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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Johnny Depp
Isla Fisher
Alfred Molina
Ray Winstone
Harry Dean Stanton
Ned Beatty
Abigail Breslin.
Directors
Gore Verbinski.
Screenwriters
John Logan.
Running Time
107 minutes

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Rango
The lizard with no name...


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Plot
A pet lizard (Johnny Depp) falls out of a car in the desert, and earns himself a heroic reputation in the makeshift animal town of Dirt as gunslinger Rango. Dirt’s water-supply is controlled by a turtle mayor (Ned Beatty) and his gang, but Rango rallies the decent folks when it seems the community will be destroyed.


Review
Rango
Browse more images »
Every year, CGI animation gets exponentially better at such a pace critics risk running short of synonyms for ‘amazing’. Rango probably looks as good as it does because Gore Verbinski and an army of processors didn’t get sidetracked and chose to make something ‘flat’ but amazingly textured and detailed. 3D is so obligatory for animation these days it takes a few minutes to adjust to the fact that Rango doesn’t make you wear glasses or throw snakes in your face … though, in every sense other than technical, it’s among the most three-dimensional films of the year.

Bravely, it risks not connecting with the traditional huge audience for toons by appealing more to grown-ups than kids. Johnny Depp delivers weird stoner patter as the voice of the kink-necked, swivel-eyed chameleon hero (the colour-changing gag is underplayed) and Verbinski extends the psychedelic fugue from his last Pirates Of The Caribbean movie as Rango wanders into a wasteland for guidance from the Spirit of the West (Timothy Olyphant). This is stuffed full of wry, knowing homages to the sorts of movies our market research tells us Empire readers love but which the average nine-year-old might be less familiar with. A Wagner-scored Apocalypse Now helicopter attack with bats ridden by Hills Have Eyes-look mutant moles is about as broad as it gets, with plot elements from Chinatown, Django and El Topo plus riffs on Depp’s appearances in Dead Man and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

On top of the freeform movie freakery, this offers ‘funny animal’ denizens of Dirt which include disturbing-looking gila monster whores, rattlesnake hired killers, a spider undertaker and assorted uncomfortable-looking vermin (if the Muppets made Deadwood, this is what you’d get). Rango has more invention to the minute than almost any other movie this year – the lizard heroine’s defence mechanism statue act is an especial highlight – and, if it’s a little too peculiar to be all that funny, it delivers action, strangeness and sheer visual impact to make it a potentially lasting cult movie.


Verdict
Let’s face it, a spaghetti Western with reptiles was never going to be as comfortable a watch as, say, a kung-fu movie with a panda. A certain percentage of the audience will instantly sieze on this as their favourite movie of all time, and a small, but not insignificant demographic will have nightmares. Verbinski and Depp probably like it that way.


Reviewed by Kim Newman


Related Reviews
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Ballad Of Rango: The Art And Making Of An Outlaw Film, The
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Rango
Empire Star Rating

RE: Rango.

Deakins has done this a few times - he worked on Wall-E and How to Train your Dragon - all great films. Empire got the rating wrong - willl be watching this film many times in the future ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by snooochies at 01:52, 11 March 2011 | Report This Post


What The Hell Empire? This Film Is Marvelous, Plot is Predictable, But The Quirkiness Managed To Overcome That. Deserves at the Very Least, a 4 Star Review ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BrooksyTHX1138 at 13:30, 10 March 2011 | Report This Post


Sure to be an overlooked classic

Went to the cinema feeling a little aprehensive, came out with a new (almost) favourite film! Definitely not one for the kids, but the constant homage, excellent character design, laugh out loud humour and pure anti-disney quirkiness make this a true modern cult classic. Kudos Mr Depp and Mr Verbinski! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hoojah41 at 16:56, 09 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Rango.

There was some weird shit going on in this film but I like that, it was interesting to see Roger Deakins involved in it, i'd definetly be carefull about what age to take children to see this as if there squimish then that's a big fat NO! an enjoyable (8/10). ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 09:32, 09 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Rango.

I loved this.  It's just so..... quirky.   That's not a word I like to use often, but it seems so apt for this film.  All the characters were kind of grotesque looking - Rango himself is the closest you'd get to a 'cute' animated character.  I loved that the characters were mostly gnarly looking, and there's a distinct lack of sentimentality that is usually laid on thick in other similar animated films, and the humour is nt.Some of it is obvious, some of it is dry, but I was... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sway at 19:36, 08 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Rango.

Brilliant animation, script, story and cast about a Chameleon who gets seperated by his owners when he falls out the car in a driving accident and ends up in the desert in a town called dirt with lots of the local wildlife living Wild West style. He has to help them find more water. Loved this from start to finish especially those singing owls with Mexican hats they cracked me up.e bat attack (homage to Apocalypse Now) I think older kids and Western fans will get the most out of this as some of... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 14:02, 08 March 2011 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1192628/]Rangohe first fully animated film from ILM might not be all that original story- and character wise but it has turned out to be a real enjoyable film. I thought there was a lot of humor in it and that the characters were fun. The references to other films was great as well. If you want to see an emotional deep film with well worked characters than this isn`t the one you`d wanna check out. What you do get is an entertaining evening with an enjoyable animation f... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 23:00, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Why is this movie being ignored on Empire?

Brilliant film, the Fantastic Mr Fox comparison is spot on. Kids might get it, they might not, but it worked on every level for me. Can't go without mentioning the animation either which is simply gorgeous. A high end 4 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 20:54, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


Why is this movie being ignored on Empire?

It is not showing on films released this week. It is not mentioned in the latest mag (not even at the end of the review pages saying when it will be reviewed online).Did Verbinski or Depp say or do something that was not pleasing to Empire? As I said earlier, this is a surreal masterpiece for fans of films and should be championed by the likes of Empire and not ignored! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waqas5050 at 14:14, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


Great movie

File under 'bit wierd for kids' like the brilliant ic Mr Fox. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spideed2 at 13:21, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


Great movie

post sorry ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spideed2 at 13:21, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


Why is this movie being ignored on Empire?

It is not showing on films released this week. It is not mentioned in the latest mag (not even at the end of the review pages saying when it will be reviewed online).Did Verbinski or Depp say or do something that was not pleasing to Empire? As I said earlier, this is a surreal masterpiece for fans of films and should be championed by the likes of Empire and not ignored! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waqas5050 at 12:46, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


Why is this movie being ignored on Empire?

It is not showing on films released this week. It is not mentioned in the latest mag (not even at the end of the review pages saying when it will be reviewed online).Did Verbinski or Depp say or do something that was not pleasing to Empire? As I said earlier, this is a surreal masterpiece for fans of films and should be championed by the likes of Empire and not ignored! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waqas5050 at 12:29, 07 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: I disagree, therefore you are wrong Mr Newman.

L: sanchia L: crazymoviesdude Ignore the respected professional critic's opinion which is obviously invalid due to him not agreeing with my assessment of the film based on the trailer. This is clearly a 5 star film based on the 40 seconds I've seen. :D] hat's all the recognition I need. ... More

Posted by crazymoviesdude at 23:17, 05 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: I disagree, therefore you are wrong Mr Newman.

L: crazymoviesdude Ignore the respected professional critic's opinion which is obviously invalid due to him not agreeing with my assessment of the film based on the trailer. This is clearly a 5 star film based on the 40 seconds I've seen. :D] ... More

Posted by sanchia at 19:41, 05 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Rango

Director: rbinski Screenwriter: gan Starring: Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant Synopsis When an ordinary chameleon (Depp) accidently winds up in the lawless town of Dirt, he becomes their new sheriff and hopes to be a hero to the desperate townsfolk. Review Let’s face it, the career of director Gore Verbinski hasn’t been an entirely great one, in the critics’ point of view. Following his useless remake of Rin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:04, 05 March 2011 | Report This Post


Surreal Genius

Watched it yesterday, loved every surreal second of it. Sure it is a vanity project and it will never be a main stream hit, though as pure cult it is unsurpassed. Great homage filled story line, great voice cast, nice score and songs. In terms of visuals with ILM producing there first complete animated movie, I'd say that the folks at Pixar (who have never put a foot wrong in my books) will have to start upping there game. In short Rango is a surreal, cult genius. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MOnkeyboy1138 at 14:28, 05 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: I disagree, therefore you are wrong Mr Newman.

This was a bit too weird for it's own good to be honest. Wouldn't say higher than a 6/10 - it was watchable, but really didn't have enough to it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Paul2j at 21:59, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


I disagree, therefore you are wrong Mr Newman.

Ignore the respected professional critic's opinion which is obviously invalid due to him not agreeing with my assessment of the film based on the trailer. This is clearly a 5 star film based on the 40 seconds I've seen. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by crazymoviesdude at 17:07, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


There isn't one critical thing that Mr.Newman has said about Rango, yet he's put it down as three stars? :S. Doesn't make sense. The movie is sheer brilliance, the animation is up there with the likes of Pixar, Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon. Highly Recommended ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by umer_ejaz at 17:02, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


wasnt expecting such a glowing report on the movie with 3 stars hanging over it.... but more interested in checking it out now. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sagent33 at 13:49, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: A Result

can't wait to see this now! So why such a glowing review and only 3 stars though? Seems like it's because its animated film that might freak the kids out? Lol i'm pretty such most kids love to be freaked out by the weird and wonderful, it's just the adults that seem to think other wise... and who says all animated films that aren't rated 15/18 etc aren't for grown ups anyway :P Anyway, i can't wait and i think i will love it :D hope i'm not disappointed ... More

Posted by mystra at 12:33, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


A Result

Blimey! I had this down as a 'maybe' as some of these kids' cartoons are ok but this sounds brilliant from the review. I guess the lowly three stars are because it doesn't fit for children? Are they the target market here and is that a misfire? Who cares, I think, is the answer; it sounds damn good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by thechair at 11:14, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


Ignore Empire Rating! This is brilliant!!!

This is a surreal masterpiece that had me grinning throughout. A movie made for the cinephiles like us with perfectly pitched homages to the Leone spaghetti westerns and Chinatown to name a few. A cult classic masquerading as a kids animated film. Truly the best cinema experience I had this year so imagine my surprise when I logged here and saw a 3 star review? 3 star?! The same as Gnomeo and Juliet?? This is a film that Empire should be rightly championing rather than over rated fluff like Sco... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waqas5050 at 01:00, 04 March 2011 | Report This Post


urr.

the review and the star rating don't mix so good sailor :P still looking forward to it like fuck :P ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by maxthom at 20:44, 03 March 2011 | Report This Post


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