In Theatres: 
Mar 04, 2011
Running Time: 
107 minutes
How the times have changed...

Rango is the first animated film to have "smoking" in its MPAA rating's description.

When it comes to the Mojave Desert, water is the most important commodity. For the small, animal town of Dirt, their way of life revolves around the precious resource. Unfortunately, the taps have started to run dry, and water is becoming more and more of scarce, leaving the town in disarray. The residents need someone they can believe in, someone they can trust. They need Rango.

Rango (Johnny Depp) used to be living a peaceful life inside his aquarium with his friends, a windup fish toy and a Barbie doll torso that’s missing a head. Then while on a family road trip, a near collision sends his aquarium shattering to the blistering pavement.

Wandering the desert, Rango comes across a fellow reptilian named Beans (Isla Fisher) who leads him to Dirt. Since no one knows who he really is, Rango gives himself a new identity; a rough n’ tough, one shot gun slinger from way out West. Naturally, the townsfolk are impressed and make him their sheriff. Now the pressure is on for Rango to solve the town’s water crisis and save the day.

As an actor, Johnny Depp has always taken on many of the more eccentric roles such as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland or Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Even Captain Jack Sparrow has his own oddness surrounding him. It should come as no surprise then that Rango is just as quirky even though he is computer animated. It’s evident that director Gore Verbinski made him out to be a Western version of our beloved pirate captain, complete with mannerisms and all.

What makes Rango work so well is that it caters to both kids and adults alike. Children will become enthralled with the cowboys tale of adventure, love and conspiracy while adults will see their favorite Westerns come to life once more.

If you’ve seen any major Western flick, you can bet that there’s a reference somewhere in Rango. The film features a showdown at high noon, riding off into the sunset, and many other old Spaghetti Western favorites. Also, what kind of movie would it be if it didn’t have some allusion to Clint Eastwood? While he doesn’t make an appearance himself, Timothy Olyphant does his best Eastwood impression as the Spirit of the West.

The various critters Rango meets along the way all are adapted to fit perfectly into the storyline as well. Rattlesnake Jake, for instance, has his rattle replaced with a Gatling gun. There’s also Roadkill, a wise armadillo who’s missing half his torso. Each character is funny in their own way brings something new and exciting to the film.

Rango revitalizes the Western genre with its riveting storyline and compelling characters, adding a new twist to a classic tale. With a voice cast consisting of Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina and more, you can’t go wrong. Grab your hat and saddle and get ready because there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Rango.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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