Tuesday, July 19, 2011


A pet chameleon (Johnny Depp) with an overactive imagination finds himself separated from his owners and stranded in the desert. As a consequence of his wild tales (and an amazing amount of dumb luck) he soon finds himself elected sheriff of a small town with a water shortage. Under the name of Rango our hero sets out with a posse to solve the problem.

Rango is a quirky and beautifully rendered animated slapstick comedy that also, sadly, drags in places. And despite referencing everything from the westerns of Sergio Leone to Chinatown to Apocalypse Now, Rango isn't nearly as original or smart as it wants to be.

The story plays out in predictable fashion. Part One - ill-suited protagonist is mistaken for hero. Part Two - hero is forced to admit lies. Part Three - liar is given a moment of illumination and learns his lesson. Part Four - liar returns and becomes a true hero he was destined to be all along. You've seen this story before, many, many times.

That doesn't mean it isn't presented well. Even with its weaknesses Rango is still an enjoyable animated flick with a unique look and feel that is definitely worth a look. It's certainly not the best animated film you'll see this year (it's not even Cars 2), but it is worth a rental. I guess I just expected a little more.

Both the DVD and Blu-ray come with an extended version of the film, commentary by director Gore Verbinski, James Ward Byrkit, Mark McCreery, Hal Hickel and Tim Alexander, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette on the animals chosen for the film. The Blu-ray also includes an alternate ending, storyboards, and more short featurettes on the making of the film.

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