Skip to main content

I Was Thirsty After This One

Movie Review: Rango (2011)
Summary: Rango is an ordinary chameleon that accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of water and a new sheriff.
Spoilers: none


Rango will be liked by approximately 2/3rds of its viewing audience, more so by the critics who continue to praise it for its artistic uniqueness and verbosely humorous script.

Racking up the bulk of its points, the film is what it strives to be—an off-the-edge-of-the-envelope attention-getter of the Adult Swim crowd that doesn’t even attempt to rely on 3D to be impressive, but still wants to stand out as its own talent show.

Johnny Depp is the voice of “Rango,” a chameleon with a bad case of cosmic dissonance who meets a mysterious armadillo who sets him on a quest that leads to the city of Dirt where, through a bizarre series of unlikely events, he becomes sheriff.

As a bastion of law and order in the eyes of the citizens (consisting of raccoons, bugs, vermin, and amphibians personalized old west-style), Rango’s feigned confidence is to compensate for not knowing his place in the world. His strong determined front is matched only by one discernable soft-spot—his big crush, “Beans” (Isla Fisher), a mouthy spit-fire of a chameleon who is struggling to keep from selling her father’s land in this, an animal’s version of a bad recession.

Rango’s new desert town is in crisis and in need of water. When what remains of their quickly diminishing water supply is stolen, the town is counting on Rango to get it back. The search for the missing water leads our chameleon back home where he begins to suspect the city’s turtle mayor (voiced by Ned Beatty) of foul play.

Rango is definitely not for the kids, which is somewhat of a disappointment since they would appreciate much of the humor. Would that there were musicals or some semblance to a more innocent approach in the narrative, but we get none.

The majority of would-be adult viewers will find no value in the animation, but might not be put off by it, either. The life-parched humor will entertain many, but not everyone, as it goes as far as touching on prostate exams and arrows shot through heads. Some of us will just suffer through it as it boomerangs back to closer-to-home slapstick, involving rats and roadrunners.

Though not as funny as it tries to be, nor as straightforward in its screenplay as the animated wonders we’ve fallen in love with in recent years (i.e. Despicable Me, Megamind), its presentation is extremely high energy.

The story is far more disconnected from reality while the personalities of the animals are either nerdically endowed with unnaturally developed verbal skills (which make the viewer want to tune them out), or densely lacking in personality when it is needed.

While bringing to life a smile-worthy piece of entertainment that will probably not end on a raw note or make you feel like you’ve wasted your time, its divergent parody of westerns in general and Clint Eastwood in specific is part of what sets Rango apart from every other animated film ever made. You might even like it. In so doing, it succeeds when it otherwise would not have.

(JH)

Grade: C+ (2 ½ stars)
Rated: PG (for rude humor, language, action, and smoking)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: “Rango” / “Lars” (Johnny Depp, voice), “Beans” (Isla Fisher, voice), “Priscilla” (Abigail Breslin, voice), “Mayor” (Ned Beatty, voice), “Roadkill” (Alfred Molina, voice), “Rattlesnake Jake” (Bill Nighy, voice), “Doc” / “Merrimack” / “Mr. Snuggles” (Stephen Root, voice), “Spirit of the West” (Timothy Olyphant, voice)  
Genre:  Animation / Action / Adventure
Trailer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…