As mentioned in a previous blog, I love really well done animation.  As the techniques to produce this genre have improved, it has begun to garner a larger and larger adult audience - people like myself who want to comedic entertainment and a great belly laugh.  Animation has now reached such a strong technical level that it can walk away from comedy and tackle more serious subjects.  The most recent example was the smash hit Avatar.

Rango was just released on DVD and I am fortunate to have a large screen and good sound system - a must for viewing top animation movies at home.  2 of my 3 adult kids and my husband were all front row and centre to watch it with me and we were not disappointed.  The chameleon - Johnny Depp provided the voice - was a great role.  An unlikely hero, he is a house pet going through an identity crisis who is thrown unexpectedly into the desert town of Dirt where he meets a slew of strange characters. He pretends to be a great gunslinger - Rango -  and ad-libs a story to fit the role, but it's only a role.  It's a standard plot in that he has everyone fooled, then is unmasked and walks away only to courageously return and save the day.

What makes this all work is a combination of factors.  First is the absolutely phenomenal animation.  Several times a character looks right into the camera - yeah, you really think they do it - and you can see every detail of their skin, the textures of their clothing, individual strands of hair, etc.  There is an amazing layer of comedy throughout as well.  The timing of the one-liners and the pacing of the slap stick is bang on.  The movie also does a great job of creating interesting and unique characters that draw you into liking, hating or laughing.  While there were many I liked, 3 in particular that stood out for me were:  Beans - the love interest that catches Rango's eye who unexpectedly blanks out as a defense mechanism; Priscilla - the small child who is tough as nails; and Rattlesnake Jake - a truly frightening evil gunslinger.

Some hilarious anomalies are in the movie, but for whatever reason you don't care.  They just make you laugh.  One was the road runners.  When Rango leads a posse, they obviously are too small to ride horses, so road runners take them charging through the dessert.  Once they go underground to follow a lead and after climbing back up to the surface, they take off on their road runners again.  The only problem?  The birds weren't underground with them.

Another one that cracked my family up was the flying bats.  There is a huge family of moles that chase the posse aerially by riding on bats.  From on high they drop bombs, shoot at them, etc.  When the posse shoots back and the bats lose control, they crash and of course explode on impact just like an airplane.  As crazy as it sounds, this brought a serious round of laughter. No one cared that bats don't explode into fiery balls on impact.  Sorry, but I couldn't find a single frame showing the exploding bats - just this one with the moles flying them.

All-in-all a truly fun night.  We laughed, were astounded by the great animation and just generally enjoyed an evening together. And that's the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!