Thursday, March 24, 2011


I thought it would be nice to write up another movie review this week while the movie is fresh in my mind. For my birthday party, I went with my friends to Arizona steak house for a meal and then afterward went to see the movie "Rango." I didn't know what to expect from the film since I had only really seen one or two previews, but the reviews for it were good, and I like Johnny Depp. I must say, I was really impressed with this movie.

The general story is that of a captive lizard that has spent his life pretending to be other people and thinks of himself as an actor. He plays as many different personas, but all of them seem shallow. He realizes that it's because there are no conflicts in his narratives--and upon coming to this realization, his aquarium falls out of the back window of the car when the car swerves to try not to hit an armadillo. He's a chameleon that now has to survive the heat of the desert. Eventually, he does make it to a small town that is undergoing a water shortage. He decides to pretend to be a tough gunslinger and is appointed sheriff of the town. He soon realizes that there's more to the water shortage than it originally seemed, and he eventually has to quit pretending, and either leave the town to it's own devises, or try to become a true hero.

I was surprised at the dark overtones of this movie. Death seems to be a recurring theme throughout the narrative. The band keeps telling the audience that Rango is going to die. The armadillo from the beginning is actually flattened by the car, but somehow pulls itself together and moves on, and yet it becomes a spiritual guide. Rango becomes sheriff by accidentally killing a hawk. And, there's even a scene towards the end where Rango passes out from exhaustion and ends up going on a sort of spiritual journey. The movie definitely has the feel of a Western with those sort of dark overtones, and it's easy to lose yourself in the feel of it and to sort of forget that you're looking at a cast of animals.

The animation of this movie is also very good. It seems computer animated films are becoming better and better as the years go by. I think what impressed me most about this particular film was the textures of the animals used. The fur looked like fur, the dry scales of the rattlesnake looked like scales, and yet there were subtle things about each of the characters that gave them personality, like the line on the scales of the rattlesnake's mouth that looked almost like a thin mustache.

All of the acting was very good in this movie. Once again, Johnny Depp also proves himself to be a versatile actor. All of the voices seemed to fit the characters perfectly. There was lots of humor throughout the film that was delivered well by the actors, and subtle humor that a child definitely wouldn't pick up on. (I must say, it's hilarious to hear "Flight of the Valkyries" played on a banjo.)

My only real complaint about this movie is it is a little slow to start. The first quarter or so of the movie leaves you wondering, "What am I watching," and it does come across as a little boring. This is mostly due to the strange nature of the film. Still, the pace picks up quickly. I think I decided this film was excellent when Rango meets "The Spirit of the West." (Watch the movie, you'll love the reference.) My only other complaint is that the female lizard for some reason has hair. I know that's a small complaint, but it bugged me for some reason. I just kind of wanted to have her hat knocked off at some point so that we could see the hair was attached to the hat, but that's okay.

Overall, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good Western. It's funny, fun, and is definitely worth the money to see in the theater.

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