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-au
diences adaptation, any TV-series-on-the-big-screen, any take-a-beloved-series-and-reboot-the-uni
verse-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 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
. 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.