Movie review: ‘Rango’
Wed, Mar 2, 2011 (6:05 p.m.)
The first fully animated feature from Industrial Light and Magic, Rango looks every bit as impressive as you’d expect from the special-effects gurus. It combines often photorealistic images with quirky, sometimes grotesque character design for a unique look that doesn’t just ape the Pixar or DreamWorks house style. Director and co-writer Gore Verbinski comes up with a surreal narrative approach to go along with the visuals, but the obligation to be kid-friendly and relatively straightforward while throwing in homages to Hunter S. Thompson and the Man With No Name pulls the movie in too many directions. The plot, featuring Johnny Depp as the voice of a lizard who inadvertently becomes the sheriff of a small desert town, has some fun with the conventions of the Western, but gets bogged down in long action sequences and stops making sense long before the big finale. It coasts on strangeness only so long before the novelty wears off.