Rango (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)
4.6 Stars (out of 5)
Johnny Depp lends his voice to the portrayal of the title character, an adventurous family pet who leaves home to learn more about himself, in this family-friendly animated adventure directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean).
Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone
Blu-ray Release Date:
July 15, 2011
English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Overall rating weighted as follows:
Audio 40%, Video 40%, Special Features 20%, Movie - its just our opinion so take it with a grain of salt
Audio 4.9 Stars (out of 5)
Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison
● Subwoofer - 5.0 Stars
● Dialog - 4.5 Stars
● Surround Effects - 5.0 Stars
● Dynamic Range - 5.0 Stars
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Speeding cars, a slithering snake, high flying bats, flapping wings of an eagle, and gun shoot outs fill the room by utilizing all speakers in this stellar audio performance. Rango handles all varieties of sounds with class. Explosions are deep and bombastic, and restrained ambient noises like crickets and wind are also handled with delicate hands. Even though this was a very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio mix, at times it was difficult to hear the rapid fire dialog under the bed of various sounds. Rango definitely has an impressive Blu-ray performance and I might watch it again just to hear the snake slither around my living room with his menacing Gatling gun tail.
Video 5.0 Stars (out of 5)
Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison
● Color Accuracy - 5.0 Stars
● Shadow detail - 5.0 Stars
● Clarity - 5.0 Stars
● Skin tones - 5.0 Stars
● Compression - 5.0 Stars
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Since this is a computer generated animated film, you would expect the video to be crystal clear and the colors to be perfectly balanced, which they are. Usually I don't like to watch very many CGI animated films on Blu-ray, because they lack realistic detail and the clarity so clear it's off-putting. However, in Rango the attention paid to the smallest details are stunning. Industrial Light and Magic did a magnificent job of creating realistic textures of skin, wood, hair, dust, dirt, you name it. I found myself asking if they used photography to make the colorful sunsets or dry sand dunes look real. After watching the extra features I found out they were all computer generated. If this is what ILM can do while they make special effects for Transformers at the same time, Pixar needs to step it's game up.
Bonus Features 4.0 Stars (out of 5)
● Theatrical and Extended Version
● Commentary By director, story co-writer and producer Gore Verbinski, head of story James Ward Byrkit, production designer Mark “Crash” McCreery, animation director Hal Hickel and visual effects supervisor
● Breaking The Rules: Making Animation History
● Gore Verbinski and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) prepared for their first animated movie by following every step the filmmakers made to create this new kind of animated film.
○ The Stage Is Set (Part 1)
○ Now We Ride (Part 2)
● Real Creatures of Dirt—In this fun and educational piece, animal experts talk about the real creatures that inspired the characters of Rango and the filmmakers explain why they chose specific animals to reflect certain personality traits.
● Storyboard Reel Picture-In-Picture—Enhance your movie-viewing experience by watching the entire feature with picture-in-picture images of the storyboards (Theatrical Version only).
● A Field Trip to Dirt—Using the technology and footage from ILM’s special camera, viewers are put in control of their own tour of Dirt. They can select the streets they want to explore and the characters they’d like to interact with, discovering trivia and other bonus footage along the way.
● Deleted Scenes—Including a never-before-seen alternate ending
● Theatrical Trailer.
Movie - 3.5 Stars (out of 5)
Rango does a great job of paying homage to classic westerns like High Noon and True Grit has some surprising interesting social commentary. If you want your kids to start watching western with you, this is the first step into the true American film genre. Shootouts at noon, riding off in the sunset, assembling a posse, all the familiar tropes of the standard western are present. They even have a famous spaghetti western character make a cameo in a pivotal scene. What is most surprising was it's underlying commentary on the world's economy. Without spoiling too much, all the thirsty town folk go to the "water bank" to withdraw all their water to find out it's all gone. To drive the point even farther, lots of people in the town are loosing their homes and farms.
However, there were a few scenes in the film that did not sit well with me. There are far too many crass adult jokes. Some went over my kids heads, some off color jokes went into their heads. This is not the standard kid's movie, it isn't as cute as a Pixar film, its as funny as a Dreamworks movie, this is dare I say ... a little gritty for a kids movie. Most of the characters are beautifully ugly with goofy crooked noses, broken teeth, and thick dark rodent hairs. I thought this would be of putting to my Barbie loving daughter, but surprisingly, she dug it. I guess the writers of Rango were right when they said that kids could handle a sophisticated movie that looks different than the other kiddie films they're used to.
Posted by The HT Guys, July 27, 2011 7:15 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.