Rango

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
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Re: Rango

Post by Dacey » February 3rd, 2011, 5:16 pm

So, anyone else been listening to "The Ballad of Rango"? I must say that I find it to be really great, crossing the fine between being an actual ballad and a parody of one. :)

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_b ... rango.html
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Re: Rango

Post by Riv » March 5th, 2011, 1:23 am

Just got back from seeing Rango. Wow... it's a truly unique animated picture, so much to love!

A couple of observations:
1. A lot of refreshingly brave production decisions: ugly, hard to market character designs (all based on actual desert animals!), weird dialogue, off-colour and bizzare jokes, grisly deaths, stylish hallucinations.
2. All round beautiful to look at, from hyper-real backgrounds to incredible textures and lighting. The characters all felt fully realised and weighty, as opposed to those in the Hoodwinked 2 trailer, ugh!
3. Killer cinematography, especially during the action sequences and more introspective scenes. Roger Deakins can do no wrong!
4. Hans Zimmer's score reminded me of his Sherlock Holmes composition mixed with Morricone, with a dash of pirates. Very cool shoutout to night on bald mountain, plus a bonkers rendition of flight of the valkyries.
5. Story is one we've seen a hundred times, although still done with energy and panache. Film could be maybe 10 minutes shorter though...

All in all, a fantastic foray into animation by Gore Verbinski!
Last edited by Riv on March 5th, 2011, 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rango

Post by Ben » March 5th, 2011, 4:51 pm

Riv wrote:4. Hans Zimmer's score reminded me of his Sherlock Holmes composition mixed with Morricone, with a dash of pirates. Very cool shoutout to night on bald mountain, plus a bonkers rendition of flight of the valkyries.
I'm now even more jazzed to see this than I already was, which I'm hoping to do on Monday.

What was the 3D like? Although I was impressed by Tangled, that's still only one of around seven films I've seen in 3D that I thought was worth it. I've been more prone to waiting to see things in 2D HD at home (where I find a good HD image has all the depth and more clarity that one needs), but I'd like to see Rango ASAP. Does the 3D add anything, or is it just something I'll need to sit through in order to see it sooner rather than later?

:)

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Re: Rango

Post by Riv » March 5th, 2011, 5:23 pm

It's not in 3D (!) Some of the grander sequences might have benefitted from 3D, but the 2D image was crisp and colourful:)

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Post by estefan » March 6th, 2011, 9:21 am

Yeah, I was surprised (what with the giant snake and western vistas) that it's not coming out in 3-D. But, nope, it's only available in 2-D format. What's the last computer-generated animated film that can attest to that? Delgo?

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Post by Ben » March 6th, 2011, 4:35 pm

It's funny but after I switched my PC off the other night I suddenly noticed that Rango wasn't in 3D.

Yay! ;)

AND it still topped the weekend! Just goes to show that it's not the crummy "enhancement" to movies that audiences are going to see. It's still the stories and - usually - star drawing power. Hence Rango is a hit, Yogi Bear (in 3D!) wasn't.

My anticipation of seeing this Monday night just went up even higher! :)

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Post by Sid Philips » March 7th, 2011, 12:26 am

What a dull movie rango was! I was surprised at how ugly and unappealing the whole cartoon looked. Any hopes of this being a more "adult" or mature cartoon are quickly undermined by how immature and juvenile the "writing" was. The animation is fairy weak, although the textures are quite nice (although it's often so busy as to not be able to know where to look). The cinematography (NOT by Roger Deakins-he consulted only a couple of days like he did on Wall-e and Httyd) is best in the chase scenes, while the slower parts (of which there are a lot) are poorly staged, blocked, and lit. It's often hard to tell who is who, or even who is talking. . The world is inconsistent and not very believable--with human sized props found right along side machine guns made the size of the characters. Easily half an hour too long, and ultimately a weak cartoon all the way around. Different just to be different doesn't make it good.

That Nickelodeon is selling this as a kids cartoon isn't helping, seeing now as how parents are complaining about the film's violence and graphic images.

I expect it to drop off fairly quickly.

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Post by Ben » March 7th, 2011, 2:32 pm

Now I'm actually even more intrigued. Seeing it in an hour...will report back in a couple of days. :)

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Re:

Post by Riv » March 7th, 2011, 4:03 pm

Sid Philips wrote:What a dull movie rango was! I was surprised at how ugly and unappealing the whole cartoon looked. Any hopes of this being a more "adult" or mature cartoon are quickly undermined by how immature and juvenile the "writing" was. The animation is fairy weak, although the textures are quite nice (although it's often so busy as to not be able to know where to look). The cinematography (NOT by Roger Deakins-he consulted only a couple of days like he did on Wall-e and Httyd) is best in the chase scenes, while the slower parts (of which there are a lot) are poorly staged, blocked, and lit. It's often hard to tell who is who, or even who is talking. . The world is inconsistent and not very believable--with human sized props found right along side machine guns made the size of the characters. Easily half an hour too long, and ultimately a weak cartoon all the way around. Different just to be different doesn't make it good.

That Nickelodeon is selling this as a kids cartoon isn't helping, seeing now as how parents are complaining about the film's violence and graphic images.

I expect it to drop off fairly quickly.
I actually liked the ugliness! It was such a departure from the super-clean Pixar look, plus the 'unappealing' character designs are kind of cute in a weird way.

I was genuinely impressed by the cinematography all the way through, even for slower scenes. Staging for most dialogue was pretty average I guess, but the indoor/underground lighting was great, bright enough not to be murky but still having a lot of atmosphere. As for Roger Deakins only being a visual consultant, I feel his contribution (however brief) still left a significant mark on the final product. Just look at the scene where Rango is talking to Beans under a full moon: the use of landscape features for blocking the shot, the placement of characters and the dull, almost dreamy quality of the lighting was like something straight out of the Assassination of Jesse James or True Grit!

About the world-building, I agree that juxtaposing tiny clothes/guns with 'human-sized' objects is kind of distracting, but then again movies like Flushed Away and Fantastic Mr Fox do this all the time.

I also agree that the film is a tad too long. However, once the chase scene happens I really enjoyed the pacing until the very end.

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Post by Bill1978 » March 7th, 2011, 8:05 pm

In simple terms just what the hell is cinematography. I've always just assumed it was lighting and pretty scenery. I admit when I play who will win the Oscar I just go for the picture with the wide open spaces, with no real idea what the hell I'm meant to be looking at.

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Re: Rango

Post by GeorgeC » March 7th, 2011, 8:44 pm

Cinematography is basically a photographer's choices of lighting and camera set-up. The term applies to both still photography and motion picture filming as well as CGI moviemaking and videogames. Camera set-up consists of choices of distance, angle, choice of film format, and type of lens use to photograph images among other things.

Editing is separate from cinematography but definitely influences it, too..

Cinematography can be the savior of the mundane or a killing point for a film. Excellent examples of very good cinematography include Citizen Kane, 2001, and the original Star Wars in certain scenes.

Bad examples of cinematography include the films of Kevin Smith, most of the live-action Batman films (where you can hardly see anything at night!), and various other movies where boom mikes and film hardware not meant to be seen on film are photographed nonetheless. (Modern comedy tends to suffer from horrific cinematography all too often.) "3-D" (polygon) videogames still tend to suffer from drifting cameras and awkard camera placement, too.

Hope that defines cinematography and its uses well enough for you, Bill!

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Re: Rango

Post by Dacey » March 7th, 2011, 11:26 pm

Wow. And I mean...WOW!

Quite honestly...I was blown away by this one. It surpassed my expectations, and they had already been set pretty high by the reviews. The voice acting, the animation, the story...gosh, there's so much that this movie got so right, it's hard to even know where to begin.

Let's start with Depp. I'm not sure if it's the voice performance, the character design, the animation or what, but I felt like I was actually watching him perform! I have no idea how they did it, considering he's a reptile, but Rango ended up being another truly memorable Depp character. It almost felt as though they had put him in a lizard suit, yelled "Action," and let him work the magic from there. It was an absolutely perfect marriage of voice acting and animation.

Everyone else is good, too. As a fan of Isla Fisher, I enjoyed hearing her as Beans. Bill Nighy, as always, was great. Even with only a few scenes, his Rattlesnake Jake was a truly memorable--and quite scary--bad guy. And Ned Beatty, fresh from voicing Lotso in "Toy Story 3," gave another memorable performance as the shifty Mayor.

Now let's talk about the animation...again, where to begin? There were moments where the dessert just looked so freaking REAL, it's hard to believe that everything was created on the computer. Other moments were almost surreal, with a few scenes reminding me very much of the Davy Jones' Locker sequence in "At World's End" (which makes sense, as it comes from the same director). In addition to this, "Rango" also features some pretty great action, including one of the best chase sequences I've seen in an animated film since...ever.

There's also a great score from Hans Zimmer. I know, I know, when you see the name "Hans Zimmer," it probably goes without saying that you're going to get something good, but "Rango," much like "Sherlock Holmes," shows still another side to this composer that we haven't seen much of before. The songs by the owls were funny and awesome at the same time, as was "The Ballad of Rango," which plays over the end credits.

If there's anything about the movie that doesn't work, it's only that it won't be for everyone. The movie has a quite twisted sense of humor sometimes (it's similar in tone to stuff like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"), and a few of the jokes flew over even my head. Also, since we're in a movie from Nick, we do get the required gross-out humor, but none of those jokes do any real damage to the story, and quite a few of them are even funny. It's also too scary and violent for small children, so parents should think for a bit before taking them.

Still, those are quibbles about why other people might not like the film. Me, myself and I loved the whole dang thing! I know that Hollywood has a bit of a sequel fever going on right now, but if a sequel to "Rango" were greenlit, I would be very, very happy. And unless Pixar or DreamWorks have something really special up their sleeves, they might not bring home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year. There is a new Brad Bird in the world of animation, and his name is Gore Verbinski.

There. I've gushed myself out. Feel free to tell me to shut up now. ;)
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Post by Vernadyn » March 8th, 2011, 2:40 pm

And unless Pixar or DreamWorks have something really special up their sleeves, they might not bring home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year.
Yeah, truth be told, Pixar and DreamWorks' films this year don't seem like Oscar material. Though we could be proven wrong.
There is a new Brad Bird in the world of animation, and his name is Gore Verbinski.
Well, not to snippy or anything, but I wouldn't put Bird out of the running just yet. I don't think he's abandoning animation just because he's doing a Mission: Impossible movie. Plus, one has to remember that John Logan was the primary writer for Rango, while Bird has written all his films. And Bird hasn't had a critical failure yet. Not to take away from Verbinski's achievement, but I personally wouldn't elevate him quite so high just yet.

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Post by Ben » March 8th, 2011, 4:16 pm

Darn it! Dacey already used my Roger Rabbit comparison! ;)

Rango is quite possibly the most unique animated feature produced in the CG medium. The story - such as it is - is pretty basic and predicable, but the staging and, yes, cinematography is what really makes the movie stand out. Vocal performances were amazing, and I couldn't believe that most of the heavily accented characters were actually Brits, but they were note perfect. Nice to see Beattie back doing a spin on Lotso, albeit in a more standard baddie role, as well as references and throwbacks to some of the western stars of old.

I agree that the look of the film is a major component of its success creatively: we've been waiting years and years and years for ILM to enter the feature animation world, and let's just say the wait was worth it. I could feel the sun burn off the screen, and could almost feel each grain of sand, touch any of the material worn and even felt thirsty for the water as the characters did.

I'm so glad Rango wasn't in 3D: the dull color and slight soft focus of the glasses would have totally taken the pin-sharp "reality" of the thing away. Some of the existentialism talk was a bit perhaps jammed in, but then I loved The Spirit Of The West sequence and - although I honestly wasn't sure it was Clint Eastwood during the film - that was a heck of a turn by Timothy Olyphant...a shade too light but enough to make any question whether Clint had turned up for a bit of fun.

Zimmer's score was pretty good, perhaps not quite as good as some have said here, mainly because he was drawing on pastiche a lot of the time and I don't think he stretched himself quite as far as he could. He referenced and did evoke the sound of Moricone and others, but he never quite made it his own or stamp his own mark on his precursor's sound. But I was roused a few times, especially in the chase, which was just excellently directed and drew on that time in the west when airplanes were just coming into being.

Character animation was sublime: Rango channeled Depp completely (I did notice an Emotion Capture unit credited, so maybe something's up with that?), but it was the supports that I loved. The owls, naturally, were great, but then so was Spoons, who gave off some simply wonderful expressions, and the Mayor, who often seemed not to be an animated character at all around the mouth and eyes: pretty amazing.

I was less impressed with some of the other supports: a lot of them looked and moved like that multi-armed friend of Obi-Wan Kenobi's in Attack Of The Clones...the one he meets in the diner? Big rubber lips and a jolly belly, and the same attributes could be seen in numerous characters here, not always to the film's advantage. But these were smaller things to find in a film that was often so unique that they're easily forgivable.

At the end of it I was honestly struggling to think of anything that it felt like, and decided that Roger Rabbit was its closest cousin in that it dealt with Chinatown type politics in an animated/real way at a family/PG/not-quite-for-kids-although-they-would-love-it way. And I agree that Verbinski is going to be someone to watch if he carries on in animation.

And, yep...if Cars 2 is all we are getting from the Pixar factory this year, then I would already place bets on Rango picking up for Best Animated Feature next year. This was finally the film that played the Pixar game for real: not just great animation, and not just great texturing, which I often found actually preferable to Pixar's smoothness and felt real instead of a hyper-real facsimile (what about those sunsets!), but a film that carried real risk in its ambitions.

In many ways, it was so out there that it could have come from Pixar, probably. Except it lacked their comfortableness and familiarity, which it what gave it a gonzo edginess where anything could go. And that's ironic, really, given where Pixar originally came from...

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Post by GeorgeC » March 8th, 2011, 5:18 pm

Gonzo?

Might be something I'd want to look into...
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