Review – Rango

The belief that computer animated films are only made for kids has been thrown out the window. The theory has been dead and buried for a long time with the most significant step forward being the opening scene of Disney Pixar’s ‘Up’ which flew over the head of every kid in the cinema but kicked every adults tear ducts in the guts (yes I cried like a baby). The next big step forward is ‘Rango’ that follows the adventures of a pet chameleon Rango (Johnny Depp) who is lost by his owner and winds up lost in the middle of the desert. Rango stumbles upon a lawless Wild West town called ‘Dirt’ and soon finds himself in the shoes of the town’s sheriff trying to uphold the law against some shady characters. ‘Rango’ is a film that leans towards an adult audience and will test the attention span of any kid; it’s a beautifully animated film with great character design and action but suffers from trying too hard to dig deep for emotion.

The computer animation in ‘Rango’ is top-notch and is a solid piece of work from the team at Industrial Light & Magic. The character design is amazing giving the film a unique look that stands out from the familiar looks of Pixar and Dreamworks animation studios. A lot of love is given to each character and they all have their own unique personality brought to life by a talented voice cast that includes Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Monilla, Bill Nighy & Ray Winstone. A big mention must also go to all the voice actors in smaller roles who may not be big stars but deliver great performances all the same, it’s a real team effort that pays off big time.

Director Gore Verbinski (the Pirates of the Caribbean films) injects some great action scenes into ‘Rango’ including an impressive canyon chase which is one of the films highlights. The story hums along at a nice pace but does slow down in parts to the point of dull. ‘Rango’ is a Western and does a great job of paying homage to the genre with every scene full of references; its clear Verbinski is a big fan of Westerns. I enjoyed ‘Rango’ a lot more than the recent ‘True Grit’, call me crazy but I found ‘Rango’ a little more faithful to the genre.

‘Rango’ starts to falter a little when it tries to dig for some emotion in the story. The film is so oddball and quirky that it’s very hard to break from that formula to find the heart and when it tries it comes across as art house crap.
Be warned that ‘Rango’ is one of the most adult computer animated films to date and some kids might find the back of their seat more interesting than what’s happening on screen.

‘Rango’ comes across as more of a ‘stoners delight’ than a kids flick; it’s a lot of fun and one of the best Westerns featuring a talking chameleon that I’ve ever seen.


Popcorn Junkie