The Wild Animal West

I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Rango, and I can’t believe I waited as long as I did.  It’s such a good movie.

This film is a bit of a reunion for the PotC crew of Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, who obviously work very well together based on their track record.  Throw in Bill Nighy for good measure, and you’ve got the makings.

While it’s a family film, it doesn’t pander to it’s audience.  This is something that Nickelodeon does well most of the time, and this is one of them.  It takes the best ideas of the western and sets them in a wonderful anthropomorphic setting.  The best part of it is the realistic scale of an animal world and the very realistic portrayal of the animals (minus the fact that they walk around on two legs and talk); Rango is set in the real world, but in the animal subset of it.

The character of Rango is really fantastic as well.  He’s a family pet who finds himself in the wild and must find a way to survive.  His only friends as the story begins are a collection of toys left in his tank which he uses to create performance pieces.  This lizard is a born storyteller just looking for an audience, and when he finds himself in a small western town he takes the opportunity to practice his skills as a storyteller and character creator, which of course get him in trouble.

The story takes some of the best elements of the Spaghetti Western, turning Rango (which is not his real name) into a Man with No Name/Support Your Local Sheriff kind of character.  There are even some direct references to the Man with No Name (as well as Hunter Thompson, which is a funny moment early on.

Verbinski likes to create some surrealist imagery in his movies.  He did it in the third Pirates movie and he does it again here when Rango reaches the mythical “other side of the road” at a pivotal moment of self-discovery.

Rango is a fun movie, and it is definitely worth checking out and enjoying with family and friends.

William, the Movie Nerdfighter

who related to early Rango more than he felt comfortable with


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