Rango (2011 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Produced by||Gore Verbinski|
John B. Carls
|Screenplay by||John Logan|
|Story by||John Logan|
James Ward Byrkit
Harry Dean Stanton
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Edited by||Craig Wood|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$245.7 million|
Rango is a 2011 American computer-animated western comedy film co-produced (with Graham King and John B. Carls) and directed by Gore Verbinski as his first animated film from a screenplay by John Logan. Starring the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Root and Ned Beatty, the film centers on Rango, a chameleon who accidentally ends up in the town of Dirt, an outpost that is in desperate need of a new sheriff. The film was produced by Nickelodeon Movies, Verbinski's Blind Wink Productions, King's GK Films and Industrial Light & Magic as its first animated film.
Rango premiered at Westwood on February 14, 2011, and was released in the United States on March 4, 2011 by Paramount Pictures. The film was both a major critical and commercial success, grossing $245.7 million against a budget of $135 million. The film won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, making it the first non-Disney or Pixar film to win that award since 2006's Happy Feet, and it was the last one to win until 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
A pet anthropomorphic chameleon (Johnny Depp) becomes stranded in the Mojave Desert of Nevada after his terrarium falls from his owners' car by accident. He meets an armadillo named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) who is seeking the mystical "Spirit of the West". While wandering the desert, he narrowly avoids being eaten by a vicious red-tailed hawk before meeting the desert iguana Beans (Isla Fisher). Beans takes him to Dirt, an Old West town populated by anthropomorphic animals.
The chameleon presents himself to the townsfolk as a tough drifter named Rango. He quickly runs afoul of outlaw Gila monster Bad Bill (Ray Winstone) but avoids a shootout when Bill is scared off by the hawk's return. Rango is chased by the hawk until he accidentally knocks down an empty water tower which crushes the predator. The town mayor (Ned Beatty), an elderly tortoise, appoints Rango as the new sheriff. Meanwhile, the townsfolk worry that with the hawk dead the gunslinger Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), who is afraid of hawks, will return.
After discovering Dirt's water reserves—stored in the town bank inside a water cooler bottle—to be near empty, a skeptical Beans demands Rango investigate where the water has gone. That night, Rango inadvertently assists a trio of bank robbers, led by a mole named Balthazar (Harry Dean Stanton), mistaking them for prospectors. The townsfolk find their water bottle stolen the next morning, so Rango organizes a posse. During the search, they find the banker, Mr Merrimack (Stephen Root) in the middle of the desert dead, but oddly the cause of his death was drowning. The posse tracks the robbers to their hideout. They fight Balthazar's bat-riding clan over the stolen water bottle before discovering it to be empty. The robbers profess that they found it empty, but the posse brings them to town to put them in jail while the citizens want to lynch them.
Rango confronts the mayor about his buying of the land around Dirt, but the mayor denies any wrongdoing and shows Rango that he is building a modern city with the purchased land. The mayor then summons Rattlesnake Jake, who forces Rango to admit that he lied to the townsfolk and runs him out of town. Rango returns to the road where he fell from the car, crosses to the other side amidst the heavy traffic, and passes out.
Rango wakes and meets the Spirit of the West (Timothy Olyphant), whom Rango identifies as the Man with No Name. After telling him what he did to the citizens of Dirt, the Spirit tells Rango that he must go back and set things right, telling him that "No man can walk out on his own story."
With the aid of Roadkill and mystical moving yuccas, Rango learns that Dirt's water supply is controlled by an emergency shut-off valve in a water pipeline to Las Vegas, which the mayor has been manipulating to cause a water shortage so he could buy the land. Rango returns to Dirt to challenge Jake to a duel, a diversion so the yuccas can turn the pipeline's valve to flood the town. Rango then holds Jake at gunpoint and makes clear his resolve. The mayor, however, forces Rango to surrender by threatening Beans' life and locks them inside the glass bank vault to drown. He then tries to shoot Jake with Rango's gun, intending to kill Jake along with the rest of the Old West, but the gun is empty. Rango has taken the bullet, which he uses to crack the glass and shatter the vault, freeing himself and Beans. Impressed, Jake salutes Rango and drags the mayor into the desert. The citizens of Dirt celebrate the return of the water and recognize Rango as their hero.
- Johnny Depp as Rango, an eccentric but intelligent and heroic chameleon. His actual name is unknown, but he calls himself Rango throughout the movie.
- Isla Fisher as Beans, a hot-tempered but good-hearted desert iguana
- Abigail Breslin as Priscilla, a sweet cactus mouse
- Ned Beatty as Tortoise John, a calculating desert tortoise, who is the Mayor of Dirt
- Alfred Molina as Roadkill, a nine-banded armadillo
- Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake, an evil and dangerous Western diamondback rattlesnake
- Harry Dean Stanton as Balthazar, a mole
- Ray Winstone as Bad Bill, a Gila monster
- Timothy Olyphant as the Spirit of the West or the Man with No Name
- Stephen Root as Doc, a rabbit; Mr. Merrimack, a ground squirrel
- Maile Flanagan as Lucky
- Alanna Ubach as Boo Cletus, a raccoon; Fresca; Miss Daisy
- Ian Abercrombie as Ambrose, a burrowing owl
- Gil Birmingham as Wounded Bird, a Chihuahuan raven
- James Ward Byrkit as Waffles, a horned toad; Gordy; Papa Joad; Cousin Murt
- Claudia Black as Angélique, a fox
- Blake Clark as Buford, a Sonoran desert toad and a Gas Can Saloon bartender
- John Cothran, Jr. as Elgin
- Patrika Darbo as Delilah; Maybelle
- George DelHoyo as Señor Flan, the accordion player and narrator of the Mariachi Owls
- Charles Fleischer as Elbows
- Beth Grant as Bonnie
- Ryan Hurst as Jedidiah, Balthazar's son, Ezekiel's brother
- Vincent Kartheiser as Ezekiel, Balthazar's son, Jedediah's brother; Lasso rodent
- Joseph Nunez as Rock-Eye, a toad who disguises himself as a rock, until he is snatched by the hawk
- Chris Parson as Hazel Moats, Kinski, Stump, Clinker, Lenny, Boseefus, Dirt Kid
- Lew Temple as Furgus; Hitch
- Gore Verbinski as Sergeant Turley, a wild turkey; Crevice; Slim, a turkey vulture; Lupe, the violin player
- Kym Whitley as Melonee
- Alex Manugian as Spoons, a mouse prospector
During production, the actors and actresses received costumes and sets in order to "give them the feel of the Wild West"; star Johnny Depp had 20 days in which to voice Rango; and the filmmakers scheduled the supporting actors to interact with him. Verbinski said his attempt with Rango was to do a "small" film after the first three large-scale Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but that he underestimated how painstaking and time-consuming animated filmmaking is.
The film contains a number of references to movie Westerns and other films, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, Chinatown, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, Cat Ballou, Raising Arizona and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; as well as references to earlier ILM work including the dogfight in the Death Star trench in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Verbinski has also cited El Topo as an influence on the film.
In a discussion about the nature of contemporary animated features, Verbinski said in December 2011,
There are shackles with the budgets and the profit margins. You want to compete with what they're doing at Pixar and DreamWorks. There's a price tag with that just in terms of achieving that quality level. What happened to the Ralph Bakshis of the world? We're all sitting here talking about family entertainment. Does animation have to be family entertainment? I think at that cost, yes. There's the bull's-eye you have to hit, but when you miss it by a little bit and you do something interesting, the bull's-eye is going to move. Audiences want something new; they just can't articulate what.
Rango's teaser trailer was released on June 9, 2010, alongside the film's official site RangoMovie.com. It depicted an open desert highway and an orange, wind-up plastic fish floating slowly across the road. On June 28, 2010, the first poster was released showing the main character Rango. A two-minute film trailer was released June 29, 2010. Another trailer was released December 14, 2010. A 30-second spot was made specifically to run during Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011.
The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 15, 2011. The release had been produced as a two-disc Blu-ray, DVD, and "Digital Copy" combo pack with both the theatrical and an extended version of the film, cast and crew commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes.
The extended version adds a final scene in which the flooded town is now a beach resort renamed Mud and Rango rides out to deal with news that Bad Bill is causing trouble elsewhere.
In North America, Rango debuted in 3,917 theaters, grossing $9,608,091 on its first day and $38,079,323 during its opening weekend, ranking number one at the box office. On March 26, 2011, it became the first film of 2011 to cross the $100 million mark in North America.
In markets outside North America, during its first weekend, it earned $16,770,243 in 33 countries. It topped the overseas box office two times in March 2011. Although the film did not double its budget, it was declared a success by Paramount which subsequently announced the formation of its own animation department.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 88% approval rating based on 219 reviews, with an average rating of 7.62/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 75 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
Richard Corliss of Time applauded the "savvy humor" and called the voice actors "flat-out flawless." He later named it one of the 10 best movies of 2011, saying, "In a strong year for animation ... Rango was the coolest, funniest and dagnab-orneriest of the bunch." Bob Mondello of National Public Radio observed that "Rango's not just a kiddie-flick (though it has enough silly slapstick to qualify as a pretty good one). It's a real movie lover's movie, conceived as a Blazing Saddles-like comic commentary on genre that's as back-lot savvy as it is light in the saddle." Frank Lovece of Film Journal International, noting the nervous but improvising hero's resemblance to the Don Knotts character in The Shakiest Gun in the West, echoed this, saying that "with healthy doses of Carlos Castaneda, Sergio Leone, Chuck Jones and Chinatown ... this [is] the kid-movie equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino picture. There's no gory violence or swearing, of course, but there sure is a film buff's parade of great movie moments." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars calling the film "some kind of a miracle: An animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical ... The movie respects the tradition of painstakingly drawn animated classics, and does interesting things with space and perspective with its wild action sequences."
After praising "the brilliance of its visuals," Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote, "The narrative isn't really dramatic, ... [but] more like a succession of picturesque notions that might have flowed from DreamWorks or Pixar while their story departments were out to lunch."
In one of the more negative reviews, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune acknowledged its "considerable care and craft" but called it "completely soulless" and that watching it "with a big suburban preview audience was instructive. Not much laughter. Moans and sobs of pre-teen fright whenever Rattlesnake Jake slithered into view, threatening murder."
The Sacramento, California-based anti-smoking organization Breathe California regards the film a "public health hazard"; it said there were at least 60 instances of smoking in the film. Because of this, some anti-smoking organizations, including Breathe California, petitioned for the film to receive an R rating instead of the original PG rating received by the Motion Picture Association of America. However, no change was made to the smoking scenes and the film maintained its PG rating.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result|
|Academy Awards||Best Animated Film||Gore Verbinski||Won|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Animated Film||Won|
|Best Animated Female||Isla Fisher||Won|
|American Cinema Editors||Best Edited Animated Feature Film||Craig Wood||Won|
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Animated Effects in an Animated Production||Chase Cooper||Nominated|
|Animated Effects in an Animated Production||Willi Geiger||Nominated|
|Character Design in a Feature Production||Mark "Crash" McCreery||Won|
|Directing in a Feature Production||Gore Verbinski||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in a Feature Production||Delia Gosman||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in a Feature Production||Josh Hayes||Nominated|
|Writing in a Feature Production||John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Ward Byrkit||Won|
|Editing in a Feature Production||Craig Wood||Won|
|BAFTA||Best Animated Film||Gore Verbinski||Won|
|Boston Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Animated Film||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Animated Feature||Gore Verbinski||Won|
|Golden Globes Awards||Best Animated Feature Film||Nominated|
|Hollywood Film Festival||Best Animated||Won|
|IGN Best of 2011||Best Animated Movie||Won|
|International Film Music Critics Association||Best Original Score for an Animated Feature||Hans Zimmer||Nominated|
|Kids Choice Awards||Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie||Johnny Depp||Nominated|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated Film||Won|
|Motion Picture Sound Editors||Best Sound Editing in an Animation Feature Film||Nominated|
|National Board of Review Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Animated Voice||Johnny Depp||Won|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Best Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures||John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski||Nominated|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Animated Film||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Animated Voice||Johnny Depp||Won|
|Toronto Film Critics Association Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch||Won|
|Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton||Won|
|Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||John Bell, Polly Ing, Martin Murphy, Russell Paul||Won|
|Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Colin Benoit, Philippe Rebours, Nelson Sepulveda, Nick Walker||Won|
|Rango: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Film score by|
|Released||March 11, 2011|
|Hans Zimmer film scores chronology|
|1.||"Welcome Amigo"||Rick Garcia||1:06|
|2.||"Rango Suite"||Hans Zimmer||5:57|
|3.||"Certain Demise"||Hans Zimmer||0:24|
|4.||"Medley - It's A Metaphore / Forkboy"||Hans Zimmer / Lard||0:43|
|5.||"Welcome to Dirt"||Hans Zimmer||0:58|
|6.||"Name's Rango"||Hans Zimmer||1:31|
|7.||"Lizard for Lunch"||Jose Hernandez, Anthony Zuniga, Robert Lopez||1:26|
|8.||"Stuck in Guacamole"||Hans Zimmer||0:21|
|10.||"We Ride, Really!"||Hans Zimmer||0:50|
|11.||"Rango and Beans"||Hans Zimmer||1:04|
|12.||"Medley - Bats / Rango Theme / Ride of the Valkyries / An Der Schönen Blauen Donau, OP. 314"||Hans Zimmer / Hans Zimmer / FirstCom Music / Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan||4:28|
|13.||"The Bank's Been Robbed"||Rick Garcia||0:22|
|14.||"Rango Returns"||Hans Zimmer||1:16|
|15.||"La Muerte a Llegado"||Rick Garcia & George DelHoyo||0:44|
|16.||"It's a Miracle"||Hans Zimmer||1:57|
|17.||"El Canelo"||Los Lobos||0:44|
|18.||"The Sunset Shot"||Hans Zimmer||0:53|
|19.||"Walk Don't Rango"||Los Lobos||2:47|
|20.||"Rango Theme Song"||Los Lobos||3:29|
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My character in Rango is Priscilla. She is a cactus mouse and the technically [sic] term is an Aye-aye ...
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