Google Search

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rango Review

Rango is an off-beat, funny, eye-popping movie. It's not your average CGI movie. In fact it breaks new ground for the genre with clever writing, quirky characters and extremely life-like animation.

Plot Summary: A directionless lizard, who spends his days pretending to have an exciting life with the objects in his lizard tank, ends up stuck in the desert, in a dusty old town that looks like it was pulled straight out of an old Clint Eastwood movie. In fact, every character in Rango reminded me of stereo-typical western characters from the classic movies. In order to stay alive, the lizard uses his only skill of pretending, or acting like someone else. In this case, he becomes a gunslinger named Rango. Before he knows it he's the sheriff of the town and all the odd townspeople, or towns-small-animals, are expecting him to solve all of their problems. The plot thickens and Rango's lies get thicker too. Before he knows it, he finds himself in a heep of hilarious trouble.

What I Liked About Rango: My favorite thing about this movie was the colorful characters throughout, starting with Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp who did a fine job bringing the colorful lizard to life. His characterization brought back shades of Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show. The numerous supporting characters were a smorgasbord of kooky western characters played by rodents, reptiles, amphibians and other weird critters. I liked most of the writing in Rango. Dialogue was more subtle and more intelligent than what we get in the majority of today's CGI movies. You had to listen a little harder to keep up but I found that quite refreshing. I liked the realistic style of computer animation, so real that most of it looked like film. Only the stylized animal characters gave it away. In fact, the real factor was so strong that most of the towns folk were down right disgusting looking. No cute animated toys or fluffy monsters here.

What I Did Not Like About Rango: There was some spiritual talk about "the spirit of the west" that almost ruined it for me. Keep in mind I had my 8 and 6 year old sitting next to me in the theatre. In one scene the characters said a solemn prayer to this spirit asking it for help. There was another scene where one of the bad guys goes into a southern preacher routine as he deceives the crowd by promising a miracle that doesn't happen. Neither scene went far enough to offend me but I felt they were very unnecessary. There were also several minor cuss words thrown in that I wish my kids hadn't had to listen to.

Who Should See It?: Rango is barely a kids movie. In fact, I say it's meant for older kids and adults who are still young at heart. Many of the jokes and lines will go over the heads of young kids. Several of the characters are scary looking and some scenes are intense and could frighten younger kids. My two told me they enjoyed the movie, but I'm sure they didn't get alot of it and I'm a little worried that my youngest will end up having nightmares after seeing it.

Rango is not a perfect movie by any means. It is, however, fun and very original. If you're old enough to remember the classic westerns you'll get an extra kick out of Rango. There's just enough craziness and silly happenings to keep the kids interested but don't bring the younger ones. 


  1. Good review

    I'm not sure what you didn't like about the spiritual part of the movie. I liked it because it's part of the whole metaphysical thing that comes up in the Westerns in days of Sergio Leone. I understand that it's odd, but considering this is a movie where Hunter Thompson makes a cameo, it makes sense for it to be in the movie. I agree with you that it's not for everyone, and I enjoy it for actually being a mature animated Western. I was afraid that this was going to be just a movie for little kids and I'm happy to report that my fears were not shown to be correct.

  2. Thank you for your comment Anonymous. I personally enjoyed Rango immensely. I liked that it was intelligent and weird and that it was a salute to classic cowboy movies. I only begin to take issue with Rango when I look at it through the eyes of my kids, two of whom are still quite young.