I just saw Rango last night. Simply amazing piece of work. Directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) the film pays a homage to a number of films both in terms of storytelling structure, some memorable characters themselves and even music and lighting.
Films referenced are of course "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", "For a Few Dollars More" (Sergio Leone), John Ford westerns, the extraordinary "Chinatown" (Roman Polanski) which shares the core story, "There Will be Blood" (Paul Thomas Anderson) in terms of lighting, and great characters based on such icons as John Huston (in Chinatown), Lee Van Cleef's in For a Few Dollars More, which in Rango is the very bad Rattlesnake Jake. and, yes, Clint Eastwood as "the Spirit of the Desert", poncho and all. (And oh, a wink to Star Wars, why not) I am sure there are other references I missed!
In short it is a film fest, definitely go see it! Needless to say the character modeling, animation, environments, shaders and particularly the acting, etc are simply outstanding. Talking about acting, some of the characters are actually played by their actors, (like Johnny Depp) who are not only doing voice over. But the subtlety of their emotions down to the smallest twitches is a pleasure to watch.
Photographs copyright © 2011 by Paramount Pictures