Wednesday March 2nd 2011

It upsets me when people I like get involved in franchises. And not because of some spurious notion of artistic integrity (it goes without saying that such movies are often wicked), but because it means they’re effectively ‘on hold’ for the best part of a decade. Imagine the diverse and wonderful films Sam Raimi could have made between 2000 and 2009, imagine where Bryan Singer’s career might have led if not into 10 years of superhero movies and imagine the career-best performances we could be looking forward to if Mr. A Garfield wasn’t Property Of Marvel for the foreseeable future.

Saying that, when they finally emerge from these cocoons, bucket loads of cash in hand, they’re liable to produce some of their best work (Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell is case in point – we’ll ignore Singer’s Valkyrie for now) and that’s exactly what Gore Verbinski has done post-Pirates. See here:

I haven’t done a graph in a while, feels good man. (Or should I say ‘Gore-aph’ – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA).

Anyway, the point I’m trying to get across is that Rango is absolutely brilliant. It’s hilarious, captivating and easily the most beautiful computer animation I’ve ever seen (suck on that, Toy Story 3) and while it never alienates its core audience of little ones, it feels like it’s re-writing the rulebook for 21st Century animation, which is probably something to do with this:

The CGI animation was created by Industrial Light & Magic, generally a special effects company. During voice recording, the actors were given costumes and sets to “help give them the feel of the Wild West”.

– Wikipedia, obvs

Treating the project like an actual film rather than some kind of between-projects stopgap works wonders for the uniformly excellent voice cast, notably Johnny Depp who conveys more emotion as a nine inch chameleon than he has in most of his recent live action performances.

And while the film occasionally strays into Shrek-style ‘this bit’s for the grown-ups’ territory (9-year-olds dig Kim Novak references, right?), it’s rarely at the expense of the story. And by the way, it actually has a story (suck on that, Toy Story 3).

Already the best animated movie of 2011, Rango is a must-watch for anybody with a brain, a heart or a functioning pair of eyes.

[Possibly ‘not okay’ Nick Griffin joke to go here.]