♣♣♣♣    out of    ♣♣♣♣♣

Let’s talk 3-D for a minute. Right now 3-D is everywhere. Walk into a Best Buy, what’s the “hype” all about (besides iPad2)? You guessed it… 3-D. I picked up a new game for the PS3 yesterday, and what do you know? It’s 3-D ready (if you have thousands of dollars for a 3-DTV). I haven’t seen this big a push since HDTV… but 3-D is no HD. We all literally JUST upgraded to flatscreens! We just managed to get our wives/girlfriends’ eyes adjusted to high def so that they recoil in horror at the sight of standard definition! Now TV companies are just being GREEDY. I remember seeing 1080p for the first time and it took me back to the 4th grade when I got my first pair of glasses… Thinking how “this is how we’re supposed to see things on TV.” There is no benefit to 3-D like with High Def… When I ponied up the cash to go see Avatar 3-D, I will admit that I was totally impressed. Avatar’s 3-D is amazing, hands down. Being filmed in 3-D with the new technology made it one of the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, but sadly, no one has recaptured that (until Avatar 2 I’m sure). The past year and half has brought us more 3-D movies than I ever remember from the last time they tried to sell it too us… and all of them have been sub-standard, dark, and make your head hurt.

Rango on the other hand, is presented in beautiful and glorious 2-D. The animation is of the caliber when you can’t tell if it’s stop-motion puppets or CGI. There are moments in Rango where I honestly thought I was looking at a real desert, a real town, the movie’s computer generated world is on par with anything coming out of Pixar… a feat not easy to accomplish. It tells the story of a lonely chameleon named Rango, who’s world is literally shattered one day on the side of a desert highway. He ends up in the small western town of Dirt, and unwittingly becomes the new sheriff.

“Voiced” by Johnny Depp, Rango is a blend of Depps. Take one part Captain Jack Sparrow,  one part Raoul Duke, mix them together with a healthy dose of Mad Hatter and you’ve got one funny little spazoid-chameleon. His mannerisms and dialog alone were enough to have me giggling, but the hairy situations Rango finds himself in were laugh-out-loud funny. We took our 10 year old daughter and our 4 year old son, my daughter was glued to the screen– my 4 year old started to fidget halfway through and had to be talked through it a little… but he loved it in the end. The plot is simple, remember Blazing Saddles? Yeah, except instead of a railroad, it’s water. The town of Dirt has none, and it’s up to the new sheriff to help solve the mystery of the disappearing h2o.

Other actors like Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Ned Beatty, Ray Winstone and Timothy Olyphant all lend hands to make this homage to the classic western. While it is mainly aimed at a 5-15 age group, parents will love the old movie references, innuendos, Blazing Saddles jokes, and even a cameo by the two convertible-driving madmen from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (bats included).  The movie certainly pushes the boundaries of PG, with all of the animals in the “old west” touting guns, drinking, and spitting… a lot… but it never takes it’s eye off the kid-friendly prize. Some parents might feel it a tad inappropriate when Rango asks his headless Barbie friend if “they are real?” I heard my 10 year old daughter laugh, but I wonder at what…?

All in all Rango sits comfortably at 8.5 on a scale of 1 (All Dogs Go to Heaven 2) to 10 (Wall-E). If your kids are yanking at your shirt to go see it, do yourself a favor and take them. Rango is rated PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking.

RANGO – ‎1hr 47min‎ – ‎Rated PG‎ – ‎Animation/Action/Adventure‎
Regal Valley River Center Stadium 15 – 500 Valley River Center, Eugene, OR
11:35am 12:05 2:00 2:30 4:35 5:05 7:10 7:40 9:50 10:20pm
Cinemark 17 – Springfield OR – 2900 Gateway Street, Springfield, OR – Map
11:25am 12:45 2:05 3:25 4:45 6:05 7:25 8:45 10:05pm