Rango is a 2011 American 3D computer-animated Western action-comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski, written by John Logan, and produced by Verbinski, Graham King, and John B. Carls with the voices of actors Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Root, and Ned Beatty. The film premiered at Westwood on February 14, 2011, and was released in the United States on March 4, 2011 by Paramount Pictures.
A chameleon (Johnny Depp) who has lived as a sheltered family pet finds himself in the grip of an identity crisis. Rango wonders how to stand out when it is his nature to blend in. When he accidentally winds up in a frontier town called Dirt, he takes the first step on a transformational journey as the town's new sheriff. Though at first Rango only role-plays, a series of thrilling situations and outrageous encounters forces him to become a real hero.
Why It Rocks
- Rango boasts quite a number of darker and mature undertones that you wouldn't normally expect from a PG, animated Nickelodeon movie like language, violence, sexual themes, and death.
- Borrowing heavily from classic Westerns (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and Western comedies (The Three Amigos), the film brings reinvents a past formula in an amusingly creative way.
- The film is revolutionary in its CG animation. The quality and textures of the animals and landscape is simply spot-on and never ceases to amaze with all it's little yet high detail. It has aged very well, even to this day.
- Many of the designs of the animals also have some asymmetry to them(even with Rango himself), which is very unique and something you normally don't see in animated films.
- The score by the legendary Hans Zimmer is once again majestic and exciting (influences from his work in the Pirates of the Caribbean films and Sherlock Holmes are easily heard, but with a Mexican twist!).
- The voice acting cast is of course lively and fun, bringing a unique quality to each and every animal character.
- Not only do the characters move convincingly, but the colors look gorgeous and the backgrounds are imaginative and stunning.
- A good script that gives space and great subtle lines to each and every character,
- Some decent character development.
- Rattlesnake Jake is a very intimidating secondary villain (being even more dangerous than the main villain, Tortoise John), he also is a Rattlesnake with a gatling gun on his rattle, which makes him very creative and memorable.
- The film is a little too slow paced.
- Despite a high-concept premise, the film heavily relies on the 'liar revealed' trope.
- Toilet humor is occasional at times.
Rango was a favourable reviews. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 88% approval rating based on 222 reviews, with an average rating of 7.63/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 75 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale. It is also the highest rated Nickelodeon film on the site as of 2020
Richard Corliss of Time applauded the "savvy humor" and called the voice actors "flat-out flawless."He later named it one of the 10 best movies of 2011, saying, "In a strong year for animation ... Rango was the coolest, funniest and dagnab-orneriest of the bunch." Bob Mondello of National Public Radio observed that "Rango's not just a kiddie-flick (though it has enough silly slapstick to qualify as a pretty good one). It's a real movie lover's movie, conceived as a Blazing Saddles-like comic commentary on genre that's as back-lot savvy as it is light in the saddle." Frank Lovece of Film Journal International, noting the nervous but improvising hero's resemblance to the Don Knotts character in The Shakiest Gun in the West, echoed this, saying that "with healthy doses of Carlos Castaneda, Sergio Leone, Chuck Jones and Chinatown ... this [is] the kid-movie equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino picture. There's no gory violence or swearing, of course, but there sure is a film buff's parade of great movie moments."