So far 2011 hasn't been a great year for movies especially if it's filled with sequels, remakes that has no tint of originality. But Rango is what Hollywood has to offer and is the best so far.
Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) is a lizard who used to live in a fish tank all by himself with a toy fish. Now he's wondering around in Mojave Desert with some guidance of a philosophical armadillo while being chased by a eagle. He then finds a lizard named Beans (Isla Fisher in a rather-phony Western accent) who brings him (actually Rango brought himself) to Dirt, a town which is currently stricken in drought. There once he meets up with the residents, he decided to make both literally and metaphorically a name for himself by fooling them into thinking he's a one-bullet-shooting cowboy.
Gore Verbinski of Pirates Of the Carribean fame is one of the few directors to have directed an animated piece when their resume use to state of directing live-action. Directors like Wes Anderson in Fantastic Mr. Fox and Richard Linklater for Walking Life and A Scanner Darkly. This is a movie that is unintendedly intended for movie lovers since Verbinski brings in many references, obviously Western, but film noir and surrealist art that you can easily spot. There are references to Clint Eastwood, Deadwood, Apocalypse Now and also The Three Amigos with the singing owls.
The setting, story and the character design that has to do with the animation is gritty. The voice casting is excellent especially Johnny Depp who does well as the timid Rango who has a sort of an identity crisis. There's also Ned Beatty who's voice is notable for playing Lotso from Toy Story 3 is brilliant as the Mayor who brings a homage to John Huston from the neo-noir Chinatown.
Even if it managed to be so surrealistic and connects moviegoers with their film knowledge, Rango does have some scenes in the middle that lacks any excitement or movement.
This is an idea Pixar or Dreamworks would've grabbed. No. It belongs to Paramount. But Rango should get brownie points for standing out from recent animations not to be in 3D. It ain't the best Hollywood could bring for the woeful year, but Rango is a fun movie to enjoy.