I know I'm a little behind the times, but I finally had a chance to see Rango this weekend. I must say the animation was simply incredible, as was the story! The film was only playing at one time (2:00 in the afternoon) and the entire theater was filled with really young kids. Other than the parents, I was definitely the oldest one there! After watching the film part of me feels like this isn't really a movie for children. Yes it's animated, but that doesn't automatically make it a fun film for kids to watch. It was really like watching a Western. I'd probably be a bit freaked out if I had watched it as a young kid! Rango isn't that first of its kind, but it's interesting to see more and more animated features releasing for audiences other than young children.
The lighting throughout the film really impressed me the most. The lighting plans were so detailed and intricate that it gave the film such a unique look. I read an interview with Tim Alexander, the visual effects supervisor on the film. It was a really interesting interview because Tim discussed how Industrial Light & Magic, a company used to working in live action, had to adapt to create an animated feature length film. They really had to adjust their entire workflow to complete this project. Tim said lighting was difficult for them because they are so used to receiving video plates where the lighting in the shot has already been composed by the DOP, in which case they just created their effects based on the existing lighting plot. Creating an image that was 100% animated was difficult because they had to create the lighting from scratch. To help them with this problem, they hired an experienced DOP, Roger Deakins (Shawshank Redemption, True Grit, O Brother, Where Art Thou, etc) to help them figure out lighting designs. I must say the plan definitely worked because the lighting is really amazing!