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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Rango - 2011
Well, another review for a film that released this year. I feel very out of balance, and assure anyone reading I will be back to reviewing more classics and such as I have done in the past. But I could not hold in my love for this film, Rango. It was much better than any animated film I have seen in awhile, the best animated film of the year so far, and quite honestly my second favorite film of 2011. After I see a few more films coming from the current year, I will write a post of early awards, and the films that I personally believe would deserve to win in specific categories (Screenplay, Best Picture, Actor, etc.) if the Oscars were in the next few weeks. Rango will be up there with all of the films we have enjoyed this year, including Harry Potter, Super 8, Midnight in Paris, and Kung Fu Panda 2. I loved the film, can't you tell?
Nowadays animated films we see (Despicable Me, Megamind, Gnomeo and Juliet) are all terribly borrowed from other smarter, better animated films (Toy Story, Up, anything Pixar). But what I love so much about Rango is how as hard as I have tried, I absolutely cannot come up with an animated film similar to this one. It is incredibly creative and full of old western references, including the surprise appearance of a famous character that you will not see coming. That point, however, does make Rango more of an adult film rather than a child's film, because only someone who has seen these older westerns will actually get the movie.
Rango (Johnny Depp) is a lonely household pet that writes musicals and attempts to have a happy life. Though one day while riding in the car it hits a bump in the road, and Rango is tossed from the car and left to survive by himself. He meets an armadillo that points him in the direction of a small town where Rango can find water, but once he arrives there he discovers that the town of "Dirt" is struggling to keep hope due to the substantial amount of water they have recently lost. Rango begins to tell lies about how he is a hero of the west, and kills a hawk in front of the entire town. This heroic deed sets Rango straight into the job of being the town's new sheriff, and possibly their new hero as he promises to return water to their land.
Onthe note of Rango being advertised as a kid's movie like most animated films, that is probably the only flaw, if there is one. If it was up to me I would have gone to see this film on opening day, but unfortunately I had to wait for it to release on Netflix. Why? Because I could not find a single person to see it with me! And any of the kids I know that saw it did not like it for the film's "stupid" storyline, and of course the unusual amount of language. I am a John Logan fan, but if he was going to try and make a film for kids and adults he easily could have done better.
Though aside from the fact that Rango could have been more appealing to a wider range of people, it has no visible flaws coming from a regular viewing. To me, the western references along with the idea of making an animated western was absolutely hilarious. Not only did I love everything possible about the story, I found myself laughing out loud more than I ever had in any animated film I have ever seen. John Logan may not know how to make a kid's movie, but he sure knows how to write a script and story, as well as plenty of unforgettable characters to go with it. Logan's previous work with animation in Sinbad may have been a terrible piece of writing, but he sure proves his talent with Rango.
When I first saw that Gore Verbinski was going to direct this film, I was ecstatic. Sure, Verbinski isn't the most consistent director ever to make films, but in my opinion he is an underrated director and a good one, and his directorial style was the perfect fit for Rango. As I suspected his direction worked very well in the film, and was actually one of the more impressive parts of it. Obviously with his partner Depp leading the film, the whole feel of the movie was going to be very different, but Verbinski knew what kind of movie he was trying to make, and made it.
The acting, for the most part, was fantastic. The only thing I have to complain about is that it seems to me the cast was chosen more to grab money, rather than for their talents. This is becoming a pattern with animated films of recent, and I do not like it one bit. Yes, people like Brad Pitt are good actors, but no he does not make a good lead for every single animated movie! Thankfully the lead in Rango is Johnny Depp, who as always does a brilliant job with his role, never ceasing to completely become the character he is playing, this time it being a lizard. Isla Fisher was her annoying self, though her performance was not awful, I never can get into any of her roles. Alfred Molina was pointless, and I have and never will be a fan of Ned Beatty. But other than the few cast slip ups, the acting was all around very good.
Overall, Rango is an unbelieavably creative animation outing by Gore Verbinski and John Logan. Johnny Depp does a wonderful, and funny job as Rango, and the film is about as visually stunning as any animated film these days, Pixar or DreamWorks. For all of the kids out there in the world, go ahead and miss this film, but everyone else, animation lovers and all, Rango is a fun ride of a film that you do not want to miss.