March 20, 2011
"Rango" tells about a lonely pet chameleon with an active imagination who was one day suddenly thrown off his owner's car, and into the real world. His tall tales of deadly exploits make him the sheriff of a lawless rundown town of Dust in the Mojave Desert, which was having a water crisis. When the bad guys steal their last five days supply of water, Rango must now walk his talk and apprehend the bandits.
This was a very strange animated movie. I do not think this was for kids at all. The theme and story were very mature, even the language (with minor cuss words). The drawings are not at all what we would traditionally call "nice." The characters (lizards, moles, voles, gophers, bats, snakes, etc...) were all not exactly pleasant little critters of the desert. There were scenes of hard drinking, cigar smoking, gun violence, morbid hangings and even a rather raunchy scene with a naked Barbie torso. I don't know if they thought the image of a armadillo gored in the midriff still talking was supposed to be funny (it wasn't to me).
Rango himself is written and illustrated in a very irritating way. It was uncomfortable to look at him or those stupid things he was doing. It was as if Mr. Bean became a lizard. I don't know if knowing that it was Johnny Depp voicing Rango would really help. The lead female character Beans (voiced by Isla Fisher) looked like a creature from "Avatar," but I have no idea what animal she was supposed to have been. Those momentary spells where she would blank out were more disturbing than funny.
There were some good points too in this Gore Verbinski (of "Pirates of the Caribbean" fame) film. The cameo tributes to Westerns were good, like Morricone's music and Clint Eastwood. The villains were seriously well-written, especially the oily Mayor (Ned Beatty) and the scary Jake (Bill Nighy). There were some pretty witty one-liners throughout the script. While "ugly", the details in the animal characters is admittedly intricate and shows a lot of hard work by the animators. Still overall though, I would not exactly call watching "Rango" a good time.