I know I just recently said in my review of Battle: LA (here) that Oscar season is long over, but say hello to my little friend Rango, an early candidate for animated film of the year. The timing of its release, significantly before the summer blockbuster months, makes me wonder if the suits at Paramount were unsure of how audiences would react to this oddball of a gem, especially when you take a look at its surrounding animated peers being released around the same time. Well, I can’t say for sure officially yet, but Gnomeo and Juliet, Moms Needs Mars, and Hop don’t look too promising, and they’re equipped with 3D. Those movies would probably need it in a showdown against Rango, which impressively is not even offered in the gimmicky trend.
The computer-animated tale about the titular chameleon, a domesticated newcomer in an ol’ wild wild Western town, is such a visual treat that you’ll either wish you were high or forget that you weren’t. The assortment of desert animals are presented in incredibly gorgeous character models, and you may find yourself staring in awe at the details. Just as impressive is the soundwork of Rango. Not only is Hans Zimmer’s Western score top notch as usual, but the voice acting by the entire cast is absolutely impeccable.
Where Rango stumbles a bit is in its predictable and done-before plot, but you may not mind that too much, as the film’s finer details and presentation are wonderfully engrossing. By branding Rango with the lovable eccentricity not seen since some of its older TV cartoons like Invader Zim, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and Rocko’s Modern Life, Nickelodeon Movies has finally produced an animated film worth watching, much needed after taking universal flak for The Last Airbender.