March 8, 2011 > Movie Review: Rango
Movie Review: Rango
By Steve Worley
From the director of "The Pirates of the Caribbean" comes RANGO, featuring Johnny Depp in an original animated comedy-adventure that takes moviegoers for a hilarious and heartfelt walk in the Wild West. The story follows the comical, transformative journey of Rango (Depp), a sheltered chameleon living as an ordinary family pet, facing a major identity crisis. When Rango accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt - a lawless desert outpost populated by wily and whimsical creatures - the less-than-courageous lizard suddenly finds he stands out.
Welcomed as the last hope for the town, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play a new role and in a blaze of action-packed situations and encounters with outrageous characters, Rango starts to become the hero he once only pretended to be.
Rango is a green chameleon who never manages to use camouflage. He displays the traditional comedic antihero themes of luck and serendipity in spite of stupidity yet the film also conveys positive themes of redemption, courage, and duty.
Rango reflects of several known archetypes of traditional American antihero storytelling; undertones of Clint Eastwood, Al Bundy, Jimmy Stewart, and Jack Palance are evident among the voices of the talented Depp and in the visual animated performance. Rango carries the story, while the rest of the characters are incidental to the plot. Notable exceptions are the impressive Rattlesnake Jake voiced by Bill Nighy and spiritual advisor armadillo, Roadkill, voiced by Alfred Molina. Bill Nighy played Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. You might remember Alfred Molina as Dr. Octopus in Spiderman 2.
In comparison with other animated films in the family comedy genre, Rango does surprisingly well. The CGI animation is realistic and in context with characters of the story, about on the same level as the Toy Story series. Rango carries with it strong, positive themes for children in addition to the usual slap-schtick. Rango is entertaining for the kiddies and provides a touching story for adults also. I give Rango an A-. Your family will enjoy this film.