With every new CGI (Computer Generated Images) movie I see (and I see them all), I get more impressed with what they do. It's astounding.
Rango is funny and avant garde. And the reality, the rendering of this super-grungy Western town and the hard-boiled critters of all kinds who inhabit it, it's amazing.
The character designs are outstanding too. Every character, even minor ones, is different and a work of art. "Beans", for instance, the love interest: she's definitely a lizard, and definitely alien to a human, and yet, durn it, she is pretty somehow.
And then there's the lighting. Just look at these, dat ain't no cartoon.
... I love the subtle variations in size and color of the scales.
Not to mention the Acting that the animators do with computer-created faces these days; a host of little subtleties bring over the emotions.
I like movies/stories which have time for some abstraction. This has a bit: for instance in the underground sequence, there's a gigantic eye, the size of a circus dome, which opens in the side of the wall while the villagers walks by. It's beautiful, first of all. And then, nobody pays it any attention, and a moment later, someone says half to himself: "that was a big one". And it's never explained! Love it.
You always see, in the making-of's of CGI movies, the actors standing alone with a microphone, saying their lines. I've always wondered "why don't they bring them together so they can act off each other? It would have much more energy and be much more fun for them." Lo and behold, that's just what they did in Rango, and that's exactly what happened.