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"Gore and Tim are very, very different, but there is a similar thing in the incredible arena that they build and that they allow the actors to go into, a place where the actors can feel free to go ape," Depp said. "They rein it in, hone it and make it special and pay close attention to the details... Gore amazed me right away with his technical ability ... he knows cinema backwards and forward, and he's completely unafraid. When I saw 'Rango' I was pretty stupefied — it was unlike anything I had ever seen before."
Verbinski's knowledge of cinema was on full display in "Rango," the first animated film from Paramount Pictures and the first created by Industrial Light & Magic, the esteemed visual effects house. In the film, Depp gives voice to a thespian chameleon who ends up in a savage town called Dirt, where a six-shooter drama unfolds with nods to "High Noon," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Destry Rides Again" and a dozen other saddlebag classics. With especially scabby characters (like a chicken with an arrow through its eye) and existential subplots, "Rango" was defiantly "un-cute" in this era of animation blockbusters defined by heartfelt appeal and a tidy, toy-driven aesthetic.