Gore Verbinski’s first animated feature Rango rides into 3,917 North American movie theaters today, and Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures hope that the green chameleon will jumpstart the sluggish 2011 box office. Since Rango was filmed “in glorious 2D,” as Roger Ebert says in his review, its family-friendly ticket prices will lack the extra boost that 3D tickets bring to opening weekends. But Rango does have an impressive voice cast, led by Johnny Depp as the wannabe Western hero, and featuring Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, and Bill Nighy. Rango also has the most impressive set of rave reviews of any movie this year. For example:
“It is only the first week of March and we are still getting over last year’s award season. But with the release of Gore Verbinski’s Rango, the race for 2011’s Best Animated Feature may have just begun. And may have just ended.” — Erik Childress, eFilmCritic
“In a world choked with animated films — the good, the bad and the ugly — it’s hard to be either original or great. Yet director Gore Verbinski has done both — and without 3-D.” — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
“The dusty cards of the Old West are reshuffled into a winning hand in Rango, a madly clever animated sagebrush saga with style and wit to burn.” — Todd McCarthy, the Hollywood Reporter
“Rango has all the marks of a classic animated film in that you completely forget you’re watching animated talking animals, but anyone disappointed by True Grit will get everything out of this they might hope from a Coen brothers Western.” — Edward Douglas, ComingSoon
“A movie made by outlaw insiders, Rango is the rarest of studio releases: one that stubbornly resists limits. Which is not to say you need cult tastes to enjoy its irreverence. In a vocal performance of extraordinary range, Depp offers something for everyone [. . .]. [E]ach shot is a visual marvel. Really, the animation is so gorgeously rendered, it puts every 3-D effort in recent memory to shame.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
“Rango is some kind of a miracle: An animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical, and (gasp!) filmed in glorious 2-D. Its brilliant colors and startling characters spring from the screen and remind us how very, very tired we are of simpleminded little characters bouncing around dimly in 3-D.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Congratulations to Gore Verbinski and his exceptionally talented cast and crew! The Zone thanks Emma, FANtasticJD, DianaJ, Shadowydog, and In-too-Depp for sharing reviews; you can read a wonderful collection, as well as in-person reactions from Zoners who have seen Rango, on the Porch General Discussion forum.