Dir. Gore Verbinski
★ Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Timothy Olyphant
This year won't go down in history as belonging to the golden age of animated features (if there is one yet) – if that's Pixars fault is a question I don't want to discuss here. As both RANGO and TIN TIN are not part of the Disney/ Pixar group that has somewhat held a monopoly on the animated film sector, though, this year is very likely to down in history as the one in which Pixar didn't produce a winner.
Getting back to RANGO. The story of a lonely lizard who gets thrown into an unfamiliar, rural environment, where people don't like strangers, and realizes the opportunity to invent a new life for himself and be popular for a change. Except for a few adjurations, nothing new here. Applying human emotions, values and behaving onto animals is nothing new either, but most previous animated fables haven't pushed it as far as RANGO does – which, believe it or not, is one of this films biggest strengths. Furthermore, the animation is fabulous, every little detail being perfect to bits. This is especially seen on hand of the clothing, and the single scene in which a human appears (“the spirit of the west” to be precise, but let's call him a human). Only after a mentionable amount of seconds had passed, I realized that this wasn't a real actor but an animation, and it took me some time to convince my sister too: “Look there, you can see it's animated from that tiny detail...”. If there's anything Pixar can learn from here, this must be it.
There is a lot of situation comedy in RANGO, and I remember laughing out loud a few times. Mostly I was just smiling though, so you shouldn't expect a proper comedy. If you don't expect more than a little entertainment, you won't be disappointed, and maybe you'll be shocked by some of the scenes that are actually funny, because they're hilarious to be honest. And that's where Johnny Depp steps in. I know that many people say he's become a parody of himself lately, and I can understand why they feel that, but in my opinion all he needs is to play some more serious roles. Let's face it, he's great at comedy, but if he continues this way, his career is slowly going to drop down – even though, as I said, RANGO wouldn't be near as good without him.
A big weakness of the film is the development of the story and the final showdown/ ending. I don't want to spoil anything here, so let me just say: predictable and poor. I found myself slowly drifting away, and when I found my way back to the film again, I could tell what would happen so I drifted away again. Also, and I know Americans and people who watch the dubbed versions won't consider this a problem, but I found it extremely hard to understand Beans. That accent was really extreme – if I ever watch it a second time, I'll turn the subtitles on. And that's what I would recommend others like me to do.