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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
Chuck Jones: "Don't give me something realistic — give me something believable!" 
26th-Mar-2011 07:16 pm
crosseyed vulture
I really haven't been in a moviegoing frame of mind for a while now. The last movie I saw was Inception, a year ago, and before that it had been two, two and a half years. I don't even remember what movie it was. All the movies I've seen advertised have been so clearly (IMO) coming from a place of financial calculations, not any kind of artistic motivation, that they just leave me cold. For illustration, please see any comic-book-to-big-screen adaptation released recently; also any foreign-film-dumbed-down-for-American-audiences adaptation, any TV-series-on-the-big-screen, any take-a-beloved-series-and-reboot-the-universe-for-a-younger-audience... I'm also feeling my Luddite tendencies arise around the whole 3D thing, and I have an aversion to most CGI, which feels highly plastic and polished and as though every last scintilla of originality or individuality has been worn off by the sheer number of iterations and executives any character or plot element has to pass through (and that's before you even get to the uncanny valley problem) — the more sophisticated the computer animation gets, the more I find myself wanting something like Simon's Cat or Plymptoons or it's cooler because you can see the wires kinds of things.

So the only exposure I'd had to Rango was seeing the poster outside the Grand Lake Theater. "Ugh," I thought, "I don't care if it's got Johnny Depp, I so don't want to see a computer-animated movie..."

And then Thursday evening I stumbled across a MetaFilter thread about the making of, which included this minute-and-a-half behind-the-scenes clip:

Wow. Oh. Okay, so that's how you're doing it? Huh.

On the strength of that clip, the following morning, which was a holiday for me (César Chávez Day — ¡viva la huelga!), Pirate and headed out into the drizzle and went to the early matinee at the Grand Lake Theater.

We LOVED it. I have not laughed that hard in a long, long time. Homage upon homage, trope upon trope — I spotted a bunch, but I know I missed some and am looking forward to seeing it again.

Something that stood out to both of us about the animation: it's gorgeous. Something else that stood out: it's filthy and grubby and gross. It could not be more perfect.

There were a couple of shots that I think were the animators showing off just a leetle bit. The campfire, particularly with the sparks rising up into the stars? The flooding water? The falling sand? Okay, I raise my glass to you all — you have nailed the animation on these things that I as a monkey know on a pre-verbal, sub-conscious level and had me actually wondering if it was real footage composited in or pure CGI. (Which, apparently, was what Verbinski was going for.)

When the worst criticism I can come up with is agreeing with the MetaFilter commenter who said, "My only complaint was that the music was SO shockingly awesome it almost distracted me from the movie"... well then.

If you want a good laugh without having your intelligence insulted at all, go see Rango. And if you're in Oakland, go see it at the Grand Lake — it's currently in theater 3, the Egyptian-themed one with the balcony. We had front-row center balcony seats. It was like having the theater to ourselves.

Stay for the end credits. Seriously. Do not leave before the credits.

My mom used to say "You can tell from watching a production whether the people who made it liked each other." She also used to say "You can't do a funny show if you don't have funny people." I think the Rango team scored on both those points.

And I would pay CASH MONEY for a full-length, shot-by-shot behind-the-scenes version of the movie, like the taste we got in the clip embedded above.
27th-Mar-2011 06:23 am (UTC)
I'm also feeling my Luddite tendencies arise around the whole 3D thing


Stay for the end credits. Seriously. Do not leave before the credits.

I never (edit for clarity) leave early. Even if their names only vaguely flit across my mind, they are witnessed for some moment of time. (and on a cynical practical level, you don't have to deal with the crowds when getting out, but that is not why I do it)

It has been over five years since I have graced the inside of a theatre, even one as awesome as the Grand Lake. I'll.. think about it.

Edited at 2011-03-27 06:24 am (UTC)
27th-Mar-2011 08:00 am (UTC)
My daughter is staying with me this weekend, we are going to the pics today, it's a toss-up between this and The Eagle of the Ninth at the moment. You are right, that's a really good way of creating it.
27th-Mar-2011 08:00 pm (UTC) - saw it in the main theater
bought popcorn, too, because they need the money.
you are right in every particular. also: such a pleasure not to be insulted.
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