The New York Times critic A.O. Scott makes the convincing point that -- the output of Pixar excepted -- animated features have become "overscaled, noisy genre pastiches crammed with yammering movie-star voice work, eye-straining action sequences and tacked-on sermons about the importance of being yourself, following your dream or sticking by your friends and family." But in the case of Rango , he observes, "Much of the time you don't quite know where it is going, which is high praise indeed given the slick predictability that governs most other entertainments of its kind." Still, it is not the story but the visuals which receives the lion's share of high praise from the critics -- especially remarkable given the fact that it is presented in 2D. " Rango is some kind of a miracle," cheers Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, " an animated comedy for smart moviegoers, wonderfully made, great to look at, wickedly satirical, and (gasp!) filmed in glorious 2-D." (Ebert has become one of the leading opponents of 3D movies.) "Really, the animation is so gorgeously rendered, it puts every 3D effort in recent memory to shame," Elizabeth Weitzman remarks in the New York Daily News. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal calls it an "eye feast." And Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times concludes it's "destined to become a classic." Several critics warn, however, that Rango is not your typical family film and that small kids may become confused or even frightened by some of the scenes. (It's rated PG.) "You know those animated films that have bits that the parents will enjoy?" Carrie Rickey asks rhetorically in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Rango is mostly those bits." But clearly some critics found the movie suitable neither for adults nor kids. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune acknowledges that he "may be in the minority" but that he found the movie "completely soulless." Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel points out that some of the language is simply not suitable for a movie likely to attract small children. The Script, Moore writes, "scores no points for coherence." And Claudia Puig in USA Today dismisses the entire enterprise as "an ambitious undertaking with some awkward tangents, executed unevenly."

04/03/2011