Saturday, May 21, 2011

Romancin' the Rango

As a parent, you're always looking for that sweet spot: kids' movies that are fun for the grownups, and grownups' movies that are fun for the kids. Rango, featuring the voice talents of Johnny Depp and others, satisfies on both levels. Let the kids tell it first.

The 9-year-old: "Rango is a very fun movie. I really like how it takes place in the west because I don't see very many movies that are fun for the whole family that take place in that wonderful land. I think you should see it."

The 7-year-old: "If you haven't seen this movie you haven't seen fun! This takes place in the "wild west," and it's a great movie about a silly little chameleon called Rango."

As for the grownups, you can compete to see how many different cinematic hommages you can spot. The CGI characters have a wildly idiosyncratic look to them – far from cute and cuddly, they're lovingly ugly, and spectacularly detailed. The disparate voice talent did more than record an audio track; they wore motion capture suits to interact with each other, and their facial expressions were rendered with a technology called "emotion capture."

Toss in a soundtrack that includes the talents of Los Lobos and others, and you've got a cartoon that's utterly unlike the usual fare, and plenty of fun whether you have kids or not. But if you do have kids - or if you are a kid - I'm always looking for movie recommendations that hit that sweet spot. That last one that hit the target so directly was Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox.  So what are your favorites?

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