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.