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Rango (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

95






Studio and Year: Paramount - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107/111 minutes
Genre: Animation/Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Voices of: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Stephen Root, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: John Logan
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 15, 2011







"A new kind of western"



Film Synopsis:

Get ready to tango with Rango, a winner with critics and audiences. Johnny Depp is spectacular as Rango, a kooky pet chameleon who gets tossed into a wild and raucous town in desperate need of a hero.



My Take:

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Rango isn't your garden variety animated family adventure. It doesn't feature the cute and cuddly characters we have come to expect from the animation from studios like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks. This is Industrial Light and Magic's first full length animated film and the presentation (see below) is absolutely stunning. The plot revolves around a chameleon, that finds himself suddenly thrown from life as a pet into the live or die rigors of a put upon western town where survival depends on the supply of water and those willing to protect it. The townsfolk are represented by various creatures of the desert that fit the traditional western tale archetypes. The script plays out largely in a sort of ode to the spaghetti western (loved Timothy Olyphant's portrayal of the Spirit of the West!) but with aspects that are more traditional as well. Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp, is drawn as the great pretender caricature much in the same vein as Barney Fife. He stumbles/bumbles his way through and endears himself to a town in need of a hero. Unfortunately the time comes where he must put up or face the discovery of his charade. This is where Rango's true mettle will be tested but not before he goes to extreme lengths to avoid such circumstances.

Paramount has included both the theatrical (which I watched during my evaluation) and 4 minute longer extended versions of the film on this Blu-ray release. My initial reaction to Rango would be best described as lukewarm. The first thirty five minutes or so moves slowly and I was finding interest hard to come by. Luckily it does pick up and by the end had completely drawn me in. I would caution parents that there are elements in the story that could raise questions from young viewers. This comes in the form of mature themed references (nothing outrageous) and the depiction of death (several characters actually die). Otherwise things are kept light, with an intelligently crafted storyline and engaging levels of slapstick that both kids and adults can relate to. The plot features a straightforward and formulaic narrative that focuses on the establishment of identity and being true to oneself. The cleverly infused humor is spot on as is the eclectically voiced cast who lend their vocal talent to the characters. As you might expect Johnny Depp is lots of fun in the title role. Equally entertaining are the performances of Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, and Stephen Root. It would be fair to say that I enjoyed Rango however it didn't resonate as deeply with me as I expected. The reason for this may lie in the pacing and execution of its existential framework which differs slightly from what we as an audience have become accustomed to. On the other hand the latter is probably exactly where its strengths lie. I suspect a second viewing will bear more fruit. Regardless, Rango has enough heart, clever wit, and endearing charm to be equally entertaining for kids and their parents.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for rude humor, action, language and smoking.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 100


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699
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Rango comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that delivers flawless imagery. The video quality is visually arresting in its depiction of the film's animated elements. Detail and definition is impeccably rendered as images have a luminous and sparkling clarity that is appreciably three dimensional. It never left me wanting for fine degrees of subtle delineation and texture. The attention to detail in the construction of the animated characters physical features as well as objects/backgrounds within each frame is superb. Colors are rich and beautifully crafted as the deep shades of sepia are splashed with golden accents and invigorated by eye catching primaries that look succulent in high definition. Each of the characters has distinctive physical qualities that are attributable to them not only in size and shape color as well. Contrast and brightness is spot on and strike a wonderful balance that highlights the multi-layered grays and gradational whites within the images onscreen. The use of light and shading is incredible and offers visible gradations and detail that exhibits a near infinite level of dimension. Examples of this can be seen in the streams of light/dark shadows in the saloon and deep stages of gray/black in the night desert. Blacks are inky with extended dynamic range and deep highlights. I was blown away by this high definition presentation that rivals the very best animation that I have seen on Blu-ray.

This lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is not an aggressive or action style sound mix but its ability to deliver an engaging home theater experience is not to be underestimated. This animated film uses an intricate sound design that has to maintain a delicate balance so the plethora of sound effects, music and dialogue within the soundtrack can be clearly and easily interpreted by the audience. Dialogue is distinctly perceptible and well articulated so that even subtle changes in the inflection of the voices among the cast was detectable. Sound effects are accurately placed within the sound field and establish a tight correlation between the onscreen information and what is being heard within the listening environment. A great example of this occurs at the introduction of Rattlesnake Jake. As he slithers around Rango and the townspeople the sounds of his scales, bandolier and rattle/gun revolve around the soundstage. This creates an immersive, active and involving soundscape that is abundantly rich in detail. Its wide dynamic range can go from subtle, intricate control to room energizing dynamism. Low frequencies underscore sound effects and reinforce the dynamic impact of the audio. Response is authoritative, and clean as it fills the room with deep, tactile, low level bass energy. Hans Zimmer's wonderfully engaging music score occasionally takes center stage as it is broadcast over the entire system with high level detail with smooth, strident free treble. I found this to be a superlative mix that creates a stable and immersive surround sound experience that achieves excellent balance so that all of the elements inherent in the recording can be realized.



Bonus Features:


  • Theatrical and Extended versions of Rango

  • Audio commentary by filmmakers Gore Verbinski, James Ward Byrkit, Mark McCreery, Hal Hickel and Tim Alexander

  • (HD) Breaking the rules: Making animation history(2 segments) - A detailed look into the preparation/created aspects behind bringing Rango to the big screen

    1. The stage is Set - 28 minutes
    2. Now we ride - 20 minutes

  • (HD) The real creatures of Dirt - An education featurette where animal experts discuss the real life creatures that inspired the characters in Rango (22 minutes)

  • (HD) Storyboard Reel Picture-in-picture (theatrical version only) - interactive in movie experience

  • (HD) A field trip to Dirt - An interactive/virtual tour of Dirt complete with character interaction, trivia and bonus footage

  • (HD) 10 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Bonus DVD of Rango

  • Digital Copy of Rango
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Final Thoughts:

Rango isn't your garden variety family animated film and features throw back style storytelling/cleverly infused humor, some of which may go over the heads of younger viewers, which results in an entertaining adventure that can be enjoyed by the whole family. A few minor quibbles aside, I found it to have enough heart, intelligent wit, and endearing charm to be rewarding and look forward to second viewing. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment delivers mesmerizing high definition video quality that ranks among the best animated imagery that I have seen on the format. Superb lossless surround sound and an apropos set of bonus features round out a wonderful package that has found a home in my Blu-ray collection.









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Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 55
Thanks, I'm definitely picking this one up. Never had time to watch it in the theater.
post #3 of 55
Have to agree with your video and audio score Ralph, unfortunatley i didnt like the movie.
post #4 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post
Have to agree with your video and audio score Ralph, unfortunatley i didnt like the movie.

Greetings,

My wife and son didn't care for it either but neither finished it.

Regards,
post #5 of 55
Thanks Ralph wiil be buying this.
post #6 of 55
Critics loved it (89 at RT) definately will be picking this up.
post #7 of 55
I missed this one in the theaters too, but I pre ordered mine, and looking forward of watching it..It looks a bit off base, and not your usual animated flick, I definitely cracked up every time when the trailers came on the Tv.

can't wait.

Djoel
post #8 of 55
Good to see Rango's coming to town. A good cast made the movie even more palatable. The wife and I enjoyed it at the theater. A little more adult than a kids movie.
post #9 of 55
Ralph,

I was so happy to see this title get a 100 for video, as well as a respectable 90 for audio. I'm not normally a Western movie fan, but this title really caught my attention, and I pre-ordered it as soon as it was available.

My main reasons for wanting to have it are the look and sound possibilities and the humor, plus the complete immersion into a fantasy world; one that looks like it could be real -except for the talking creatures!

Your review made me feel good about my purchase, and now I really look forward to my first movie night watching it. No doubt there will be many more to follow!
post #10 of 55
Looks very cool! Sounds like the story is hit-or-miss for some people but it sounds like it will be up my ally. I like the cast choices as well, and the visual style looks unique.

Will definitely get this on release day. There are some coupons floating around for it, too, but that is probably off topic for this thread.
post #11 of 55
Personally, I think the visuals in a few of the scenes, especially the night journey into the dessert are stunning (though I'm certainly not an completely un-biased judge .

If you're a fan of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas you'll find a small number of subtle references in this movie.
http://popwatch.ew.com/2011/03/06/th...lassic-movies/


In a few scenes I felt it was maybe trying to be more clever and more funny that it really was, but if you sit back and just go along for the ride I think you'll enjoy how it develops and plays out. Thumbs up, and nice review.
post #12 of 55
I have been wanting to see this ever since I seen the trailer last year. Definitely looks like an interesting animated movie to watch. This is the second review I have read that gave it a perfect score in the video department. One reviewer from another site went as far to say that it may be the best animated movie he has seen on the Blu-ray format and that, "it may not have an equal in terms of absolute video perfection." I'm not sure if Ralph would go as far to say that, but he came pretty close to saying it in his review! Might have to blind this one based on Ralphs review alone.
post #13 of 55
Missed this one when it first came and thought the trailer looked pretty decent. This review definitely helps out a lot so i'll bite.
post #14 of 55
This movie reminded me of the Don Knotts classic "Shakiest Gun in the West"
No real laugh out loud moments, but it kept me drawn in. I agree that the first 15-20 minutes were kinda slow.
post #15 of 55
great to hear about the PQ. I didn't get around to seeing this one in theaters, but I'll be renting it for sure
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Have to agree with your video and audio score Ralph, unfortunatley i didnt like the movie.

I watch few animated films in the theater, so not only didn't I see Rango in the theater, I didn't really know much about it. Because of Ralph's raves about its PQ and what seem to have been wonderful performances from a great cast, I plan to pick it up at BB on the 15th. Although your dislike of the movie worries me some, I am hoping that its cast and production values will carry the day for me and I will end up enjoying it. Time will tell, I guess.
post #17 of 55
Can't like I liked the movie much either, but I think I might just give it a buy anyways. Partly because of the astounding video quality but also because I think I might like it better the second time around. It had its chuckle moments and some of the characters were really interesting, but the story was a little too by-the-numbers for me.

... or maybe I'll just rent it.
post #18 of 55
Had a feeling the video transfer would be perfect on this. We really wanted to like the movie but it was pretty slow and laid back to grab us and the kids. Should make a fine home presentation but this may be just a rental for us.
post #19 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow View Post

Had a feeling the video transfer would be perfect on this. We really wanted to like the movie but it was pretty slow and laid back to grab us and the kids. Should make a fine home presentation but this may be just a rental for us.

Im glad i rented it also.
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I watch few animated films in the theater, so not only didn't I see Rango in the theater, I didn't really know much about it. Because of Ralph's raves about its PQ and what seem to have been wonderful performances from a great cast, I plan to pick it up at BB on the 15th. Although your dislike of the movie worries me some, I am hoping that its cast and production values will carry the day for me and I will end up enjoying it. Time will tell, I guess.

You might end up liking it gwsat. Im curious to read your impressions. I have to admit i went in with high expectations with this film and was disappointed.
post #21 of 55
Agree this could be hit or miss. It is a Depp movie, after all. Still not sure if I liked it. Think it needs a couple of viewings to grow on you. There were some good scenes. Favorite line was when the cute little girl possum looked at the dead hawk and says: "Shoot, I say we cut that right up."
post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Im glad i rented it also.

This would be one of the very few, top tier, animated movies that did not rate a buy in my household. We'll see how the five year old reacts to the rental. I finally rented Yogi Bear and she liked that but did not rave about it. At five, she loves most things and likes everything.
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow View Post


This would be one of the very few, top tier, animated movies that did not rate a buy in my household. We'll see how the five year old reacts to the rental. I finally rented Yogi Bear and she liked that but did not rave about it. At five, she loves most things and likes everything.

I ended up buying yogi bear but sold that pretty quickly.
post #24 of 55
My household love animation, but this movie, although funny enough to be watched once, is too "psychedelic" for our tastes.
post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post
My household love animation, but this movie, although funny enough to be watched once, is too "psychedelic" for our tastes.
Yeah, this kind of missed with us at the theater. I could not resist the $9.99 BestBuy price though so we own the bluray now and will watch Saturday night. I think it should be a good home presentation but I am not sure how much replay it will have for the kids. But, we have had a fair amount of movies that grow on us when I never thought they would. My, then, four year old could barely make it through the first viewing of Astroboy. At one point was so distraught by the "angst" onscreen she cried when is this going to end? It now gets as much replay as any Pixar or good Dreamworks.
post #26 of 55
Watched the BD today. Wow, this sets a new standard for animation. PQ and AQ are reference also.
post #27 of 55
Watched this last night and enjoyed it for a one time watch, but thats about it.

Audio was very good, but slightly front heavy and nothing demo worthy when stacked against other blus.

Video was fantastic overall besides some sporadic slightly noisy scenes. Very early on when Rango was in the fish tank is probably the easiest to see this. Maybe this was intentional?

Overall good rental, but nothing more IMO.
post #28 of 55
Loved the PQ and AQ but the movie was just ok...another vote for "Glad I rented it"..Too bad to, cause I really wanted to like and add this to my library.
post #29 of 55
Thanks and spot on review Ralph...I think this movie will grow on me with a second viewing...

The previous night the wife and I watched the BBC Earth "Life" series and it happen to be the episode on Reptiles and Amphibians which included a detailed look at chameleons. Rango was driving me nuts due to the fact that he never (IIRC) moved his eyes independently like a real chameleon...I guess I need to drink more wine and chill out while watching movies.
post #30 of 55
Loved this movie! Picture quality was out of this world. Audio was superb. Reference all the way.

Bill Nighy as the rattlesnake was freaking awesome.
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