RANGO

 

THE PLOT THUS FAR

Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.

 

WHAT WE THOUGHT

We don’t learn much about Rango’s life as a pet chameleon. In fact, his name is not even Rango; he adopts it as his identity during his adventure. We do see him create his own theatre productions with the random items in his tank and he pretends that they give him feedback and criticism. When he determines that his latest show needs some intense conflict, he finds himself flung from his tank and on the side of the dry desert road. At the advice of an old armadillo, he seeks out water and stumbles upon the town of Dirt, a classic Wild West locale full or critters and experiencing a nasty drought.

Johnny Depp quickly loses himself into Rango, a character that’s somewhere between his take on Willy Wonka and his turn as Hunter S. Thompson. Depp churns out an outstanding animated protagonist, one who is equal parts boisterous and insecure. As the ultimate outsider in Dirt, our lizard hero has an epiphany: he can reinvent himself out here. He takes up his new name and makes up a fantastical tall tale and then with a pinch of luck, becomes the toast of the town and gets anointed sheriff. All seems swell, but something’s up in the town with regards to the dwindling water supply and the local critters are getting restless. Rango must truly be the hero he masquerades as. 

Rango himself upon first meet is absolutely not a hero. Even more interesting though is that his name is not Rango. In fact we have no clue as to what his name is… no doubt an obvious reference to the classic Spaghetti Westerns to which its inspired by and its Eastwood lead ‘Man with No Name’ character. But Rango, despite his lack of name, knows what he wants and Verbinski very clearly makes sure the audience knows too… He wants the chance to be a hero and to one have a story to tell.

“Rango” has the atmosphere of an animated film that was made for adults. It’s very off-balanced in the best kind of way, but a lot of the references and humor are sure to go over a child’s head. Some of the characters in the film talk really fast and while Rango is goofy enough to make the kids laugh, the subject content involving the town of Dirt certainly seems to be aimed towards a more mature sense of humor.

The Blu-Ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy to cover all of your bases. I have to say that I love how the new digital copies instantly load into Itunes via your Mac, quite nice. Back to the disc, Paramount continues their long history of actually producing discs with nearly 100% of the supplemental material in HD. The behind-the-scenes featurettes and the storyboard reel Picture in Picture track helped to make sense of this brave new animation. While this marks ILM’s first foray into PIXAR territory, I have to say that they’ve done a better job. Creating realistic computer imagery that plays in a simulated world blends so well that it tricks the eye. It also doesn’t hurt that the disc is sporting the best 1080p transfer of the year for a Blu-Ray. That’s right, kids. This is one of the best looking Blu-Rays on the market. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 07/15/2011
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