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This movie perhaps already is one of the biggest surprises of the year. It's a way better and more entertaining movie that you at beforehand would expect and on top of that, it's great looking and really wonderfully and professionally put together by director Gore Verbinski.

It was a real surprise when acclaimed director Gore Verbinski announced his next project to be an animated feature. He had never done animated movies before and besides that, he worked with a company that also hadn't made a full length computer animated movie before. It seemed like this movie was a real dream project for Verbinski and with his influence and reputation which he had build up with his movies over the years, he persuaded the studios to give him the budget and creative freedom.

And because the movie got done by a director of 'normal' movies why "Rango" is different and original. It isn't as fluffy as lets say a Pixar movie and it certainly isn't as clean and smooth. "Rango" is raw and prefers making its characters look dirty and ugly. A true western in that sense and by saying things look dirty and ugly I of course don't mean to say that the animation is bad. On the contrary really!

The animations are done by well known and acclaimed special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, or simply ILM. Ever since their early days they have been the pioneers of special effects and even till this date they are still at the top of their game. Yes, still better than Weta or any other special effects company, in my opinion. They had of course worked with all of the techniques before but this was the very first time for them to create a full length animated feature. All I can say is; I hope it won't be their last! Everything is incredible looking. The backgrounds, the details, the characters, the action. It makes you wonder were it all will lead up to one day. Is it really possible that in a decade or so we get to see movies, or at least CG sequences, that can't be distinguished from real ones? Leave it up to ILM to pull that off some day! Animation-wise I even prefer this movie over a Pixar one, though perhaps you shouldn't compare the two, since they serve a totally different audience.

Fore "Rango" isn't necessarily a kid's movie. You could still really call it a family movie but it are probably the adults who will be mostly able to appreciate "Rango" for its visuals, humor, characters and references.

What I really liked about this movie is that it features plenty of references to other movies, in- and outside of the western genre but it aren't the usual, standard visual gags or dialogs you would expect. It's way more clever and creative with those moments and as a movie lover I was really able to appreciate that, though I'm sure I haven't even catch all of the references yet with my first viewing.

It's a true western and not only just that; it's also one of the best western to have come out in the last couple of years! Not bad for a movie starring a chameleon! It really has a western look and feel to it, as well as a great sense of adventure. It's a movie I really didn't want to end.

The story is actually quite simple and also quite formulaic, once you start thinking about it. There actually really isn't anything special or original about the story but it's simply done all so superbly that the movie still works out as great and perfectly entertaining. The movie can even be divided into many different parts. It starts out as a sort of goofy one, which children will like but after that the comedy gets soon replaced with action and adventure and the comedy gets pushed more to the background. It doesn't make this the most consistent movie perhaps but while watching it you don't even notice it, so it just can't be a complaint in this case. The movie simply works out very well and you get sucked in immediately by all of it and the strange world of talking animals, who dress like humans and live in the human world. No, this really doesn't make sense but this really doesn't matter at all. You'll get especially sucked in by the movie its action sequences, which are all really amazing, as is Hans Zimmer's musical score, which suits the movie so very well and it should really earn him his second Oscar out of his career!

It's a movie with plenty of big names attached to it with its voice cast but most of them are actually quite unrecognizable. Even Johnny Depp's voice, who plays the main lead, isn't always that recognizable. This is really not a complaint though. Most of the time, big names seem only to be attached to these sort of animated movie so that they have a big name, which they can put on the the posters and advertise their movie with. But with this movie the people really seem to have been cast because of their skills and how well they fit their characters. It really lets the actors work for their money, so to speak and they are really acting and playing a character, instead of just voicing an animated character.

And the movie does has some real great characters in it, who are all also great looking ones, with each a very strong and distinctive, unusual look.

This is such a fun and just brilliantly put together movie. It will be hard for any movie this year to top this one! The movie even features a great montage and fart joke in it. Two things lot's of other movies can't ever seem to get right!

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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