Western redefined in ‘Rango’
Westerns typically conjure images of actors like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne–not so much an animated chameleon. While Eastwood and Wayne shaped the classic image of the American cowboy, on March 4 that image may change in the minds of some with the release of “Rango.”
Nickelodeon Studios’ latest release depicts the carefree lifestyle of the title character, a chameleon that has lived his entire life in a terrarium.
That all changes after an accident leaves him stranded in the desert town of Dirt. For the first time in his life, Rango will go out into the real animal kingdom where he must face harsh terrain, cunning predators and fierce bandits like those of the Old West.
As an animated feature, “Rango” has a large appeal for all audiences the cast list has brought together many notable actors. The most obvious of these cast selections is Johnny Depp in his portrayal of the title character. Most know Johnny Depp for his roles as Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and, of course, Captain Jack Sparrow. If he puts the same passion and charisma into this character as he has done with so many others, then this chameleon will certainly be one to remember.
Another well-known actor brought along for this wild ride is Bill Nighy. Most would recognize him for playing the role of Davy Jones in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
Other notable cast members of this film include Alfred Molina, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher and Timothy Olyphant.
One of the most challenging aspects of creating an animated feature is capturing the authenticity normally reserved for live-action movies. In most cases, each actor is placed within a recording studio where they just read their lines as best they can.
“Rango” has taken a newer approach in that not only did all of the actors read lines together, but they were also given costumes and actual stage sets to interact with.
This approach was most recently used in voicing the creatures in Spike Jonze’s 2009 release, “Where the Wild Things Are.”
“Rango” Director Gore Verbinski, most known for his work on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, has adopted this technique to create a set of dialogue both authentic in its execution and consistent with the animation. If the effort put into this picture shows any sign of its quality, then audiences everywhere will not be disappointed.
“Rango” will premiere in theaters across the country this Friday. This mash up of Old West meets animal kingdom will have viewers everywhere talking in the weeks to come.
Christopher Spall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.