Rango, Clint Eastwood &The Other Side

March 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

MOVIE REVIEW: Rango, Clint Eastwood &The Other Side | Movie Blog


The first thing that was obvious from the moment Rango began was how beautiful it looked.  The staggering amount of detail in the characters and environments is unreal.

However, technical and design achievements can only get you so far if the story doesn’t hold up.  So how does Rango stack up against the competition?

MOVIE REVIEW: Rango, Clint Eastwood &The Other Side | Movie Blog

The film begins like many animated movies, introducing us to a lovable character full of personality and humor but it quickly became apparent that Rango isn’t meant to be a hilarious cartoon.  Truthfully, the only element that really had me laughing was the bleak and hopeless lyrics of the owl’s songs.

Funny moments aside, Rango an adventure story.  A pretty fantastic adventure story.

If you’re going into it expecting a laugh a minute, Rango isn’t for you.  It’s basically an animated movie in the spirit of Pirates of the Caribbean.  First and foremost, it’s about action and adventure with a little humor sprinkled throughout.

What I didn’t expect was the countless movie references that were a joy to see.  Rango is a love letter to old school westerns. It begins with our hero.  The Lizard With No Name.  Taking on Rango as a nickname was a great way to establish the films many connections to Sergio Leone’s ‘The Man With No Name’ Trilogy starring Clint Eastwood.  Beyond that, there are literally dozens of homages to famous movie moments that will thrill viewers savvy enough to catch on.

If you love westerns, Rango is definitely a breath of fresh air with everything you would expect to see from good old cowboy movie.  There are duels, dusty saloons with poker playing bandits.  There are bank heists, carriage chases, shoot outs, damsels in distress and countless themes we’ve seen before.  We’ve just never seen them so well executed in animated form before. (Fievel Goes West?)

Discovering Who You Are

What impressed me the most about the film was the central theme of discovering who you are.  I feel like I’m back in school writing film essays again but it’s true.  It’s a theme that’s explored with a metaphor I thought was brilliant.

“You just have to get to the other side.”

It’s amazing that something as simple as an animal crossing the road could have such a profound impact on the heart of the story.  The characters in the film just need someone to believe in which is a tough task for a hero who doesn’t know who he is.  It’s a fantastic journey I didn’t expect but was pleasantly surprised to see.  When you mix powerful themes like that with gorgeous and vivid visuals provided by the talented Gore Verbinski, you get a magical experience.

Speaking of visuals, I’ve already mentioned how awesome the movie looked but it’s the precise directing talents of Gore Verbinski that really hold the film together.  This movie is packed with money shots that shows the director took full advantage of the medium.  Did I mention the film is beautiful?

NOTE: If only Verbinski’s vision of a Bioshock movie would have come to fruition…  What could have been.

It’s inevitable that Rango will be compared to Pixar movies.  I think every animated film these days will.  Rango dares to take the animated genre into new territory and that’s what makes Pixar movies so great.

Rango is something you’ve never seen before and if you’re a fan of cartoons, it’s worth a look.  Especially if you’re a fan of Clint Eastwood.  (I’d mention more but I don’t want to spoil it.)