Monday, December 24, 2012

Not The Most Compelling Story Backs An Incredibly-Animated Film With Rango!

The Good: Decent animation, Good voice performances
The Bad: Predictable plot, Very obvious character arcs
The Basics: Rango is a surprise winner for Best Animated Film, considering it is a very obvious Western.

It is a rare thing for me to sit down to a film from Nickelodeon Films, despite the fact that I truly enjoyed Hotel For Dogs (reviewed here!) from the company. So, when my wife’s family came for a visit, it was somewhat surprising to all of us that I had Rango out from the library. I got out Rango for my wife, who tends to like animated films. I was unsurprised when she told me she actually watched Rango over the summer, but I was surprised when she informed me she did not actually enjoy it. But, given that she and I have different tastes in movies, I decided to watch the movie with my in-laws while she was at work anyway.

My wife was right.

Rango is a remarkably underwhelming, average-at-its-peak, movie that might have impressive animation, but not enough to back it up on the character and plot fronts. The animated film is a Western populated by animal characters and it is surprisingly unoriginal and lacking in humor needed to sustain an animated film.

As part of a move, a domesticated lizard is keeping himself occupied in his aquarium, making theatrical presentations to keep himself entertained, when the car swerves and the aquarium goes flying. The lizard ends up on the road, then after a near-death experience, lost in the desert. Chased by a redtail hawk, the lizard ends up running into the small town of Dirt. There, he begins bragging about how he has killed the local villainous gang (with one bullet) and he takes the name Rango. Having befriended a lonely woman named Beans, Rango’s bragging and posturing earns him the role of Sherriff in the town of Dirt.

As Sherriff, Rango vows to discover how the bank is running out of water. He quickly uncovers a plot by a family of thieves. After riding out and thwarting their plans, Rango is replaced by Rattlesnake Jake and he must come to rescue Dirt. Exposing the corrupt Mayor, Rango risks life and limb to bring water back to Dirt.

Rango is a Johnny Depp vehicle and it is hard to see how the film did any business outside his fan base. The animation is well-rendered and all of the animals look good and move with a surprisingly realistic sense of physics. The character designs are very cool for the lizards, scorpions, turtle, cat, and bats; Rango has a vivid visual palate.

Unfortunately, effects are a small portion of evaluating a film and Rango is not backed up by an interesting series of characters or a remotely good plot. Movies like this usually trade on having great lines that are enough to amuse adults, but Rango lacks anything so clever. The characters are unmemorable and the plot is predictable.

The vocal performances are decent, though Johnny Depp does not present anything that viewers have not seen or heard from him before. Backed by talents like Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, and Alfred Molina, the characters in Rango are expressive, if not impressive.

Now on DVD and Blu-Ray, Rango includes an alternate ending, two different versions, and ten deleted scenes. None of that makes it worth buying.

For other works with Isla Fisher, please check out my reviews of:
Rise Of The Guardians
Confessions Of A Shopaholic
Definitely, Maybe


For other film reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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