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JohnnyDeppReads - a place to discuss the news, books, plays, projects and materials relating to the works and interests of multi media artist Johnny Depp.

With respect to Mr. Depp we ask that no paparazzi images of his children be posted.


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 RANGO reviews, SPOILER ALERTS
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 2 2011, 10:05 PM


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I've not cared for some of Roger Ebert's reviews lately, but he got this one right! laugh.gif For those not wanting spoilers from the review, this is a spoiler free bit:
QUOTE
The movie is rated PG. I hope it will be huge at the box office. Godard said that the way to criticize a movie is to make another movie. "Rango" is a splendid and great-looking entertainment with a strong story, limitless energy and a first-rate voice cast, also including Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty as the disabled mayor, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, and, yes, Harry Dean Stanton. No, Sam Elliott, but you can't have everyone.

Here's what I hope: Lots of families will see this. They won't have a single thought about its being in 2-D. They will pay ordinary ticket prices. They will love the bright colors and magnificent use of space. In a few weeks, they'll go to a 3-D movie and wonder, why did we have to pay extra for this?

He gives it 4 out of 4 stars thumbsup.gif **WARNING:SOME SPOILERS**
QUOTE

Rango
BY ROGER EBERT / March 2, 2011

Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by John Logan. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated PG (for rude humor, language, action and smoking).

"Rango" is some kind of a miracle: An animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical, and (gasp!) filmed in glorious 2-D. Its brilliant colors and startling characters spring from the screen and remind us how very, very tired we are of simpleminded little characters bouncing around dimly in 3-D.

This is an inspired comic Western, deserving comparison with "Blazing Saddles," from which it borrows a lot of farts. The more movies you've seen, the more you may like it; it even enlists vultures to lampoon the helicopter attack in "Apocalypse Now." But let's say you haven't seen lots of movies. Let's say you're a kid. "Rango" may surprise you because it's an animated film that plays like a real movie and really gets you involved.

The title character is a lizard, voiced by Johnny Depp. Just an ordinary lizard. You know, green and with scales and popeyes. But to this humble reptile comes the responsibility to bring civilization to Dirt, an untamed Western town tormented by villains and running desperately short on water.

The other characters are outsize versions of basic Western types. There is, for example, Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), the bad man whose gang holds the town in a grip of terror. After Rango accidentally kills the eagle that has been dining on Dirt's citizens, he is persuaded by the mayor (Ned Beatty) to wear the sheriff's badge and bring law to Dirt. This involves tough talk in saloons, face-downs on Main Street and a chase sequence between high canyon walls that's a nod in the direction of "Star Wars."

"Rango" loves Westerns. Beneath its comic level is a sound foundation based on innumerable classic Westerns, in which (a) the new man arrives in town, (2) he confronts the local villain, and (3) he faces a test of his heroism. Dirt has not only snakes but vultures to contend with, so Rango's hands are full. And then there's the matter of the water crisis. For some reason, reaching back to the ancient tradition of cartoons about people crawling through the desert, thirst is always a successful subject for animation.

The movie is wonderfully well-drawn. The characters are wildly exaggerated, yes, but with an underlay of detail and loving care. The movie respects the tradition of painstakingly drawn animated classics, and does interesting things with space and perspective with its wild action sequences. The director is Gore Verbinski, who directed Johnny Depp in three of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. I think he benefits here from the clarity of animation drawings, as compared to the tendency of the "Pirates" films to get lost in frenzies of CGI. Yes, animation is also computer-generated imagery these days, but it begins with artists and drawings and paintings and a clearly seen world.

The movie is rated PG. I hope it will be huge at the box office. Godard said that the way to criticize a movie is to make another movie. "Rango" is a splendid and great-looking entertainment with a strong story, limitless energy and a first-rate voice cast, also including Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty as the disabled mayor, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, and, yes, Harry Dean Stanton. No, Sam Elliott, but you can't have everyone.

Here's what I hope: Lots of families will see this. They won't have a single thought about its being in 2-D. They will pay ordinary ticket prices. They will love the bright colors and magnificent use of space. In a few weeks, they'll go to a 3-D movie and wonder, why did we have to pay extra for this?
.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.d...VIEWS/110309997

-Donna

This post has been edited by herestoyou on Mar 2 2011, 10:09 PM


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
depplyinluv
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 05:17 PM


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What is EW Lisa talking about? I think Rango and Beans and Abigail's little mouse (I can't remember her name) are all adorable. But then, it is EW Lisa.

Thanks everybody for all of the reviews. It's nice to read good ones for a change. Rango5.gif

Debbie
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 09:42 PM


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QUOTE
'Rango' review: Johnny Depp does desert justice
Amy Biancolli, Hearst Movie Writer

Animation. Directed by Gore Verbinski. Starring the voice of Johnny Depp. (PG. 107 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

The animated Western features the voices of Abigail Breslin as Priscilla the mouse (left) and Johnny Depp as Rango the lizard (right).
.
Johnny Depp has always had a touch of the reptilian about him - one part stealth, two parts darting unpredictability - but in "Rango," he actually plays a lizard. Not surprisingly, the role fits him like a second skin: dry, green, prone to shedding.

The film itself is a magically strange hybrid, a spoofy computer-animated Western starring anthropomorphic desert creatures. Depp voices the title character, a wussy pet chameleon in a Hawaiian shirt whose terrarium crashes on a highway in the Mojave Desert. He is, at this point, the Lizard With No Name: a little creature unsure of his own identity and prone to blending in wherever he goes.

When a half-dead armadillo (Alfred Molina) directs him into the desert to seek water and find his destiny, he obeys. What he discovers is Dirt, a dusty Western town straight out of Sergio Leone, a place where the coin of the realm is water - and the water is running dry. He becomes Rango, the sheriff of Dirt, a stone-cold killer in clacking boots.

"Rango" was directed by Gore Verbinski, Depp's partner in crime on three "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. It's got that same, strange brew of parody and genre tribute, of madcap action set pieces and spooky meta-moments of philosophizing. John Logan's effervescent screenplay runs from wild eccentricity to equally wild slapstick. With its tumbleweeds and roadrunners and barreling canyon chase scenes, it also owes an obvious and loving debt to those old Warner Bros. cartoons.

It is, all in all, off its rocker. But it's gorgeous: The two-dimensional animation springs to life with more energy and impact than a lot of the 3-D we've been seeing. It pays sincere devotion to the classic Western, touching on all the devices and archetypes that any fan of windswept heroism could hope for. And Depp is Depp - master of idiosyncrasy, swisher of hips, the self-aware and self-mocking peacock of his generation.

-- Advisory: Rude humor, language, action and smoking.


-Donna


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 10:10 PM


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Hang on to your hats! The LA TIMES actually likes it! biggrin.gif

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/...,0,386345.story

QUOTE
Movie review: 'Rango'
Gore Verbinski's animated film starring Johnny Depp is not only groundbreaking, it's loads of fun.

Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp. (Industrial Light & Magic, Associated Press / March 4, 2011)
'Rango' info
Movie Reviews
By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

March 4, 2011
E-mail Print Share  Text Size A marvelous mash-up of Old West and newfangled, "Rango" rewrites the animation playbook with its eye-popping critters and varmints, and its hero's tale (tail?) of a chameleon desperate for a SAG card and a town desperate for a sheriff. What fun.

In a world choked with animated films — the good, the bad and the ugly — it's hard to be either original or great. Yet director Gore Verbinski has done both — and without 3-D — breaking the rules and new ground in the town of Dirt. In this time-bending, mind-bending, just-go-with-it fable, the story shifts from overcrowded freeways, Hawaiian shirts and modern problems to covered wagons, chaps and long-running issues of water rights, land grabs and greed. And in a genuinely funny way, it all makes sense.

There were early signs of a mind that likes to operate off the grid in "Mousehunt," the first feature Verbinski directed. As a film it failed, but its string factory, decaying manse and devious mouse were strangely captivating anyway. Things finally jelled in the clever conceits he ginned up while directing the first three installments of "Pirates of the Caribbean," and he couldn't have done better than to get Jack Sparrow to go fully animated. With Johnny Depp as the voice of Rango, get ready to be charmed from the first moments in the terrarium where as Lars, he's passing time reading lines with a broken Barbie and dreaming of the big time.

The crack screenplay is by John Logan ("Gladiator," "The Last Samurai"), working with a "Pirates" creative combine that included Verbinski, conceptual artist James Ward Byrkit and visual effects wizard Mark "Crash" McCreery. They've given Lars a journey of self-discovery that begins with a car wreck on a highway that cuts through the Mohave. It lands the pampered pet in a desert nightmare but frees him to answer when destiny calls him to a town named Dirt, that looks a lot like something out of "High Plains Drifter," complete with the saloon.

Before you know it, Lars has embraced the role of a lifetime. He steals the Rango moniker from a beer bottle, pins on that badge and sets about high-nooning bad guys, making eyes at a brown-eyed lizard named Beans (Isla Fisher) and trying to figure out where the water's gone. For this is a place where heroes — and movie allusions — are made with wild abandon, much like "The Wild Bunch."

Though Depp and Fisher dominate, the film's richness is because of its sprawling ensemble cast of characters. Among the standouts are Abigail Breslin as Priscilla, a precocious young mouse; Alfred Molina as a spirit warrior armadillo named Roadkill (both a name and a sight gag); Bill Nighy's terrific bad guy Rattlesnake Jake; Ned Beatty as the stone-fisted tortoise for a Mayor (a mix-tape of John Huston in "Chinatown" and a wheelchair-bound Lionel Barrymore in "It's a Wonderful Life"). The look is in that old storybook style of fanciful beasts rendered in exceptional detail, even if they are covered in warts or quills.

The vibrancy of the acting no doubt finds its source in Verbinski's decision to put the "voices" in costumes and on sets to act out all the scenes together rather than working in the isolation of sound booths. The result creates a spark and a connection among characters that can often go missing in animation and a level of improvisation that seemed impossible for the genre.

Verbinski went to Industrial Light & Magic for the animation, with "Rango" the visual effects house's first and hopefully far from its last full-length animated feature. The company certainly has a history in character creation from its inception, when George Lucas set it up for "Star Wars." Since then, it's left a deep imprint on many films, including "Terminator," "Transformers" and "Avatar." But there is a freshness you can feel in "Rango" that comes from having new hands on deck.

Though "Rango's" mostly dusty palette befits a parched town with not a drop of water (cue music), the massive sweep of the sky and the desert floor allows a critter to fill the screen or shrink depending on the context. The characters themselves are an eclectic bunch, with whimsical touches everywhere, from the inbred rodent gang led by patriarch Balthazar (Harry Dean Stanton) to the mariachi band of owls that shows up to serenade us throughout.

For adults, there is artistry and allusions aplenty even in Hans Zimmer's score (surely someone will come up with a trivia game to cover the countless film references woven into nearly every scene). There is giggle-inducing slapstick, high-stakes showdowns and even a moral to this story for the kids. All of which combine to create an Old West that is downright good old-fashioned entertaining.

But Verbinski's greatest triumph is that he allowed the animation to free rather that confine him. There is indeed a new sheriff in town, with "Rango" destined to become a classic. It will probably make a fistful of dollars too.


-Donna


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
Karen
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 10:38 PM


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yahoo.gif Who'd a thunk it?? yahoo.gif


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herestoyou
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 10:59 PM


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QUOTE
Movie Review
Rango (2011)NYT Critics' PickThis movie has been designated a Critic's Pick by the film reviewers of The New York Times.

There’s a New Sheriff in Town, and He’s a Rootin’-Tootin’ Reptile
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: March 3, 2011

Feature animation currently finds itself in a golden age of mediocrity, with sensationally inventive technical means tethered, more often than not, to drab and cynical imaginative ends. The perennial Pixar exception tends to prove a dreary rule: as animated movies claim an ever bigger share of money and attention — drawing cross-generational, demographically diverse audiences more readily than most other films — they rely more and more on manic, synthetic formulas.

And so, a half-dozen times a year, parents and children line up for overscaled, noisy genre pastiches crammed with yammering movie-star voice work, eye-straining action sequences and tacked-on sermons about the importance of being yourself, following your dream or sticking by your friends and family. Even at their best (again noting the Pixar exception), these movies are like theme-park rides and other big-ticket corporate amusements — thrilling while they last and then quickly forgotten.

All of the above should apply to “Rango,” a tongue-in-cheek western (a lizard’s tongue, at that) directed by Gore Verbinski, who is best known for helping to turn a theme-park ride (Disney World’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”) into a dizzyingly successful movie franchise. But the odd thing about “Rango” is that unlike so many of its peers, it is odd. In spite of a profile that should place it alongside “Megamind” and “Despicable Me” and the long list of other overblown, have-fun-or-else cartoons, this rambling, anarchic tale is gratifyingly fresh and eccentric. Much of the time you don’t quite know where it is going, which is high praise indeed given the slick predictability that governs most other entertainments of its kind.

Perhaps this should not be too surprising, since Mr. Verbinski, especially in the first installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, showed a distinctive visual style and a genuinely off-beat sensibility. He was helped immeasurably, in all of the “Pirates” pictures, by the decorative whimsy of Mark McCreery (the production designer here) and by the uninhibited goofiness of Johnny Depp, who turned Jack Sparrow into a new pop-culture archetype. Both Mr. McCreery and Mr. Depp are crucial to the look and rhythm of “Rango,” keeping it vigorously strange almost until the end, when the movie decides to go for the safe, commercial action-extravaganza wrap-up.

But the craziness of the journey makes that familiar destination worth it. We first encounter Mr. Depp’s character, a domesticated lizard with a Hawaiian shirt and an active imagination, in the terrarium tank he shares with a broken doll torso and a wind-up plastic fish. This minimal world is a stage for him, and he struts about on it like a scaly provincial trouper, acting out dramatic scenarios and scenes from Shakespeare to dispel the boredom of benign captivity. The blank, abstract space this creature inhabits calls our attention to the fanciful nature of the movie itself, as it begins to conjure an antic, improbable world out of nothing.

Or, rather, out of images and ideas that have been floating around in the collective dream life for as long as most of us can remember. Mr. Verbinski and his colleagues (John Logan wrote the script, and James Ward Byrkit shares story credit) rummage through a grab bag of allusions and homages, many of which seem inspired more by genuine fandom than by the impulse to be clever. There is an early, blink-and-you-miss-it nod to the memory of Hunter S. Thompson, who is a personal touchstone for Mr. Depp and is also connected to the iconography of the West that “Rango” sets out to explore. That includes not only the expected tumbleweeds and cactuses and dusty rock formations, but also a hallucinatory desert tradition encompassing Carlos Castaneda and Wile E. Coyote.

Prodded on his quest by a visionary armadillo (voiced by Alfred Molina) and accompanied by the corridos of a quartet of fatalistic singing owls, our reptilian hero drags himself to the desolate town of Dirt, a bleak, bone-dry place that is nonetheless swimming in cinematic associations. As Hans Zimmer’s score chews up great mouthfuls of Ennio Morricone-style spaghetti, the town’s varmint population evokes movies ranging from the westerns of John Ford to “Chinatown” and “The Big Sleep.”

I know, it sounds annoyingly, coyly referential — something like a lizard-cowboy “Shrek” — but the spirit is closer to those old Bugs Bunny cartoons in which Bugs would cross paths with real movie stars or perform Wagnerian opera. In other words, it is not self-conscious knowingness that drives “Rango” but rather a quirky and sincere enthusiasm for all the strange stuff that has piled up in the filmmakers’ heads over the years. Nor are they merely recycling. The desert environment has a washed-out, eerie appearance entirely unlike the plasticized landscapes of most animation — the great cinematographer Roger Deakins, who shot the American West for Joel and Ethan Coen in “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit,” is credited as a visual consultant — and the critters who inhabit it are arrestingly, grotesquely hairy, slimy and scaly.

In addition to the reptile there are an impressive assortment of birds, bugs, rodents and less identifiable species that collectively enact a story of greed, treachery and bravery as old as the West itself. Our lizard, a stranger in town, takes on the name Rango and finds himself appointed sheriff, and also romantically drawn to a plucky frontier gal named Beans (Isla Fisher). (Abigail Breslin, Ray Winstone and Harry Dean Stanton are among the other notable voices of Dirt.) The town is drying up, and the mayor (Ned Beatty) may not have the best interests of the citizens at heart.

A whole lot happens, culminating in a showdown with a villainous rattlesnake (Bill Nighy) and including a voice cameo that I won’t spoil, though the end credits might. Those interested in narrative coherence may feel a bit let down at the end; I confess I wanted a tighter gathering of loose ends, and a more thorough explanation of the politics of water and real estate in the fast-changing American West.

But that’s what real westerns are about. “Rango,” which may take place entirely within its hero’s head — that kind of ambiguity worked in “Inception” and “Black Swan,” so why not here? — is about the appetite for myths and stories, whether or not they make sense. It is about the worlds we dream inside our fishbowls, helped by the weird reflections on the walls.

“Rango” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). There’s rude talk, smoking and killing. It is a western, after all.


-Donna


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 11:10 PM


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P:eter Travers--Rolling Stone Review--

EDIT TO ADD 3/5--OK, I guess I misread Travers---I saw a video of him stating he only gave it 2 1/2 stars because in his words, he couldn't figure it out??(OK I don't even get that comment) However, he did say that he still can't stop thinking about it, which is what I think is great about the film---there is so MUCH to think about) So I guess reading his review now, I should take it as a negative?(I don't know--what the heck do you mean Travers? laugh.gif )

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/rango-20110303

QUOTE
RangoJohnny Depp
Directed by Gore VerbinskiRolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating By Peter Travers
March 3, 2011

Say what you will about Rango, the computer-animated Western riding hard on Johnny Depp doing the voice of a lizard — just don't call it business as usual. I don't know what this surreal splash of trippy performance art is exactly, but a kiddie cartoon about good, bad and ugly desert critters dressed as cowboys and townsfolk doesn't cut it. As soon as Rango, a pet chameleon who lives in a terrarium with a plastic fish, escapes to Dirt, a 21st-century Wild West town that hires him as sheriff, the film bids adios to convention.

Peter Travers reviews Rango in his weekly video series, "At the Movies With Peter Travers."

Rango, bred to blend in, finds himself forced to take center stage as a hero, to question what constitutes good and evil, and to work his way through a full-blown existential crisis. This is something that David Lynch might have directed, not Gore Verbinski, known for guiding Depp through the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Maybe Verbinski's early days as a punk rocker explains why he linked up with acclaimed screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator), who began his career writing plays about the Leopold and Loeb "thrill kill" case and the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Rango is rated PG, which suggests parental guidance. Start by explicating the nod to Depp's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with a car driven by a guy in a Hawaiian shirt, a gonzo allusion to Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Rango wears the same shirt). Or how about the tortoise mayor (voiced by Ned Beatty) channeling the rapacious John Huston in Chinatown as he parches throats to seize water rights and build his own corrupt empire. Oddest is Rango's spaghetti-Western encounter with the Spirit of the West (Timothy Olyphant) in a Clint Eastwood poncho. "Is this heaven?" asks Rango. Try parsing the answer: "If this was heaven, kid, we'd all be eating Pop-Tarts with Kim Novak." Skeleton key, anyone?

What's up with this movie? It looks great, thanks to Industrial Light & Magic. And Verbinski's idea to have the voice cast, including Isla Fisher as Rango's lizard love and Abigail Breslin as a cactus mouse, interact with one another in costumes (instead of in isolated sound booths), results in a lively, lived-in ambience. There's a slew of banditos and even a mariachi band to predict Rango's death in song. Plus a villain, Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), slithery, sizable and scary enough to keep you up nights. In a pinch, Rango's mantra is "crunchy, creamy, cookie, candy, cupcake." Way too sweet. I'm thinking, "brainy, batty, buzz, bong, bananas." Rango is like nothing you've ever seen.


-Donna

This post has been edited by herestoyou on Mar 5 2011, 05:48 PM


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
Karen
Posted: Mar 3 2011, 11:24 PM


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applause.gif Thanks Donna!!


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JohnnyAngel
Posted: Mar 4 2011, 09:57 PM


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So thrilled this film is getting the accolades it deserves. Of course my local reviewer didn't like it (he has the worse taste in movies and often is diametrically opposed to my own opinion on everything) but so glad most are raving about it. applause.gif


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herestoyou
Posted: Mar 4 2011, 10:08 PM


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There are some negative ones out there for sure--you know they ALL can't be positive---but some major papers are giving it good reviews, so that's nice to see. On the other hand, USA Today gave it a bad review, so I guess it just depends on the reviewer's frame of mind. wink.gif

-Donna


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 5 2011, 05:45 PM


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TIME Richard Corliss-review--likes it!



QUOTE
Rango Review: Depp Plays Clint the Chameleon in Year's Coolest Film
By RICHARD CORLISS Monday, Mar. 14, 2011 

Johnny Depp (voice) as Rango and Abigail Breslin as Priscilla (voice) in Rango.

In the town called dirt, the only thing with any liquid content is the tobacco spit of parched varmints. Water is so precious, it's kept in a bank vault, except for the stash hoarded by the mayor. This town needs a hero, and it gets one in the stranger who calls himself Rango.

A CGI western comedy populated by desert critters, Rango gives the film year a belated jump start with a passel of movie-wise fun and a knockout animation style. It ransacks, then smartly twists elements of dozens of classic pictures, from Chinatown to Clint Eastwood's No Name westerns, to spin the familiar tale of a tenderfoot who's mistaken for a savior sheriff by rude hombres and the lone pretty girl. Except that the dude, Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp), and the girl, Beans (Isla Fisher), are lizards, the mayor (Ned Beatty) is a turtle, the chief gunslinger (Bill Nighy) is a rattlesnake mean enough to scare Samuel L. Jackson and the fatalistic sage of this sagebrush fable is a armadillo named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) who keeps trying to cross a dangerous highway because, he croaks, "this is my destiny."

For all the euphemistic cussin' (ratings-wise, Rango could be called a hard PG) and cigar puffing (which earned the picture a slap from the Smoke Free Movies lobby), this is at heart a pungent showbiz parable. The chameleon who will be Rango begins the story as a bon vivant thespian whose gig is a small terrarium owned by a family on the move. When the terrarium crashes on an interstate, the traveling player is stranded. Winding up in Dirt, he relies on his improv skills to win the job of sheriff. Not that the post is much in demand: the previous sheriff's grave reads THURS.-SAT. R.I.P.

The savvy humor that the movie mines from an actor's fears and bravado can be attributed to screenwriter John Logan, a master at portraying artistic temperaments in extremis; he wrote the TV movie RKO 281, about Orson Welles and the making of Citizen Kane, plus Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes film, The Aviator, and Broadway's Red, which starred Molina as painter Mark Rothko and earned a Tony Award for Best Play.
(See a brief history of movie special effects.)

The cast, led by the crack-voiced Depp and the Dolly Parton--channeling Fisher, is flat-out flawless. But that's not surprising; they're all gifted veterans. Rango, though, is the first animated feature from director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and the special-effects wizards at ILM. These novices built on the motion-capture technology used in The Polar Express and 300, and somehow they figured out how to turn pixels into natural western landscapes; this looks like the most gorgeous live action movie. The scaly skin on its reptiles and the filthy hair on its rodents have a realism that's tactile, even if you wouldn't want to touch them.

And it's in glorious 2-D, so the images retain their full, sere radiance. No goggles, no gloom. And no competition for the coolest, orneriest, funniest, best-looking movie of early 2011.


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
herestoyou
Posted: Mar 6 2011, 12:14 PM


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I really like the way this guy worded his review(in spite of the typos laugh.gif ), as it's in everyday movie-goer language. I've posted an interview in the Rango updates thread he did with Johnny(the one about Johnny's celebrity crush rolleyes.gif )

***WARNING SPOILERS*** He gives it a +9/10
QUOTE

Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty
Running Time: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: PG
Release Date: March 4, 2011

PLOT: A chameleon (Depp) who wants to be a hero finds himself in a Western town desperate for water, and he’s forced to play the role to protect them.

WHO’S IT FOR? If you like animated flicks or Westerns, that’s definitely enough of a reason to buy a ticket. There’s a darker tone, that may not appeal to the little ones.

EXPECTATIONS: Depp movies haven’t impressed me lately. I have to admit, I didn’t bother with The Tourist and no one has given me reason to. Plus, the only reason to totally trust an animated movie is if it’s made by Pixar. Well, unless it has Cars in the title, then you can be suspect.

SCORECARD (0-10)

ACTORS:
Johnny Depp as Rango: This is a tour de Depp. That’s a phrase, right? The chameleon starts as a nervous nerd, playing house wiht his toys. I immediately felt attached to him. That’s all it took. What’s odd is, besides the comedy, there is something deeper here. When Depp utters, “Who am I?” It’s so unbelievably heartfelt. Sure, when Rango gets the chance to play the hero he over indulges himself, but luckily it doesn’t come off as cocky. Depp is a great actor and Rango wants to play that part and more. It’s the perfect combination. Rango even says “moist,” one of my most hated words in the dictionary, and he makes it work. That’s talent.
Score: 10

Isla Fisher as Beans: When Bean first finds Rango, she doesn’t want to enter town with him. It’s the perfect way to capture that feeling of being an outsider and just wanting friends. Plus, a lizard with a defect is amusing. There is a soft romance between Beans and Rango. Sure, he kind of “attacks” when she is frozen (her defect). But, because of how gentle a spirit he is, we happily allow it. Fisher’s Australian accent is no where to be found, the only complaint is that she seems to suddenly fall for him a little quickly.
Score: 8

Abigail Breslin as Priscilla: Breslin is great as the little girl in awe. I just wanted on more moment like when she was holding the six-shooters. Also, you might not want to call her ugly. I learned my lesson when I sat down to interview Breslin.
Score: 7

Rest of Cast: Ned Beatty as the Mayor has definitely found his second life as a voiceover artist. First Lotso from Toy Story 3 and now this. The rest of the cast is very impressive with Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton and Ray Winstone all lending a voice. The best for me was Timothy Olyphant as the Spirit of the West. I was definitely convinced is was someone else … A famous Western actor … He’s also known as being Dirty … and Harry … and having a Fistfull of Dollars … “Get off my lawn!” … I’m talking about Clint Eastwood people.
Score: 9

TALKING: There are so many meaty lines and even philosophical moments here. The quick lines of comedy come at a rate where I actually feel like I missed a couple because the audience was laughing so much. Depp drops words like “savages” that through adults back to his Hunter S. Thompson days. My two favorite lines … “No man can walk out on his own story,” and “I’m going to strip away this mystery and expose its private parts.”
Score: 9

SIGHTS: Gorgeous. Hypnotic. The eyes of half these creatures are enough to lose yourself in. The little things are so well done, like the bend in Rango’s neck. Plus, it’s epic. There are some action sequences that are so big and bad(ass) that it will be on par with any blockbuster action movie this year. When I talked with Gore Verbinski, I asked about this film not being in 3D. He said, “Did you think it needed to be?” I said, no. So then he said, “So why would I want to charge people more?” I like this man.
Score: 10

SOUNDS: I already have the soundtrack which is a combination of Los Lobos and Hanz Zimmer. Yeah, not bad. The mariachi band worked for me every time setting the mood and Zimmer knows what he’s doing, just like he always does.
Score: 9

PLOT SPOILERS

BEST SCENE: It’s really hard to pick, but I am going to go with the first time Rango walks into the bar. The music comes to a halt, and the cast of characters in this town can fully be appreciated. Plus, trying to choke down catcus juice leads to one of the funnier moments in a film that has many.

ENDING: Almost with a shrug and a smile our tale of Rango comes to an end, which is a little odd, since death has been on the line the entire film.

QUESTIONS: I did get many of my questions answered while I interviewed the cast. The one thing that I didn’t ask about that does stand out in this film is the size ratio of certain things. There are human sized things, like a Pepto Bismol outhouse. Then, there are also really small guns and most peculiar … an really small apple. Where did this come from? This supports the concept that this is all a drug trip from the cameo of Raoul Duke.

REWATCHABILITY: I’ve already seen it twice before the release date. I think I could be talked into a third time.

OVERALL

I’d like to say Rango has stumbled onto something new, but with Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp and Industry Light & Magic there’s no stumbling. This is a group of professionals tapping into core cinematic elements and hitting them out of the park. The underdog, the Old West, a hero, a villain and finding a moment to rise up and because “the guy who goes back.” Simply from a visual standpoint, it’s a film you can’t look away from. I know it’s only March, so I can’t declare this is the best animated film of 2011. But I can say this, I can’t imagine you or I will see a better animated film this year.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10


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"It is not the destination so much as the journey" ~Capt. Jack Sparrow
Karen
Posted: Mar 6 2011, 02:15 PM


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