Now, before you ask me, YES, this is the very first animated feature-length movie from ILM (Industrial Light & Magic). And it is also Gore Verbinski's (The first 3 POTC films) first animated film also. And it is a double debut that I truly enjoyed.
As you can clearly see, Rango is the debut for one company and one director as I have mentioned above. The visuals are hands-down the best part of the film. Plus, it's a hit for many animation lovers and those who enjoy well-made animated films.
In short, Rango is 2011's How To Train Your Dragon and March 2011's True Grit. When our protoganist and pet chameleon Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) ends up in the small Western town of Dirt, he becomes an unlikely hero, and of course, the newest Sherrif in town.
As mentioned above, the visuals are the best part of this movie. In order for an animated film to truly work, studios don't always need 3D effects, cute characthers, cuddly animals and bright colors. Sometimes, gritty landscapes and grotesquely-detailed characters work, also.
In case you didn't know, Roger Deakins is the cinemetographer for the film. He worked as the cinemetographer for the True Grit remake and as a supervisor for HTTYD, so that makes Rango 2011's version of HTTYD, as mentioned above. The voice cast is solid. Ned Beatty does a good job as the main villian in the film, just as he tried to trick Woody and friends as Lotso in Toy Story 3.
The musical score by Hans Zimmer is awesome, and the screenplay by John Logan is smart and sharp. He utilizes irrepressble energy and irreverent pop-culture references for the movie. In some parts of the film, hilarity ensues. There are even acid-trip sequences. And it's wacky, and funny. It even pays a big tribute to those old spaghetti Westerns of years past.
Just one word of warning: Rango, despite being an animated film and carrying the "Nickelodeon Movies" label, is one of those films that are more suited for adults than young children. It carries a PG-rating, saying that it has "Rude Humor, Language, Action and yes, Smoking." And the film can get quite violent at times and scary. Plus, it also has adults-only refrences in it. This film also taught me that a PG rating definatley does not equal a kid-friendly movie. I could suggest screening the film before you show it to younger children. Consider yourself fully informed.
Other than the "More suitable for adults" message, Rango is a good time. And I highly recommend it.