MOVIE REVIEWS

Rango

7/10 NR

March 2, 2011

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Honestly, I wasn't excited to see this film. I know I'll just catch this in dvd. But since there's nothing to do and it's my birthday and Mayi will treat me, okay!

The animation was great. I really liked the animation. The story was alright too. But the pacing of the story was slow that I was close to snoozing off. I felt like there were some scenes in the movie that should've been cut off.

'Rango' is typically one of those movies that can't quite be categorized into this or that little genre of comedy. Obviously, it's an animated film. Is it a kiddie movie? Well… kind of. Allow me to elaborate. The film starts off absolutely hilariously, with an accident, half a road kill and a journey through the desert turned into a maniacal chase as soon as a hungry hawk gets wind of Rango's presence. After meeting a lovely lizard named Beans, he ends up in the small town of Dirt. Where, after a good deal of bluff and dumb luck, he is appointed sheriff. So far, no harm, no foul, just good comedy. In fact, nearly-wetting-my-pants-laughing-out-loud-comedy.

However, at this point is where it all turns just a little bit haywire. No real damage done, just a small sense of cluelessness as we go along. The story continues as though Gore Verbinski and John Logan were just trying to think of as many weird situations as they possibly could whilst forcibly trying to mash it up into one, cohesive storyline. Truth be told, seems like they were trying just a little bit too hard. It actually gets even a little bit boring here and there, where the pacing kind of sinks in up to the point where it all comes together and starts to make sense again. (Mind you – this could also be due to the fact that I was watching the extended version, not the theatrical one, but still.) But fear not, no real quality is lost, as 'Rango' provides some of the most excellent and funny characters I've ever seen in an animated movie. They also rounded up a perfect voice-cast, with Johnny Depp who doesn't sound anything like Jack Sparrow, but still adds the same kind of awkward quirkiness to his character. Alfred Molina's part is small but vital, and I'll bet you've never heard an armadillo with a perfect Mexican twang before… Bill Nighy is awesome as Rattlesnake Jake, and you can even hear a little bit of Davy Jones coming through sometimes. One of the best parts however, is done by Ray Winstone as Bad Bill. Who would expect some Wild West bad guy to have a cockney accent? Brilliant.

Another thing I must mention is the superb animation. Without a doubt the best I've ever seen from a non-Pixar production. Heck, even if it was Pixar it would have been their absolute best so far, and that's saying something. The animation parallels – or, dare I say, even surpasses – Finding Nemo. That's right; I said it, so sue me. Yep, Industrial Lights & Magic made a fan out of me.

Now, back to the original question – is it a kiddie movie? Yes and no. Some parts are totally hilarious and will have your youngsters rolling over the floor with laughter. Other parts will sail right over their little heads as they are very much grown-up humour with references to classic films and jokes they simply won't get. (Is it just me or did I catch a tiny reference to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the beginning?) Another factor is that some of the humour is a little grim and quite mature for small children, with some of the creatures smoking, swearing and even getting shot and/or killed. Now, personally I don't know any children who would be upset by any of this, they see things that are much worse on a daily basis on the Disney channel. But then again, I'm not American, and it is my understanding that some American parents are hugely bothered by some of the elements in this movie. So I would recommend that you simply watch it first and then decide if you would like your children to see it. But honestly, I would try not to be too sensitive about it, it doesn't get scary anywhere and none of language or behaviour is really that bad.

All in all, 'Rango' is definitely a fun ride, and one of the few animated movies that will entertain as many adults as it will children.
_(July 2011)_

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