Rango is a 2011 American computer-animated Western comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski from a screenplay by John Logan. Co-produced by Verbinski with Graham King and John B. Carls, the film stars the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, and Timothy Olyphant. The film's plot 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. Rango was produced by Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Verbinski's Blind Wink Productions, King's GK Films, and Industrial Light & Magic.
|Directed by||Gore Verbinski|
|Screenplay by||John Logan|
|Edited by||Craig Wood|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$245.7 million|
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. At the 84th Academy Awards, the film won Best Animated Feature, making it the first non-Disney or Pixar film to win since 2006's Happy Feet, and the last one to win until 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
A pet chameleon becomes stranded in the Mojave Desert after his terrarium falls from his owners' car due to an accident. On the highway, he meets the cause of the accident, a nine-banded armadillo named Roadkill who is seeking the mystical "Spirit of the West" by trying to get to "the other side" (metaphor for the afterlife). After telling him that he is looking for water, Roadkill tells him of "Dirt", an Old West town where it is said that water comes in through a mysterious rite on Wednesdays, but unfortunately, it is far out into the desert. Seeing no other options, he walks out into the desert. While wandering the desert, he narrowly avoids being eaten by a vicious red-tailed hawk before meeting Beans, a desert iguana, who takes him to Dirt.
Asked about his identity, the chameleon presents himself to the townsfolk as a tough drifter named Rango, lying about killing a feared gang known as the Jenkins Brothers using only one bullet. He quickly runs afoul of Gila monster outlaw Bad Bill but avoids a shootout when Bill is scared off by the hawk's return. Rango is then chased by the hawk until he reaches an empty water tower that Rango accidentally knocks down and causes it to crush the hawk to death. For defeating the hawk, the town's elderly desert tortoise mayor appoints Rango as the town's new sheriff. Meanwhile, the townsfolk worry that with the hawk dead, the infamous gunslinger Rattlesnake Jake (who fears predators such as said hawk) will return.
After discovering that Dirt is in the midst of a drought and its only water supply, which is stored in the town bank inside a water cooler bottle, to be nearly empty, a skeptical Beans demands that Rango investigates where the water has gone. That night, Rango inadvertently assists a trio of bank robbers led by a mole named Balthazar, mistaking them for prospectors. The townsfolk find the bank's bottle stolen the next morning, so Rango organizes a posse. During the search, they find the banker, Johannes Merrimack III, to be dead in the middle of the desert, but oddly enough, the cause of his death was from drowning. The posse tracks the robbers to their hideout in a canyon, where 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 still takes them into custody.
Rango questions the mayor about his buying of the land around Dirt, but he denies any wrongdoing and shows Rango that he is building a modern city with the purchased land. He later summons Rattlesnake Jake, who runs Rango out of town after forcing him to admit his lies to the townsfolk. A dejected Rango returns to the highway and crosses to the other side amidst the heavy traffic before passing out and being taken away by a multitude of pill bugs. Waking up the next morning, Rango meets the Spirit of the West, appearing as an elderly 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 discovers an emergency shut-off valve in a water pipeline to Las Vegas, Nevada, which the mayor has been manipulating to cause the water shortage so he could buy the land for himself. The rejuvenated Rango returns to Dirt to challenge Jake to a duel, a diversion so the yuccas can turn the pipeline's valve to bring the water back to town and allow Rango to make his resolve clear to Jake. However, the mayor forces Rango to surrender by threatening Beans' life before the duo are locked inside the bank's vault to be drowned. He then prepares to shoot Jake with Rango's gun, intending to kill him along with the rest of the Old West, but Rango has taken its only bullet, which he uses to shatter the vault's glass door, freeing himself and Beans. Impressed, Jake salutes Rango for proving his heroism before dragging the mayor out of town to murder him for his deception. The citizens of Dirt celebrate the return of their water supply and Rango is recognized as a true hero.
- Johnny Depp as Rango, an eccentric but intelligent and heroic chameleon. His actual name is unknown, but he calls himself Rango throughout the film. Johnny Depp also voiced Lars and Raoul Duke in a cameo appearance, reprising his role from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
- Isla Fisher as Beans, a hotheaded but good-hearted desert iguana and Rango's love interest.
- Abigail Breslin as Priscilla, a sweet but dark cactus mouse.
- Ned Beatty as Tortoise John, an elderly and calculating desert tortoise who is the mayor of Dirt.
- Alfred Molina as Roadkill, an elderly nine-banded armadillo.
- Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake, a deadly and Sadistic western diamondback rattlesnake gunslinger.
- Harry Dean Stanton as Balthazar Douglas Peterson, an elderly mole farmer.
- Ray Winstone as Bad Bill, a Gila monster outlaw who serves as the brutish enforcer of the mayor.
- Timothy Olyphant as the Spirit of the West.
- Stephen Root as Doc Kenny, a jackrabbit who is Dirt's local doctor, Johannes Merrimack III, a ground squirrel who is a banker at Dirt's local bank and Mr. Snuggles, a porcupine.
- Maile Flanagan as Lucky
- Alanna Ubach as Boo, Cletus, a raccoon; Fresca, and Miss Daisy
- Ian Abercrombie as Ambrose, a burrowing owl. This was Abercrombie's final film appearance before his death in 2012.
- Gil Birmingham as Theodore "Wounded Bird" Grank, a Native American crow who becomes Rango's deputy.
- James Ward Byrkit as Waffles, a horned lizard; Gordy, Papa Joad, and Cousin Murt
- Claudia Black as Angelique, a vixen and the mayor's secretary.
- Blake Clark as Buford, a Colorado River toad who is the bartender at Dirt's local saloon.
- John Cothran, Jr. as Elgin, a bobcat whose past is shrouded in mystery.
- Patrika Darbo as Delilah and Maybelle
- George DelHoyo as Señor Flan, the leader of a Mariachi band of owls and the narrator of the film.
- Charles Fleischer as Elbows
- Beth Grant as Bonnie
- Ryan Hurst as Jedidiah, Balthazar's son and Ezekiel's older brother.
- Vincent Kartheiser as Ezekiel, Balthazar's son and Jedediah's younger brother.
- Joseph Nunez as Rock-Eye, a desert rain frog who disguises himself as a rock, until he is snatched by the hawk.
- Hemky Madera as Chorizo, a shrew
- Chris Parson as Hazel Moats, Kinski, Stump, Clinker, Lenny, Boseefus, Dirt Kid
- Lew Temple as Furgus, a bald eagle and Hitch
- Gore Verbinski as Sergeant Turley, a wild turkey; Crevice, Slim, a vulture; and Lupe, a member of the Mariachi band of owls.
- Kym Whitley as Melonee, a frog
- Alex Manugian as Spoons, a mouse prospector.
The filming was described as "emotion capture" as the actors shot their scenes in live actions and animators used them as a reference. 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, time-consuming and expensive animated filmmaking is. Paramount stepped in at the last possible minute as Verbinski's slim financing was about to run out.
Unlike many studio animation projects produced since Avatar, Rango was shot in 2D, not 3D, as the budget would allow for it and Verbinski did not want to do a "half-assed 3D."
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 Mr. Timms, Rango’s 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. Even though the film dropped into second place behind Battle: Los Angeles the following week, it would go on to outgross the weaker opening of Disney's underperforming animated film Mars Needs Moms. 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 international 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 the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 88% of 222 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 75 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes 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." 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.
|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|
|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|
|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|
Non-original music includes “Finale”, composed by Danny Elfman for the 2007 film The Kingdom, as well as excerpts of Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” and Johann Strauss II’s “The Blue Danube”.
Original songs performed for the film include:
During a Reddit AMA with Verbinski in February 2017, he said that he did not plan on making a sequel to Rango, but he would like to be involved in animation again and to try and come up with an original idea.
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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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moviegoers gave the toon a C+ CinemaScore. Paramount insiders say the CinemaScore could reflect the fact that Rango is a notch more sophisticated than most toons, sparking debate among moviegoers.
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appears to be benefiting from positive word-of-mouth despite its puzzling “C+” CinemaScore rating.
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