Gore Verbinski and Industrial Light and Magic have outdone themselves with Rango, which re-teams the director with his Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp in a wildly creative animated adventure that’s probably closer to the star’s own Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas than some parents might be expecting. While some of its finer nuances might go over most people’s heads (especially kids), it’s a funny film for all those who stick around for the wild ride. The Blu-ray version brings the fun home in style and substance, and may have just become your best go-to disc to help show off your home theater
The story follows a chameleon named Rango (Johnny Depp), who is sheltered in a terrarium and longs for excitement and adventure. He soon learns that he should be careful what he wishes for, as his world literally gets shattered and leaves him burning in the desert. He then finds his way to the western-like town of Dirt, where the townsfolk quickly make him the new sheriff after he makes up stories of adventure to impress the locals. When bad guys come making trouble in the town, it’s up to Rango and his new friends to make things right.
Our own Chris Pandolfi absolutely loved Rango when he saw the theatrical version last March, calling it one of the best animated films of the year. I can’t disagree, and here’s a sample of what he had to say just below, and you can read his full review right HERE:
“The simple fact is, children will like this movie. They will marvel at the colorful characters, they will laugh at the physical gags, and they will be awed by the renderings. They may even learn a thing or two about loyalty, friendship, and kindness. Adults will appreciate that too, but they will also marvel at how ingeniously the film utilizes western clichés. I personally appreciated the fact that it was released in good old fashioned 2D, a dying trend if ever there was one. For the first time in ages, we have a film that isn’t assaulting your field of vision; Verbinski and the powers that be at Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Studios clearly have held onto the belief that the real goal is to tell a story. Rango is a wonderful looking film, no question, but its greatest achievement is stimulating the imagination.”
Rango looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray, which thanks to the power of high-definition lets you see every little detail ILM put into making the film. From Rango’s leather-like skin, to every scale on rattlesnake Jake, the visuals practically jump off the screen. I would go as far as saying you could use the movie as a benchmark for setting up your HD home theater, as it’s raelly that sharp and crisp like lettuce. The sound is just as excellent, featuring a 5.1 DTS-HD track that delivers all the little details and big sounds you would expect from a Blu-ray disc, with Hans Zimmer’s amazing score shining through crystal-clear.
The bonus features on the disc are just as remarkable as the film. There’s audio commentary, and a the two part ‘Making Of’ documentary in which the first half focuses on the development of the story and character design, and shows how the crew recorded the audio with the entire cast acting out the scenes. The second half goes into the details of how ILM went about animating the movie. Also included is the featurette ‘The Real Creatures of Dirt’ that shows the animals that inspired the characters in the film. From rattlesnakes, armadillos, lizards and more. There’s a four-minute alternate ending that you can watch in the ‘extended version’ of the film (the only part extended is this ending), or you can watch the ending by itself. Rounding out the features are ten deleted scenes that bring an additional nine minutes or so of fun, a storyboard picture-in-picture while watching the movie, and an interactive viewing of the town of Dirt, where viewers can explore the town and its characters.
Rango is a fun film that takes an entirely different path to animated comedy that’s likely to weird out the most unsuspecting fans out at first, but those who stick with it will be rewarded with one of the most wildly creative and funny films of the year. The Blu-ray edition is absolutely stunning, replicating ILM’s amazing CG animation with exquisite detail that looks so good I wouldn’t be surprised if this disc ends up being your go-to option to help show-off your home theater set-up. Even better, there’s plenty of special-features that truly are special, as Paramount has stuffed the set full of fun and engaging bonuses that really help make this one of the best values I’ve seen in a long time. Come for the fun, but you’re bound to enjoy your stay in the wacky western town of Dirt with a few new friends.
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