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On acting and animation in the movie Rango
March 24, 2011 12:31 PM   Subscribe

On ILM's first animated feature, Rango: Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Alexander gives details about creating the scenes, while Johnny Depp discusses the acting techniques used.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (37 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
According to my dad you won't enjoy this movie unless you've watched all the old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns first.
posted by jnrussell at 12:35 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Choice quote from first link:
“People talk about animation,” he (Director Gore Verbinski) said, “like it’s a genre. It’s a technique for telling a story. So, we kind of wanted to have time to kind of slow things down. We worked for a year and half just on the story reel: drawings—pencil and paper, a Macintosh, a microphone, a guitar. There were seven of us in this house—just working on the narrative, the character design, just—artwork, artwork, artwork and script.”
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I liked Rango (particularly how physically dirty it was, and general gross weirdness of the character design), although it felt a little like someone went through a perfectly good script and made sure there was a wacky out-of-character one-liner every five minutes.
posted by theodolite at 12:40 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


then I will enjoy this movie very much
posted by Redhush at 12:43 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to my dad you won't enjoy this movie unless you've watched all the old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns first.

Sold!

...And an excuse to make my 4 year old watch them all.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on March 24, 2011


I dunno, it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad, and I thought this looked more of the same to me. Same thing as that garden gnomes movie that's coming out.

Interesting that this is directed by the guy who came up with the "Bud-Wise-Er" frogs. I guess anthropomorphic amphibians is kind of a thing with him.
posted by delmoi at 12:51 PM on March 24, 2011


According to my dad you won't enjoy this movie unless you've watched all the old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns first.

Nah, you don't need to. I haven't and neither has my wife and we enjoyed the film immensely. There's enough of the western tropes in American culture, that you pick up a lot of the references.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on March 24, 2011


I dunno, it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad, and I thought this looked more of the same to me.

Not to be to cheerleadery but Rango is a more adult version of what Pixar does, and thus better in a lot of ways.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2011


That Johnny Depp clip makes me hope against hope that they release a B-Disc of all the actors doing their thing....seems like it would be tons of fun to watch that, and perhaps even better than the animation. Is that unique? I don't remember seeing something like it before.
posted by nevercalm at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


MeFi's own Astro Zombie reckons it's an acid western, in the vein of El Topo.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno, it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad, and I thought this looked more of the same to me. Same thing as that garden gnomes movie that's coming out.

Well, this one is a little more unhinged (in a good way) than Hop or Gnomeo and Juliet. Quoth Eileen Jones:

"[Rango's] tale is narrated in song by a mariachi band comprised of four owls, and they sing about his imminent, heroic death throughout. Rango keeps not-dying, and the band then sings about how he hasn’t died yet but he’s going to die soon, for sure. This goes on through the whole movie, which is neck-deep in death. Some of it’s kind of shocking."
posted by theodolite at 12:57 PM on March 24, 2011


If you haven't seen Clint Eastwood's old westerns, or the great spaghetti westerns, what are you waiting for? Those movies are awesome.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs! It's great. Netflix streaming.
posted by notmydesk at 1:09 PM on March 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I dragged myself out to see Rango in theaters after reading three reviews in half as many days raving about the visuals, and I was not disappointed. They're absolutely what made the movie for me— I could take or leave the plot and characterization, to be honest, but each dusty speck and dry scale was so deliciously disgusting; I loved it. The predictability was redeemed by its sheer bizarreness.

The best metaphor I could think of for Rango was 'a sepia rainbow where each molecule is a cupcake baked into the shape of a worm'. Super gross, but super delicious.
posted by iguessgabby at 1:12 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad

As mentioned in the 3D thread, for 2009 maybe, but defiantly not for 2010 and this year.
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on March 24, 2011


It's trippy all right. Now I want to go see it again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:14 PM on March 24, 2011


Yes, trippy and enjoyable with great character design and more adult themes than I expected.

My favorite is Priscilla the mouse who is cuter than Minnie while still being very, very rodenty.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:25 PM on March 24, 2011


I dunno, it seems like every non-pixar CG kids movie seems pretty bad

Dreamworks upped their game recently. Kung Fu Panda is an entirely acceptable bit of amusement, and How to Train Your Dragon was just superb - I honestly preferred it to Toy Story 3.
posted by mightygodking at 1:35 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Few movies stand out when you're in the it's-animated-so-we-must-see-it-with-the-kids phase of life - (almost) all of Pixar's, all of Michel Ocelot, Henry Selick and Hayao Miyazaki's, plus the odd American exception: Robots (principally for William Joyce's production design, though), How to Train Your Dragon (accomplished 3-D, plus likeable characters & script) and, perhaps more so than others, Rango. As we watched the credits roll, after enjoying ourselves to a rare degree, I couldn't help noticing some serious effort had gone into it (Roger Deakins as visual consultant and music by Hans Zimmer are the ones I remember offhand).
posted by progosk at 1:42 PM on March 24, 2011


Metafilter: a sepia rainbow where each molecule is a cupcake baked into the shape of a worm.
Also, I loved Rango. And honestly, I would say you don't need a knowledge of spaghetti westerns, but a basic understanding of the plot of Chinatown helps.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:52 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


(My only gripe with Rango was with the character (and design) of the female lead, Beans - might be that I'm not familiar with desert iguanas, she just seemed a little less great than all the - truly inspired - others.)
posted by progosk at 1:53 PM on March 24, 2011


I guess anthropomorphic amphibians is kind of a thing with him.

Hello? Rango is a lizard. Way different set of skills needed.
posted by chevyvan at 2:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wanted to hate Planet 51 on principle, but it was surprisingly funny and clever and I enjoyed it a lot.
posted by straight at 2:00 PM on March 24, 2011


Rango was quite good, I thought. My daughter (18) and I enjoyed it. Good character design, nice plotting, good voice work, Hunter S. Thompson and Dr. Gonzo cameo... what's not to like? Two thumbs up.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:07 PM on March 24, 2011


The predictability was redeemed by its sheer bizarreness.

Yep, that is the best one-sentence review you could write. The plot was trite in many places, but it was goofy and good natured and visually arresting that I loved it anyway.
posted by LarryC at 2:18 PM on March 24, 2011


I loved Rango and really thought that the ensemble voice acting technique added a lot to the final product.

My only complaint was that the music was SO shockingly awesome it almost distracted me from the movie.
posted by smartyboots at 2:22 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rango is probably the best looking CGI movie I've seen so far. The character design and the lighting are amazing and their overall approach was very inventive. I am a huge Pixar fan but the only thing they've done that's close to this are the external shots in Wall-e.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:07 PM on March 24, 2011


I guess anthropomorphic amphibians is kind of a thing with him.

Hello? Rango is a lizard. Way different set of skills needed.


"...keeping wildlife, an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know, within the city - that aint legal either."
posted by ovvl at 5:16 PM on March 24, 2011


MeFi's own Astro Zombie reckons it's an acid western, in the vein of El Topo.

sold. AV Club said something similar
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:31 PM on March 24, 2011


I liked Rango. Around my house, "soon, Compadre....soooon" has become a thing to say.

Meanwhile, in watching the trailers on YouTube I came across this.

Can't be good news.
posted by chavenet at 7:36 AM on March 25, 2011


Smurf that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:48 AM on March 25, 2011


I'm not a huge movie fan. I see maybe one movie a year. Not just in the theater, but also including DVD and TV. One movie per year, total. Mostly, I'd rather read a book. This year, the one movie was Rango. I wasn't disappointed. Rango is terrific, and I plan to see it again. There's so much going on, between the dialogue jokes, the music and the visuals, that I'm sure I missed at least a third of the good stuff.

Also, am I the only one who caught the Star Wars references?
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:25 AM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sure missed them, examples?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2011


Wow, a big fat thank you to everybody in this thread. We hadn't been planning to see this — I'm also in a one-movie-a-year-or-so phase, and the husband is in his own CGI-sucks-and-I-am-not-gonna-see-ANY-of-it phase — but based on this thread we caught the early matinee today and LOVED it.

And I caught at least one of the Star Wars references. There was so much in there that I know I missed a lot, though. Clearly going to have to see it again.
posted by Lexica at 4:36 PM on March 25, 2011


wacky out-of-character one-liner

This. Some minor character saying "AWK-WARD!" is the rapping granny of this decade.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:38 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you guys for talking this movie up so much. I wouldn't have gone but because of your enthusiasm we just went for a rare in-theater viewing. It's Friday night and we were literally the only ones in our theater. It was *great*, thank you.

(Star Wars ref's I caught were mainly in the binoculars-->confront robbers -->bat chase sequence.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 PM on April 1, 2011


I saw it this weekend and enjoyed the hell out of it. It looks great, and at the very least, it answers why "This is bat country" is a worthwhile fear.

Also, I now really want a giant wind-up goldfish.
posted by quin at 8:28 AM on April 4, 2011


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