So, unexpectedly, I went to see Rango tonight. What with the new method of acting (physically acting out the motions while voice-acting, so far as I understand it), I was looking forward to a unique film.
And, for the most part, I got it. Rango is a western, first and foremost, featuring what I mistakingly believed was a chameleon. (He’s not, he’s a lizard. And we never discover his True Name.)
Through a series of unfortunate, weird, and fortuitous events, he ends up in Dirt, turns Sheriff (which you should know from the previews), and has an Adventure.
Though the screen at the drive-in was uncommonly dark, I got the impression the animators did a good job on this one. Watching Rattlesnake Jake was fun every moment he was onscreen; the twists and whip-like reactions of having a character with a spine that goes all the way down to their weaponized tail. The cinematography was also really nice, just the pacing and translating the traditional western scene to animation.
Plot is a little predictable, but it’s a western staple that some of these things will happen. Women will be fiesty ranchers trying to save their land. There will be a Native American character. There will be a little kid. There will be a Greek chorus aka mariachi band.
…maybe not so much that last one. For what it’s worth though, I liked them, and I don’t usually care for mariachi music.
Things I had trouble with: The ‘hope’ theme is a little heavy-handed. The abstract moments made me think of Pirates 3 (with the nose, and crabs, and white sand)– with one caveat. There is a scene in which he stands at the side of the road in the dark, with cars going by, and it was perfect. This feeling of when you’re standing by the sidelines–anywhere, any city, any party, anything basically–and feel like no one sees you, so you aren’t sure who you are or what you’re worth without recognition. It captured that feeling, which was perfect for the character at that point.
It was followed up by a very Pirate-sy scene, which was… bizarre. But necessary for the film, I guess. It had nothing on the Balto scene with the white wolf–which it wasn’t trying to emulate, but that’s the same type of scene. Only done much better.
The dialogue is great though. There’s a hilarious malapropism about a mammogram. (Had to look that up: Malapropism is a word used incorrectly in place of another word that sounds similar. Like ‘castration’ for ‘christening’.) Couldn’t stop laughing.
Ending thoughts: Salvador Dali! Some of the cinematography reminded me of Dali. Don’t know why. But it’s a good film–little odd, little predictable, but good dialogue and characters.