Johnny Depp was recently compared to a serial killer by the director of The Tourist, and indeed, the trailer for the new film Rango opens with Depp's character committing cold-blooded murder. (Mitigating factors: The murder is of a hawk, and the cold-bloodedness is due to Depp voicing a lizard.) It's a bold way to sell an animated movie — though perhaps not as bold as Rio's exhortation that we should root for two cartoon birds to sleep together — but Rango is a boldly animated movie, a beautifully lit Western about a chameleon sheriff made by a top-tier director, Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean). Since Pixar is putting out Cars 2 next year (and the rest of the slate will be crowded with sequels like Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots), maybe this will be 2011's animated film for adults? (Still, if only Paramount had shown the foresight to rush Rango into theaters this year so that Depp could compete against yet another of his performances at the Golden Globes.)
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