Johnny Depp explores the Wild(life) West in this dazzling animated satire

There’s a world of difference between an ‘adult cartoon’ and a ‘cartoon for adults’. Director/co-writer Gore Verbinski’s Rango is a superb example of the latter – a cartoon aimed at an adult audience who will understand its in-jokes and satirical approach to the Western genre, but one that can still be enjoyed by folk of all ages. Playing out for large parts like a reworking of Once Upon a Time in the West enacted by anthropomorphised animals, the film stars Johnny Depp as the titular would-be gunslinger, a pampered pet chameleon lost in the wild, whose lies lead to him becoming sheriff of a town called Dirt. 

Picture: Unsurprisingly, Rango makes quite a splash on Blu-ray. The beautifully detailed and richly coloured CG visuals really benefit from the disc’s technically flawless AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode. Indeed, as Rango opts for a much more textured animation style over the more traditionally ‘cartoony’ visuals employed in the majority of similar films, the quality of the Blu-ray’s encode is arguably even more striking than many of those we’ve seen from the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks. Quite simply, it’s one of the very best looking Blu-ray discs available.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: While it isn’t quite as spectacular as the 1080p visuals it accompanies, Rango’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix still comes pretty close to perfection. As is often the case with animated films, the sound design appears to go overboard to compensate for the fact that every audio element had to be created from scratch. This results in a beautifully nuanced and completely engaging 360-degree soundfield that makes extraordinarily good use of the surrounds and subwoofer throughout the film. The tonal perfection of the mix extends to the superb music presentation and pitch-perfect dialogue.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: This Triple Play edition serves up a bonus DVD and Digital Copy of the film alongside a reasonable set of bonus features on the Blu-ray disc itself (all presented in 1080p). The film itself is featured as both the original 107min theatrical cut and a new 112min extended cut, the former accompanied by a picture-in-picture storyboard reel, the latter with an informative audio commentary from some of the filmmakers. Also included on the disc are a 49min two-part Making of…, ten deleted scenes, an education featurette about the animals featured in the film, the trailer and an interactive map and character guide.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Verbinski’s surprisingly sophisticated 'toon makes for a stellar Blu-ray experience.

Paramount, All-region BD/R2 DVD, £25 approx, On sale now