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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Rango Is Awesome

I didn't fancy Rango when it hit cinemas. I'm not one for CGI animated features usually, they're all a bit samey. The Toy Story movies are okay, but once you've noticed how sickly sentimental they are they become annoying. Same with movies like Wall-E... Animated movies tend to be kids films with adult bits. Rango is different. Rango, in my opinion, is a movie made for adults that kids can also enjoy. It's basically what I've been waiting for. A clever, self-aware underdog story with enough 'wit' to keep the 'heart' quiet.

There are so many little things I want to mention, things that made me laugh out loud (something I rarely ever do, let alone at an animated feature) but first I suppose I should give a bit of an outline...

The animation style is clever; it makes you forget you're watching a "cartoon" at all. Maybe it's the sheer believability of the characters (despite being Western stereotypes at base) that slip the fact that this isn't real past you in a cloud of laughter and dust.  

The character acting in this is amazing. Johnny Depp is perfect as the wannabe someone Rango, a domestic pet Chameleon lost in the dry desert and thrown into a situation he simply isn't prepared for. Isla Fisher voices eccentric love interest Beans, another lizard whose father definitely didn't fall down a mine shaft while drunk. But it's some of the other, less prominent characters that shine out among the cacti. The Native American Crow is amazing and Abigail Breslin's "Priscilla" is adorable and straight out of True Grit. 

As well as a nice little plot (there's increasingly less water in the desert, whatever shall we do?) - which involved Wild West staples such as gunfights, bank robberies and corrupt town officials, the long list of believable and lovable characters and the always cheeky and boundary-pushing jokes that will have adults chuckling and kids putting their hands over their mouths in shock, there are some wonderful nods to other western movies (and one perfect moment that will have Depp fans giggling, a short crossover between this movie and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas) that are just waiting for you to find!

There's a killer cast (Bill Nighy's Rattlesnake Jake is horrible fun), including Ray Winstone, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ned Beatty and a haunting cameo by Deadwood star Timothy Olyphant. Not a single voice sounds miscast or out of place. And the music is infectious! All in all, there's very little I have to say about this movie that is in any way negative. I loved it. Simple as that.

I watched this late at night while tired. I laughed throughout. I watched it again this afternoon and laughed again. I think I'll watch it for a third time in a little while. There's bugger all on telly and even if there was, this would probably still be better. I said on Twitter last night that this was the best animated feature I'd seen in a decade. That may be my enthusiasm running away with me, but even now I can't think of a contender to the title. It's not perfect, but it's lovely. It's honest, clever, cheeky and never, ever takes itself too seriously. You won't cry in the end of this one, like in Toy Story 3, but then I sometimes want to leave the theatre smiling. I wish I'd seen this in the cinema as that's exactly what I would have done.