in a place where the water is slowly running out. Pretending to be a ruthless killer, the locals call him Rango and he soon becomes the sheriff. When the town's own water supply is stolen from the bank, Rango leads a posse but the truth about who has the water and Rango own true self start to raise their heads.

Rango starts off quite slowly. In fact it takes its time to really kick into the main storyline but once it does, this is an absolute joy. John Logan's script is refreshingly surreal and brimming with smart lines and references abound to so many other movies. It's main source is, of course, the classic Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns but add to that Chinatown, Star Wars and even a very brief appearance of Johnny Depp's own S. Hunter Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Depp, who voices the lizard, seems to have been given free reigns by his former Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski to do whatever he wanted and his style of delivery works well in this strange land filled with the oddest looking creatures around. And yet, they are also incredibly detailed too. The animation is incredible, and without losing any of its darkness and surreal quality, the creations look almost real. Some even outshine Pixar.

The central set piece, a chase through a cavern not dissimilar to the Death Star fight scene from Star Wars is a tour-de-force, a masterpiece of computer graphics that is not only clever and inventive but will have you pushing your mouth closed in amazement.

This is a major achievement in the animation world and a film that, even if you don't like the script or the storyline, you will genuinely forget you're watching a cartoon.

As you may have guessed by now, I really liked this film and like last year's Despicable Me, I get the feeling that it will stay with me for a long time after. So leave the kids at home and go have some adult animated fun.

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