Features and Columns · Movies

Animating Ugly: The Wonderful Weirdness of ‘Rango’

Here’s a video essay celebrating the bizarre imagination of ‘Rango’.
Rango Close Up
By  · Published on June 26th, 2020

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Rango is something of a paradox. On the one hand, Gore Verbinski‘s animated tale of a reluctant everyman who saves a rough-and-tumble town is a tried-and-true, straight-shooting Western. There are plenty of contemporary films that eek their way to a “kind of a cowboy movie” status, but Rango is right at home with the likes of Rio BravoStagecoach, and High Noon.

And yet, for all of its familiarity as a genuine genre piece, the fact of the matter is that there is no animated film quite like Rango. Especially when you look at its cutesy talking-animal peers. Rango is intentionally ugly, a-symmetrical, and rough around the edges. Its townfolk have scares, quirks, and personality to spare. The action sequences are banana pants creative, with no corners cut to keep the stakes high (remember that part when a toad loads and fires a shotgun in one twirl? Jesus!). Which is to say nothing of Hans Zimmer‘s drunken, impressionistic score or the frightening scale of Roger Deakins‘ cinematography.

The result is something you don’t see a lot of these days: a studio taking a big ($135 million) risk in an effort to tell a good story. Rango may not be “palatable,” but its commitment to being its own incredibly bizarre self is what makes it special.

You can watch “Rango – A Bizare Masterpiece ” here:

Who made this?

This video was created by Josh Keefe. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).