Movie review: Rango

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In the world of computer animation, there's Pixar and there's everybody else - as this year's ho-hum animated Oscar announcement proved.

Well, a new studio is throwing its hat into the ring, a little outfit called Industrial Light and Magic. And they're hoping to be the new sheriff in town.

Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) is a pet chameleon with an identity crisis. He's separated from his family and finds himself alone in the desert.

He ends up in the gritty, Wild West-y town of Dirt. Rango attempts to fit in through a bit of false boastfulness and inadvertently lands a role as town sheriff.

"Rango" is another case of a live-action director taking a stab at animation, in this case "Pirates of the Caribbean" captain Gore Verbinski. Verbinski has much more success than Zack Snyder ("300"), whose "Legend of the Guardians" was a hot mess.

Of course, his ace is Depp, who is at his silly best. Between Rango and Captain Jack Sparrow, you kind of wish Depp would do some straight-up comedies.

On the technical front, ILM does an amazing job, especially with the desert setting. They've been producing some of the best CGI effects for 30 years now, so what do you expect?

The rub is that the affair goes on about 20 minutes too long, but it's still a crazy fun flick. You're on notice, Pixar.

"Rango"

Opens Friday

3 1/2 stars out of 4