Newest Review: ... character, it's by the team that did Pirates of the Carribean, so there's a chance. Well, the opening sequence had us puzzled in a good ... more
Quick draw chameleon!
Member Name: pmcds
Advantages: Entertaining and funny, animation and score once it gets going
Disadvantages: First 20 minutes are weird
While I am yet to be convinced that any modern Western from any platform has the capacity to rival the greats of the last Century, I admire and relish the fact that it doesn't stop directors and producers from trying. One such latest attempt comes in the form of an animated comedic Western with animals as the main characters, thus sparking interest (presumably) amongst the younger generation.
Johnny Depp lends his soothing dulcet tones to Rango, a pet chameleon with a penchant for acting who finds himself pretending to be a legend of the Wild West following a car accident that leaves him stranded in the desert, stumbling across the water starved town of Dirt. The inhabitants of Dirt need a new hero and sheriff and the dramatic chameleon, adopting the name Rango, rises to the challenge. What follows is an entertaining hour and a half of typical Wild West, with a secret villain (easily guessable), a love interest, some renegades and a whole heap of clever animal based comedy.
Really, there's no attempt to reinvent the wheel, as director Gore verbinski pretty much accepts that what he gives us won't top the classics. Instead, he focuses on the comedy and the action, providing an exciting score that impresses as much as the visual elements of the film. The vocal talents of Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Alfred Molina and others are enlisted alongside Depp, whose versatility shines through as the rather endearing Rango tries to prove that he really is the skilled hero he professes to be, whereas in reality he's a bumbling idiot who has spent the majority of his life in a tank with half a Barbie, a wind up goldfish and some sticky back plastic with a desert feature stuck to the inside of his habitat.
The dialogue is often very clever, allowing adults to appreciate a bit of this as well as provide some comical entertainment for the younger generation. There is a bit of violence in the film, so it may not be suitable for the youngest of kids, I guess that's up to the individual parent to decide. I felt it was just about okay for our 7 year old, with a few choice moments that my wife and I shared a look wondering how borderline it was going to get.
Luckily though, the focus is one the entertainment, and nothing is dwelt on for too long. Verbinski knows how to keep something flowing quite well and manages it here to a satisfactory level. I think it's fair to say that the film improves as it goes along, starting off slowly and in quite an eccentric fashion. I recall that his attempt at a third Pirates of the Caribbean film, At World's End, had quite a few moments where I was spun out and confused, hoping for no more tangents to distract my focus from the film. Rango starts off like this, quite weird for the first 20 minutes or so, before it gets less complicated and the characters start to control the proceedings as opposed the feeling at the start where it's almost like waffling to fill the void.
Overall then, it's certainly worth watching, you just have to bide by the first 20 minutes or so while Verbinski gets the weird element out of his system. Thereafter, the animation is impressive, the score equally so, and the entertainment and action coming thick and fast with a decent plot. Well worth a watch - recommended.
Summary: Enjoyable animated Western, good once you get past the weird intro