movies: rango

johnny depp is rangoI'm not exactly sure who the target audience for Rango is... in fact, I'm not sure Rango knows who it's target audience is...

It's an animated movie (not that this means it has to be a particular type of movie... but it's animated and is populated by talking animals... that's a pretty clear target demographic if you ask me). It's also very much a Western and includes a lot of references from Western movies that kids aren't going to get. It's also not especially funny (due to the aforementioned Western-ness). And it has some of the ugliest characters I've ever seen in an animated movie.

It's all a bit of a mess really.

I also found the whole premise a little messy too... Rango is a pet chameleon, but he wears a shirt inside his tank... and then through the usual kind of movie conventions he finds himself in the desert where he encounters a village full of the aforementioned ugly critters who seem to live in a town that's half built from recycled people junk and half perfectly sized and working guns and bottles and the like. And human people then factor in again later in the movie.

It just doesn't feel particularly internally consistent. Or, to put it more simply, like I said before... a bit of a mess.

The story isn't exactly new either... but that didn't actually bother me all that much... it's part Chinatown, part Three Amigos and part Fistful of Dollars... and mix in every single movie where somebody deceives a community of people about something, is found out and has to make good...

As I mentioned before, while it's also one of the most beautifully rendered animated movies I've seen in a while, it's also the hands down ugliest cast of animated critters I think I've ever seen in a movie. And it's kind of worse that they're so realistically rendered... it just makes them all the more ugly and harder to look at. The character of Spoons especially... there are a couple of shots where he looks like he could be a human being made up in creature makeup... they eyes are so realistic, but he's just nasty looking.

And even Rango's "love interest" isn't very appealing... she has massive eyes but teeny tiny little pupils and lizard skin but glossy auburn hair. The overall effect is really off-putting.

Some of the creatures look disturbingly accurate (like the golden liquid eyes on Priscilla, who I think is supposed to be an opossum), some are so wildly caricatured that it's often hard to tell what they hell they're supposed to be. Then on top of that you have a bunch of anthropomorphic animals mixed in with a number of mostly normal looking animals...

Having said that though, almost all of the backgrounds and landscape is depicted beautifully... so much so that there's a series of shots of sand dunes at night that I'm almost convinced have to have been real sand dunes because they're rendered so incredibly realistically.

Add to that a set of four Mariachi owls that seem to know the whole story before it begins but also interact directly with the characters and a "this is how we get out of the villain's fiendish trap" gag at the end that defies both common sense and physics...

Sadly even the voice of Johnny Depp is enough to save this one...

yani's rating: 6 prospecting permits out of 10

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