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By: Addison Wylie

The film Rango is similar to its lead character. It’s an odd but distinctive looking movie that is unlike any other movies around them. Some may be weary at first but after investing interest in the film, the audience, much like the Old West community in the movie, walks away from the theatre feeling charmed. The story is captivating and the characters are very interesting to look at as well as listen to; especially the baddies. Director Gore Verbinski has not only created a stunning animated film but he’s also conceived a great introduction to Westerns for his target audience.

Stranded and confused, a nervous and awkward chameleon named Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp, stumbles upon the town of Dirt. Dirt is filled with unusual critters that live an interesting life. Dirt is also in need of a Sheriff. When Rango is confronted by some of the more tougher creatures of Dirt, Rango puts his acting skills to use and creates an alternate persona for himself. He makes himself sound rugged and relentless and after showing off his “skills” in a duel, the town patrons are convinced Rango is a good candidate for the Sheriff position. Meanwhile, a determined, resilient inhabitant of Dirt named Beans, voiced by Isla Fisher, smells something fishy. The water supply is starting to become more and more limited. Without water, the population of Dirt will be forced to move out or die. Beans demands that Rango solves this issue before its too late. Rango being the “tenacious force” he’s made himself out to be, rounds up a team and begins his search for the missing water.

The first cinematic element that audiences will instantly connect to is how gorgeous the animation is. Each character is filled with incredible amounts of detail and texture. Even though the film’s cast consists of talking creatures, it’s possible to forget that you’re watching animated figures. That’s the level of authentic animation movie goers are always looking for.

The script is very quick witted and is able to talk to adults without forgetting it’s target audience as well as talk to youngsters respectfully without feeling like it needs to dumb the story or the dialogue down. Screenwriter John Logan is able to flesh out these small town simpletons quite well. The inhabitants of Dirt feel like people you would find in the Old West. Logan also does this without resorting to winks, nudges and cliches; although I wouldn’t be surprised if very subtle references to other Westerns are riddled throughout his written work.

I didn’t expect the film to have the sense of humor it did. Audience members in my theatre were taken back when the bizarre quirks started to take effect. The audience was laughing though. Hard. It was the sound of refreshing laughter; people relieved to see a film stay consistent to its odd ball humor and hit all the punchlines.

Not to drag other animated films through the dirt (no pun intended) but after witnessing how much work and creativity was deposited into Rango, the flaws in rushed animated work such as Despicable Me or Doogal stand out even more. Verbinski has raised a bar here in regards to animated films that aren’t fortunate to be associated with the geniuses at Pixar. Rango shows that not only filmmakers from Pixar have the ability to create an amazing piece of work. There are other animators and other collaborators out there that know how to create a captivating story and make the final product look astonishing as well.

There’s so much more I can say about Rango but for length purposes, I better wrap it up. I didn’t even discuss the exciting action sequences or the very talented and disguised voice cast. Another reason why I should end here is because no matter how much I write, the portrait painted for you, my readers, wouldn’t even measure up to how fresh and enjoyable Rango is. I cannot recommend this film enough.

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