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For Movie-Loving Adults
on July 22, 2013
Well THAT was a surprise! An animated feature for fun-loving, movie-loving adults. How do I know?
* The dialogue: Our hero talks like George Clooney talking like Clark Gable in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" so pay close attention!
* Homages to classics from "Star Wars" to "Singin' in the Rain."
* The music has everything from yodeling during a chase scene (with toilet paper trailing from a shoe) to Ride of the Valkyries during an aerial attack.
* The Spirit of the West (in an Alabaster Chariot) is a serape-clad Clint Eastwood in a white golf cart with a bunch of Oscars tossed in the back.
* The line dance of the townspeople on Main Street is done to Cool Water by what sounds like the Sons of the Pioneers.
* A Greek Chorus/Mariachi Band which explains the action, consists of four little cactus owls.
* The hawk that terrorizes the town has a partial silver beak, a la Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou.
* One of the townspeople has a crackly voice like Pat Buttram from the old Roy Rogers movies.
* The snake is waaaay too scary for children even though it is clearly patterned after the one from the "Harry Potter" franchise.
* Much of Hans Zimmer's music seems inspired by Ennio Morricone of Spaghetti Western fame.
The voice work is exemplary:
* Johnny Depp ("The Tourist") is our hero, a scrawny little chameleon. He articulates, he projects, he emotes! This little lizard is an out-of-work actor with delusions of adequacy who is accidentally dumped along the Interstate near a town in the throes of a drought.
* Isla Fisher ("The Lookout") is the spunky little gecko who is trying to save her daddy's ranch.
* Abigail Breslin ("Zombieland") is the sweet little possum who believes in our hero.
* Ned Beatty ("Toy Story 3") is the land tortoise who is mayor of that little burg.
* Timothy Olyphant ("Deadwood") does a bang-up job voicing Clint Eastwood.
* Bill Nighy ("Valkyrie") is that evil rattlesnake.
The list of voices goes on and on, with each and every one of them inspired by a great goofy script from John Logan ("Gladiator") and direction by Gore Verbinski ("Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise). The animation is excellent, while everything from the music to the dialogue feels young, energetic and very funny! My DVD from Amazon is a favorite.
You'll like it a lot if you like movies. I laughed more than most of the audience because I'm afraid many of the older references went over their heads. I hope you give this classic Western a shot...smile...