As the first full-length animated feature made by Industrial Light & Magic, arguably the greatest special effects company that ever existed, Rango is an unbelievably stunning film to look at. Every frame is so packed with painstaking detail that even the four years it took to make the film seems like a tight schedule. There are moments of such aching beauty that, if someone were to pick random frames at, say, 30-minute intervals (though why anyone would do that is beyond me), each one would be worthy of hanging over the fireplace.
It's a shame, then, that Rango is such a load of incoherent, boring drivel. It's a long time since I've wanted to walk out of a film (Hello and goodbye, Johnny English), but when the final act rolled round and it was painfully obvious exactly what was going to happen and that it was going to take about half an hour to do it, I couldn't help but think that my time would be better spent at home watching Take Me Out. And that's not something I generally think.
It's hard to believe that such an uncomplicated plot could get so lost finding its way through a film. Overlong scenes of aimless tramping through deserts or laborious fireside waffle provide handy metaphors for the film as a whole, while central characters go about their business with little to no motivation. Rango is literally thrown into his own story and sets about rescuing a town from its corrupt mayor for no apparent reason except that he's a frustrated actor, which makes even less sense than it sounds.
It's a fantastic argument against 3D - Rango leaps out of the screen even in two dimensions, with more texture and depth than anything I've seen through uncomfortable goggles recently - but it also puts me in the unexpected position of looking forward to martial arts-practising, farting pandas and anthropomorphic cars saving the world. And I'm reasonably sure that wasn't its intention.