Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rango DVD Released March 22 2011

Rango DVD Released 22 March 2011

he film was made by Nickelodeon Movies, a company that has been around for a while. They had some success with films such as The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Spongebob Square Pants movies and The Last Avatar, but now they have emerged as a credible, indeed outstanding, competitor in the animation field.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that Rango is strictly for kids. Like Shrek, this movie offers great guffaws of laughter and brilliant animation for adult audiences, making it the perfect family movie.
Rango is an animated Western epic in which the major star is a chameleon. His story is told in a film so unexpected and so wickedly witty that it belongs in the top tier of the animation industry.
Gore Verbinski, directed the first threePirates of the Caribbean films, which gave him deep insight and understanding of CGI animation. Those films also made him familiar with Johnny Depp's skills. So after his Pirates stint, Verbinski chose to make something fresh and original and on a much smaller scale.
He hired John Logan, a screenwriter and award-winning playwright, to create a script in which the hero was a small, insignificant creature who finally gets to save the day. Rango is about a loser who learns how to win, and the filmmakers chose the unlikeliest character to play a conquering hero - a chameleon.
This chameleon is a pet who lives in a terrarium, which means his world is very small and ordinary, but a quirk of fate occurs. A traffic accident causes his glass box to be flung out of a car and it shatters by the roadside. In a flash, this pampered city pet finds himself stranded in the hot Arizona desert, where hawks and other predators love to snack on small creatures.
While searching for shelter, the chameleon stumbles into a dusty little town called Dirt, which is caught in a time-warp. It's a traditional Wild West town filled with hard-working frontier families, surly gunslingers and tough guys who don't like strangers in their town.
It goes without saying that Dirt's inhabitants are desert creatures: lizards, rodents and birds of various kinds. They view this panicky city-slicker chameleon, who wears a Hawaiian beach shirt, with hostile curiosity. The chameleon is forced to lie about himself, pretending to be a tough guy called Rango.
He is immediately caught up in the town's various troubles as the inhabitants turn to him for help. Their water supply is dwindling and only one man in town controls its source. He is Tortoise John (voiced by Ned Beatty) and it's obvious that he has something to hide, which makes him take an instant dislike to Rango.
The townsfolk see Rango as the proverbial "man with the plan", but he hasn't a clue about where the water has gone. As he searches, he encounters nasty adversaries and the film evolves into the classic "stranger-in-town" Western.
If you are a film buff, you will revel in the witty references to classic Hollywood Westerns, from High Noon through The Magnificent Seven to The Wild Bunch. It's sly and clever. The kids in the audience might not spot those references, but the sheer fun of Rango's perils will keep them happy.
But if you do have that cowboy iconography in your head, you will enjoy the splendid array of Wild West villains, reptiles one and all. There's Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy) and Bad Bill, a gila monster (Ray Winstone) but on the side of the good guys is a very quirky and delightful iguana called Beans (Isla Fisher).
The film does not miss a beat and, to make it absolutely perfect, there's a mariachi band consisting of four singing owls, which produce the musical narrative.
For me, the best moment is when Rango meets up with "the Spirit of the West" in a scene that is as wonderful as it is surprising, a flash of pure Hollywood Zen, and it's that kind of detail that makes it such a fascinating treat.
Until now, animation and CGI techniques have focused on mainly space adventures, comic-book heroes and epic techno-blockbusters such as the Transformers series.
In this film, Verbinski transfers those techniques to a different genre and, just as the little lost fish of Finding Nemo changed the animation genre, Rango will open all kinds of new doors for animation.

Rango DVD Released 22 March 2011

Monday, 19 February 2007

Clash of Nations

The BBC Commmissioned a Survey on the Clash of Nations - The Result ?

The view that there is an inevitable clash of nations between the West and Islam is not viewed by the majority to be a certain thing.

Neocon's in the US looking for a fight with pre-nuclear Iran and Osama bin Laden who views the west as being anti-Muslim, are it would appear, in the minority according to the BBC poll.

According to the BBC Survey which took opinions from around the world, the majority do not believe that conflict is inevitable and that current tensions are the result of intolerant minorities and political self-interest.

Globescan conducted the poll which canvassed 28,000 citizens from 27 countries with 2/3rds believing common ground could be found between the West and Islam.

Interestingly, over half the respondents believed that political power and interests are at the heart of the perceived conflict while less than a third felt it was cultural or religious differences.

Given US Secretary of State Rice's presence in the Middle East, and a general belief that the Iraqi leadership have been advised to "get a grip", perhaps there is a realization in the Whitehouse and US Department of State that leadership does not neccessarily mean militarily kicking three barrels out of a small country.

War is after all diplomacy by an alternative means - perhaps we should be trying true diplomacy more often?

Monday, 22 January 2007

The US Department of State

The US Department of State, the face of the richest most powerful nation on the planet and responsible for setting and shaping global policy that affects all of our lives.

I doubt it can be argued that the 20th Century was not America's; successful in two World Wars, victor in the Cold War and undisputed industrial and economic power by the year 2000, where will America take us in the future ?

As we head deeper into the 21st Century what will the Pax Americana that has settled over the world bring us? A Pax Americana that shows signs of being at a crossroads, an historical fulcrum upon one side of which is an extension of American hegemony that may or may not be in communal global interests and on the other, a disintegration of influence, security and confidence.

The United States is a vast and diverse country that is young and vibrant, brash and arrogant, generous and welcoming, naive and innocent, violent and insensitive, and even the name "United States" can sometimes seem an oxymoron.

America is everything and nothing, but definitely something and here is where I will bring my thoughts on what this something is together with my perception, as a non-American, of the Department of State and the America she claims to represent.