After a theatrical pet chameleon is accidently thrown out of his owner’s car, he finds himself in an Old West town populated by desert animals. Wanting to fit in and make something of himself, he introduces himself as Rango, a gun-slinging legend. However, when he is given the post of town sheriff, he finds that his farce may have landed him into more trouble than he can handle.
Complete with tributes to famous cowboy movies and comedy aimed at the many challenges of surviving the desert, Rango is a well-written, beautifully animated movie. Marketed mainly for kids, the amount of references to the old western classics (the ones your parents and grandparents remember) combined with complex dialogue and lots of guns makes this PG film a likeable one for an audience of any age with varying tastes.
The voice cast, led by Jonny Depp, offers strong performances exemplified by the fact that thinking of the actor while watching the movie isn’t as prevalent as identifying the character. Easily fitting into the mannerisms of the desert dwellers they voice, the actors successfully completed the task of bringing the human into the animal.
The animators did a superb job in Rango, getting an A plus in the main challenge of any animated movie: defining and giving life to the characters. Putting the sound on mute, I could easily understand what was happening by how the characters behaved. The amount of detail in each miniscule movement is noticeable and gives insight into just how much time was spent observing these animals.
What makes this movie especially unique is that it takes the classic plot elements made famous in western movies such as Blazing Saddles and those starring John Wayne and mixing them with movies in completely different genres. The first time I saw this, the movie went from strange to stranger when hillbilly moles are seen riding bats that fly remarkably like the tie fighters from Star Wars You would have to watch the film many times to catch all the references.
Unfortunately, with every great movie comes a few weaknesses. The dialogue sometimes gets too complicated. I had to rewind a few parts just to understand what was going on. The story went slow in some areas to the point that it appeared as filler material. The motives of the villains are a little hard to understand, and some jokes, while funny, just didn’t fit in with the story.
Despite that, this movie is well worth watching when you need something for everyone.