March 03, 2011 | 2:27 p.m.
Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey says Gore Verbinski’s first animated feature crackles with innovation … A marvelous mash-up of Old West and newfangled, “Rango” rewrites the animation playbook with its eye-popping critters and varmints, and its hero’s tale (tail?) of a chameleon desperate for a SAG card and a town desperate for a sheriff. What fun. In a world choked with animated films — the good, the bad and the ugly — it’s hard to be either original or great. Yet director Gore Verbinski has done both — and without 3-D — breaking the rules and new ground in the town of Dirt. In this time-bending, mind-bending, just-go-with-it fable, the story shifts from overcrowded freeways, Hawaiian shirts and modern problems to covered wagons, chaps and long-running issues of water rights, land grabs and greed. And, in a genuinely […]
Feb. 17, 2011 | 12:30 p.m.
Johnny Depp will play Tonto when the Disney version of “The Lone Ranger” finally gallops into theaters, but don’t expect him to be a typical second-saddle sidekick. Director Gore Verbinski – who has made four films with Depp — said he’s interested in a sly, somewhat subversive version of the classic Old West adventure that presents the “faithful Indian companion” as the wry central voice of the story. “The only version of ‘The Lone Ranger’ I’m interested in doing is ‘Don Quixote’ told from Sancho Panza’s point of view,” Verbinski said Tuesday. “And hence I was honest early on with Johnny that Tonto is the part. We’re not going to do it [straight], everyone knows that story. I don’t want to tell that story.” I visited Verbinski’s office on the Universal lot to talk about “Rango,” the animated film that arrives on March […]
Jan. 02, 2011 | 1:36 p.m.
Richard Verrier has a Sunday Calendar cover story on animation today in Hollywood with some interesting insights on “Rango,” which hits theaters March 4. Here’s an excerpt… When Gore Verbinski was directing his upcoming movie, “Rango,” a spaghetti western-like tale set in a desert town overrun by bandits, he did what he typically does: have his principal actors, led by Johnny Depp and fellow cast members that include Harry Dean Stanton, Abigail Breslin and Ray Winstone, act out key scenes. The actors wore western costumes — Depp sported a giant cowboy hat and bandana and Winstone packed a sidearm. They had the usual array of props, including whiskey glasses and sawhorses, on a stage at Universal that also featured a saloon with a 40-foot-long wooden bar and the requisite swinging doors and even a chuckwagon. This wasn’t a run-through for another […]
Nov. 24, 2010 | 8:15 a.m.
The Lone Ranger will ride again and “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski will be calling the shots for the Disney. Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer have been talking about a Lone Ranger feature film for years and announced in 2008 that Johnny Depp would play the role of Tonto, the faithful friend to the masked man. The project has been slow to the screen, though, with Depp’s dense schedule and the emphasis by the studio, producer and star on their massively successful “Pirates” franchise, which has pulled in $5.35 billion in worldwide box office with three films and has a fourth scheduled for release next summer. Now, though, with Verbinski on board, the Lone Ranger revival might move into gallop mode. The 45-year-old Verbinski has been working as director and producer on “Rango,” the Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures animated feature with Depp […]
Oct. 12, 2009 | 4:43 p.m.
FOUR FRANCHISES AT A CROSSROADS Talk about heroic: Four film franchises, one decade, more than $10 billion worth of theater tickets sold. And more than that, in their very best moments, each of these franchises shown above delivered sparkling adventure and escapism for moviegoers. Now, though, with the decade winding down and all four franchises sitting a nice tidy trilogy, the question must be asked: Isn’t three the magic number? Do we really need a fourth movie from any of these aging popcorn enterprises? Clearly, all of them will be written up in the Hollywood history books but right now the indelicate must be asked: “How can we miss you if you won’t leave?” Last week we gave you an in-depth report on this quartet of mega-franchises and their quests for a fourth visit to theaters. We told you how “The Hobbit” must escape the the towering shadow of “The Lord of the […]
June 01, 2009 | 9:22 p.m.
Alex Pham and Ben Fritz take a look at the latest videogame ventures by Hollywood players, which adds to the long and wobbly history of big-screen specialists in the small-screen sector. Here’s an excerpt from the story in today’s Los Angeles Times. — G.B. The Hollywood moguls behind such films as “The Dark Knight,” “Watchmen” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” are looking for their next blockbuster in a new realm: video games. An increasing number of big shots from the movie business are seeing new opportunities in the $50-billion global interactive entertainment industry. Power producers such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Thomas Tull, as well as hot directors such as Gore Verbinski and Zack Snyder, have all recently dived into the still-growing game market. The hordes descending on Los Angeles this week for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the annual trade show known as E3, […]