A chameleon becomes the unlikely sheriff of a small
desert town full of animals suffering a severe drought.
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by John Logan
Starring Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin,
Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Stephen Root,
Alfred Molina, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone
Oscar Wins - Best Animated Film
Despite the fact that it's basically a hybrid of Shark Tale and Chinatown, Rango is a delightfully eccentric family western that features some of the finest animation in film history. My god, this film is gorgeous. The intricacies are to die for, and the incredible ensemble keeps this thing lively, hilarious, and exciting. I was most surprised by the film's tone. This movie is dark. Like, way darker than any kids' movie has any business being. There's bad words, sexual innuendos, murder, and some frightening images involving a very sadistic rattlesnake. This film is a ride.
Meet Rango (Depp). He lived in a fish tank until it bounced out of his owner's car on the highway and he ended up just another desert lizard. After a bizarre encounter with a possum (Molina), Rango wanders into the town of Dirt, where he meets Beans (Fisher), the Mayor (Beatty, doing his best John Huston impression), and a host of weird varmint characters as the film morphs into a traditional western. There's elements of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and a big fat nod to Clint Eastwood that had me beaming. Overall, it's a fun celebration of western flair that deserved the animated film Oscar.
Rango is a fun movie for all ages that will dredge up nostalgia for western fans. The character of Rango is your typical fish out of water protagonist, but Depp gives him a surprising amount of depth. His voice is like Kermit the Frog's goofy cousin, and his arc is pretty satisfying. I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, but here we are.