As high concepts go, “Johnny Depp playing an existentially tortured chameleon in a CG-animated metafictional Western” is about as high as they get. I confess to a certain degree of skepticism when I first read about Rango, but that skepticism was eased a bit—and by “a bit” I mean “totally”—by this clip.
It’s not just that the animation looks cool and unique and all that stuff. Johnny Depp’s voice work, from this small sample, is of the extremely high caliber one would expect. The comic beats are as tight as drum; the reveal of the bird, and Depp’s broad take at his belated realization that it’s standing right there… priceless. And that’s but one moment in this clip.
Rango was directed by Gore Verbinski, Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean collaborator, and will be released this Friday. It’s been getting excellent advance notices, and seems like a delightfully strange trip to the movies. We shall soon see.