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Blu-ray Reviews

Rango Blu-Ray Review



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#1 of 38 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted July 11 2011 - 02:30 PM

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Rango Blu-Ray + DVD+ Digital Copy Combo Pack

Studio: Paramount Pictures Year: 2011 US Rating: PG for Rude Humor, Language, Action and Smoking Film Length: Theatrical Version: 107 Mins – Extended Version: 111 Mins Video: MPEG4-AVC 1080P High Definition 16X9 – 2.40:1 Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese Release Date: July 15, 2011 Review Date: July 11, 2011

Oh he's talking about Rattlesnake Jake, Mr. Rango. He usually doesn't come to town because of that hawk, but he might come now. Can I have your boots when you're dead?

Introduction

If Clint Eastwood, long before he was the cool, calm and collected gunsling legend, had been a reptile –strange, lacking in confidence and awkward at times – he might very well have been named Rango. Pixar may be the benchmark for storytelling in animated films and the undeniable champs of the box office, but films like Rango are precisely the sort of competing animated tale other studios should be spinning. Much like last year’s entertaining Despicable Me, which found success focusing on an interesting tale, a lot of heart, and the skills of the primary voice talents, Rango sets about to produce a film of such rich visual imagination within the parameters of the classic Western genre, and succeeds so completely with its technical mastery and astonishing array of near-photorealistic characters (each unique and fascinating to watch), that it is no surprise it connected with audiences

The Film: 4.5 out of 5

A lonely chameleon house pet, softened by the comfort and isolation of his sparse terrarium, finds himself marooned along the sun-baked unforgiving highway in the middle of the desert. His dreams of being the hero have the chance to come true when, following the cryptic guidance of an elderly possum, wanders into the water-starved town of Dirt. In Dirt, water is the main commodity – the townsfolk store there reserves in the town bank, goods and services are bartered for the liquid currency, and the drought is driving townsfolk away every day. The simple folk of the desperate town are in need of a sheriff (but in greater need of a hero), and are quickly regaled by the fanciful tales of the chameleon stranger – calling himself Rango. Sensing that all is not quite as it seems in the parched and dusty town, Rango begins to unearth the truth behind the town’s dry spell, while believing evermore his own outlandish and entirely made-up stories of bravery and heroism. Director Gore Verbinski, having poured himself into directing three enormous, complex and visual effects laden films – Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2 and 3 – decided to tackle what he thought would be a much smaller picture. But the stunning visual complexity, brilliant crafting of sequences and incredibly rich assortment of unique characters are indication that Verbinski did not get what he sought. Instead, we have one of the most visually sumptuous computer generated films ever made. This ode to the western genre is never a slave to the conventions of the uniquely American style of film (Spaghetti Westerns aside), but it so completely embraces the traits as to deliver them with both freshness and faithfulness, and the Mexican singing quartet semi-narrating the tale help to set the literate and sneaky tone. The archetype townsfolk of Dirt are neighborly but individualistic, the town mayor is beloved but shady, the farmers simple, the bartender shaky under pressure, and the spirited farm girl a force to be reckoned with; all these characters would comfortably dress a classic Western, but as rodents and other desert-dwelling creatures, these familiar characters become a rewarding experience to watch. The voice cast is uniformly excellent, with Johnny Depp continuing to demonstrate his charming adaptability to almost any type of character. His drawl isn’t pretentious or pushed, but rather fitting of a character happy to ‘play the part’; deriving courage from his acting the part, his fleeting cowardly tendencies peak through with funny results, and all the while Depp makes endearing and likeable this façade of a hero. Ned Beatty’s confident and baritone pomposity fit the town mayor exceedingly well, Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake – a nasty and malicious snake – is perfectly menacing, Isla Fisher as Beans (the confident farm girl) is spot-on. The rest of the wonderfully impressive voice cast is perfect, with the vocal talents of Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Abigail Breslin, and Timothy Olyphant adding to the high quality of the film. The animation (courtesy of ILM) is simply beautiful – rich with detail, nuance, and uniqueness for each character that this ode to the Western genre comes alive. There are wickedly inventive moments in Rango – moments that are daring for this style of film and, harkening back to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – where Jack Sparrow is lost in the peculiar afterlife – at ease with surrealism. There are uncommon dark shadows in the plot, breaths of melancholy, and a delightful vision quest sequence, all brought to the screen with some of the finest animation I have seen and glued intelligently together by a delightful story written by John Logan (Gladiator). And to have such animation quality attached to a film of such fun and energy, where the hero’s journey is genuinely earned and not always as expected, is a real treat.

The Video: 5 out of 5

Paramount Pictures provides Rango on Blu-ray with a sparking 1080p High Definition. I could not see a thing wrong with this image. The level of detail is deliriously good, the colors are perfectly rich when they need to be and a sun-washed when they aren’t. I have always been a fan of how Gore Verbinski shoots his films – a man able to balance the dark and grimy with the pristine and perfect to produce images with depth and fantastic beauty. Using the unlimited possibility of animation, each frame is a perfect example of that skill. Perfect!

The Sound: 5 out of 5

The audio that comes with Rango is a glorious as the video. Hans Zimmer’s playful western-themed score lives throughout the surround experience while the sound design, with dusty wind-blown plains, squawks of menacing hawks, the threatening rattle of snakes, and the echoing sounds of subterranean tunnels are produced so perfectly with the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio that you will be quickly impressed. Bravo!

The Extras: 3.5 out of 5

Disc 1: Commentary by Director, Co-Writer and Producer Gore Verbinski, Head of Story James Ward Byrkit, Production Designer Mark “Crash” McCreery, Animation Director Hal Hickel and Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Alexander Breaking the Rules: Making Animation History (48:52): Split into two chapters (The Stage is Set and Now We Ride), Verbinski and others talk of the beginnings of Rango (and the six-year wait from idea to creation for Verbinski) and we even see early artwork, story-break session, and other revealing origins. The second chapter delves into the creating process – working and pushing the legendary Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) – and is equally interesting. This is quite meaty an extra. Deleted Scenes (8:27): 10 deleted scenes, including a (very slightly) alternate ending, many of which will feel familiar (containing much of what made it into the final product) Real Creatures of Dirt: Animal experts talk about the real creatures from which the characters in Rango were born. Storyboard Reel Picture-in-Picture: Available on the theatrical cut only, you can watch the entire film with the corresponding storyboards in picture. A Field Trip to Dirt: An interesting special feature that allows viewers to take a virtual tour of Dirt, choosing which streets to go down and interacting with characters and answering trivia. Theatrical Trailer

Disc 2:

DVD and Digital Copy version of the film

Final Thoughts

Rango is a success on almost every front. Although not every comedic moment fully connects, the entertaining story, superb animation, impressive voice cast, and imagination on display throughout the very funny running time are well-worth adding to your collection. The disc includes both the theatrical and an extended which runs approximately 4 minutes longer. This family film is a delight for adults as much as for kids. Highly Recommended.

Overall 4.5 out of 5

Neil Middlemiss Kernersville, NC
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#2 of 38 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted July 11 2011 - 04:07 PM

Thanks Neil.  You mention family film.  What would you think for a pair of mature 5/6 year olds?  My wife was concerned with descriptions of some of the violence, but I've seen worse in Looney Tunes.



#3 of 38 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted July 11 2011 - 04:39 PM

I actually think a lot of this movie could go over the heads of young kids. It potentially could bore them. As for the violence, you are right. Most of it isn't really any worse than the average Looney Tune. What really sets this film apart from the average animated film is that the characters aren't necessarily sympathetic and none of them could ever be called cute and cuddly.
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#4 of 38 OFFLINE   JoHud

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Posted July 11 2011 - 05:21 PM

Well, there is also some rather crass humor, particularly at the mid-section, that some parents may find objection towards, such as a prostate joke and such. While I found it great in parts, particularly around the beginning and end, the midsection definitely sagged for me. Much of the humor was very hit and miss particularly around that part of the movie, where even the main character has little to do than spoof Western cliches. Thankfully things pick up near the climax and get more creative.

#5 of 38 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted July 11 2011 - 05:37 PM

this movie probably go over alot of kids. its across between fear and lothing in las vegas and cool world. its good but very weird. maybe when they are 10 or older.. or wait until they are 40. Jacob

#6 of 38 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 12 2011 - 03:06 AM

I take it this movie was originally shown in 3D?

Why has Paramount been so stingy with its 3D offerings

to general consumers?

I give kudos to them for doing some really great things

with catalog releases this year, but when it comes to
3D offerings, they are practically non-existent.

I would have hoped that all the studios would help

promote this new format by having plenty of 3D software

available to consumers.


 

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#7 of 38 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted July 12 2011 - 03:08 AM

Ron, many critics praised this film because it was not released in theaters in 3D. Although I seem to recall seeing a trailer for the film in 3D, but I could be wrong.



#8 of 38 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 12 2011 - 03:15 AM

If I am wrong that this was not a 3D release, then I apologize....


...though I still feel that Paramount is one of the studios not doing

enough to support the 3D format outside of exclusive deals, which is

never good for the consumer in general.



UPDATE:

Neil Middlemiss has informed my privately that this film never

got a 3D release, so my apologies on that front.


He also has indicated that Paramount is set to release the THOR

movie in 3D this fall.


So, perhaps Paramount is starting to move away from exclusives

and is starting to make new titles available to consumers.  

 

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#9 of 38 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted July 12 2011 - 03:51 AM

The THOR 3D blu-ray is set for release on 9/13 - here's the cover art (pretty nice). I also see that Transformers 3 is set for November 15th in 3D blu-ray...looks like I upgraded to the third dimension at the right time :)


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#10 of 38 OFFLINE   Eric Peterson

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Posted July 13 2011 - 12:59 AM

Any insight as to why this is being released on a Friday? I printed the coupon out yesterday without looking at it and went to Best Buy and had employees looking for it and everything before somebody told that it doesn't come out until Friday. I don't recall ever seeing that except on a holiday weekend. :confused:

#11 of 38 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 13 2011 - 01:30 AM

I'm guessing the advantage of being alone and therefore selling more that way. Plus the Friday is the day when the flyer sale begins so... I could be wrong.

#12 of 38 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 13 2011 - 02:05 AM

Any insight as to why this is being released on a Friday? I printed the coupon out yesterday without looking at it and went to Best Buy and had employees looking for it and everything before somebody told that it doesn't come out until Friday. I don't recall ever seeing that except on a holiday weekend. :confused:

I could be wrong but isn't a Friday release (holiday or not) how Paramount releases Dreamworks' animated movies? I'd guess they're just following that.

#13 of 38 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 13 2011 - 02:58 AM

We could both be wrong so lets give Paramount a call.. " Hi,My name is Ben,i'm calling on behalf of the good people over at the Hometheaterforum and we'd like to know how come Rango is coming out on a Friday instead of,you know the usual Tuesday,thanks..oh and by the way since you guys all know each other i was wondering if you could call Universal and ask them when they plan on releasing Streets of fire any time soon seeing how it came out rather quickly on HD-DVD.....you know the DEAD format. Hello ? hello ? I'll go out on a limb and say Travis is probably way more right than i am.

#14 of 38 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 13 2011 - 03:01 AM

But yes i'm buying Rango in a NY minute cause i remember the cinematography so well,i keep cleaning my appartment for sand and dust every week.

#15 of 38 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted July 13 2011 - 04:07 AM

I'll go out on a limb and say Travis is probably way more right than i am.

I think you're definitely right about them wanting to be the only release for that day. Plus, a Friday release gives them the entire weekend to sell the disc when the largest number of people are in stores.

#16 of 38 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

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Posted July 17 2011 - 11:46 AM

Well..., thank goodness for Redbox, since it allowed me to rent the Blu-Ray of this movie. This is a beautiful DVD; however, the movie didn't appeal to me at all. My 9 and 10 year old didn't like it that much either. One of those weird things for me as I thought the Blu-Ray video was reference.
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#17 of 38 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 17 2011 - 01:23 PM

Rango is one of those films that is a kind of dilemna. On one hand the visual quality can be appreciated by pretty much everyone.The filmmakers wanted to have a look that wasnt realistic in terms of characters,but still maintain a photographic feel to the image.That is why like How to train your dragon ,they hired Roger Deakins,the regular DP on most of the Coen bros.films. But the gags are for the most part aimed at adult,and unfortunaly the script is constructed in such a way,that while you're laughing at a gag,you're missing 3 others. The thespians gag is hilarious and one poor schlub doing his review didn't get the funny about the spinal cord gag.You see,this one you have to analyse the phrase Spoons says in its entirety. Combined with what the doctor adds right after and then you get the gag and laugh.Some gags do need a little more effort. And not that film references are always funny,but you sometimes have to have seen the films in order to get the jokes. If you haven't seen Chinatown,Apocalypse now and a whole bunch of westerns and i'm saying this indeed can happen,kids haven't seen everything yet and adults may not remember well, all this suggested,almost subliminal info becomes moot. Then you can only count on the story itself the themes and issues that are the main backbone of it. Rango is about someone who is thrown (pun intended) into a situation that forces him to look inward and having to decide if he will take action or remain a nobody. I am thinking of that famous Socrates quote."The unexamined life is not worth living." So although there is no way to explain to your kids about all the film references.You can still them about Socrates and his connection to Rango.

#18 of 38 OFFLINE   gomezfan69

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Posted July 17 2011 - 02:24 PM

I think you're definitely right about them wanting to be the only release for that day.

But "Arthur" was also released on Friday.

#19 of 38 OFFLINE   montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 17 2011 - 02:49 PM

Yeah maybe...but seriously... who remembers Arthur ? :D

#20 of 38 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted July 17 2011 - 02:49 PM

Adam - I missed this question. Although I don't have kids, I have to believe that a pair of mature 5/6 year olds would be more tuned in to what this film is about. I think its a terrific family film - just not the typical animated family film. I'm a huge fan of this one...

Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 

Thanks Neil.  You mention family film.  What would you think for a pair of mature 5/6 year olds?  My wife was concerned with descriptions of some of the violence, but I've seen worse in Looney Tunes.





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