Published Mar 03, 2011Like the title character, Rango is a chameleon of a film. Seamlessly transforming from a post-modern, existential meditation on the nature of identity to a rip-roaring, slapstick western action adventure.
At first, the opposing narrative forces may leave the viewer somewhat perplexed as to what it is they are watching, but the visually stunning animation will draw you in and the top-notch voice acting helps bring the characters to life and make the film an immersive experience.
Director Gore Verbinski (The Pirates of the Caribbean) makes sure to keep the movie clipping along at a nearly breakneck pace that doesn't leave much time for viewers to get bogged down in the occasional philosophic detour.
After his accidental release onto a desert highway, lonely pet chameleon Rango (Johnny Depp) is thrust into the dangers of the old west and must re-invent himself as a heroic stranger sent to deliver a town from nefarious outlaws and scheming officials. On his journey, Rango is befriended by an assortment of rascally varmints who help him solve the mystery of the disappearing water, save the townsfolk from predators and in the process, help Rango discover his true self.
Some of the themes in Rango may be a little difficult for younger kids to understand, and the first few minutes of the film will leave parents wondering if what they are about to watch is appropriate for the little ones. Rest assured that after a slightly uneven opening Rango finds its footing and provides enough action and pratfalls to amuse the kiddies, though there are some darker elements that may be a little overwhelming for the under-eight set.
Rango is an incredibly well rounded animated feature that will appeal to the young and the young at heart. The quality of Industrial Light and Magic's first animated feature rivals the visual depth of industry leader Pixar, making this film well worth the a trip to the theatre for the spectacle alone. This is a can't miss film for fans of animated movies. (Paramount)