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Book Review: The Ballad of Rango

March 2, 2011

Released February 20th, 2011

Page count: 156 pages

Size: 11” x 10”


The Ballad of Rango: The Art & Making of an Outlaw Film

by David S. Cohen

Foreword by Gore Verbinski

Published by Insight Editions


The Ballad of Rango Book Review by ErinV.

For animation fans and movie buffs alike, this will be one to add to your collection.  The first part of The Ballad of Rango is more text driven, explaining about the filmmaking process and some of the ideas behind the film, while the latter half of the book becomes more visually centric.  The last section of the book has 25 pages on the ‘key sequences’ from the film – so you might want to see the film first before reading…


The book starts by talking about the story of Rango and the fact that at its heart it’s the story of Rango’s journey to find out who he is – or can be.  As explained here, this made it pertinent that the film itself have a very unique and strong visual identity.  One thing director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) was adamant about was that, despite this being an animated creature film, they weren’t going to shy away from darker elements or designs.  The whole production thought of itself (and was written) the same way as a live-action film, except using the various desert animals to represent different facets of characters from an old wild west town – be they gamblers, outlaws, or unlikely heroes.


As the book goes on to discuss everything from story, to music, to the voice work done for the film, those who read it will find a great appreciation for the production behind Rango.  Couple this with getting an up-close visual look at the character and set designs, and this is a very worthwhile read.


Distributed by Paramount & animated at ILM, Rango will hit theatres March 4th.  From Insight Editions, The Ballad of Rango is available in stores now.

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