It’s easy to get the feeling, after three surreal, increasingly confounding Pirates of the Caribbean swashbucklers and now Rango, an animated Western that plays like Fear and Loathing in the Mojave, that Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp can’t resist a bizarre flight of fancy.
It’s more a gift than a curse. Those little indulgences – the scenes that don’t quite fit in but often contain moments of pure, unfiltered imagination – confirm them as artists in an upper echelon of Hollywood’s elite, where playing it safe isn’t paramount. They follow their muse, conventional wisdom be damned.
Has Pixar set the bar too high? There’s nothing really wrong with Toy Story 3 – on the contrary, there’s so much right that it would be tempting to overlook its shortcomings altogether. But we get paid for full-service reviews, so it is with slight hesitation that I applaud the conclusion of a memorable trilogy.
Why the misgiving? Everything would appear to be in place. Pixar once again has created a spectacle unlike any other, unsurpassed in its visual brilliance and in the richness of detail evident in its characters and the world they inhabit. It is a movie that demands repeat viewings, as the intricacies of its artwork can’t be appreciated fully in a single sitting.