The story follows the comical, transformative journey of Rango, a sheltered chameleon living as an ordinary family pet, while facing a major identity crisis. After all, how high can you aim when your whole purpose in life is to blend in? When Rango accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt - a lawless outpost populated by the desert's most wily and whimsical creatures - the less-than-courageous lizard suddenly finds he stands out. Welcomed as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt... until, in a blaze of action-packed situations and encounters with outrageous characters, Rango starts to become the hero he once only pretended to be.
CG animation has always looked breathtaking on Blu-ray and in high definition in general. Titles from Pixar and Dreamworks Animation in particular have been the benchmark for video quality. Now the infamous Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) steps foot into the CG animation arena with their first outing, Rango. ILM is one of the premiere special effects houses producing the groundbreaking effects for nearly every big budget Hollywood film since Star Wars including titles like Jurassic Park, Titanic, The Star Wars Trilogy and the Harry Potter films. This being their first outing with a 100% animated film, I was anxious to see the results. In a word, SPECTACULAR! Rango’s animation is nothing short of staggering with photo realistic characters and incredible locales. But what ILM gets right so well is the fine details such as heat waves, lighting, and all the little things that would be so easy to overlook. The Blu-ray transfer here is flawless and delivers the groundbreaking animation in spades. I saw this film twice in theaters; once in film and once in digital. Neither of those presentations compared to the fine detail and resolution exhibited by this Blu-ray release. Dimensionality is jaw dropping and the sense of depth and detail this transfer offers is truly reference quality. Rango also provides a compelling 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack that features a great sound design and ample use of the surround soundstage. Foley is convincing throughout and the panning effects from channel to channel are superlative. Deep bass extension pipes in from time to time but isn’t quite as aggressive as some of the more intense action films. Voice work is exceptional for all the film’s characters and the blending with the animation is perfect. You’d truly be hard pressed to find a better A/V presentation than what Paramount has served up with Rango.
The Blu-ray release features two cuts of the film available via seamless branching. There isn’t much difference though with the extended edition getting a rather unnecessary extension to its conclusion that provides a few more laughs but not much else. Paramount has also included a DVD copy of the film along with a digital download for your portable devices. Supplements on the Blu-ray include an informative commentary track with the makers of the film plus a great “making-of” feature that delves into the development of the story, characters and animation. A picture-in-picture feature is included that allows you to compare the finished feature to the hand-drawn storyboards and there is an interactive walk through of the town of Dirt complete with character information. Some deleted scenes and character profiles are also included.
Rango is a great original CG animation film that showcases the latest and greatest in animation wizardry but also some great characters and a fun story. While some of the themes and imagery may be a bit much for the younger viewers, this is a great western for both older kids and adults alike. Paramount has done a spectacular job with the presentation and supplements making this a must own in my book.