March 20, 2011
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It seems hard to believe that Johnny Depp hasn’t done more voice work for animated films. His last foray into animation was Corpse Bride, a delightful Tim Burton stop-motion adventure. Here, Depp sticks to the more light-hearted of the toon world.
Rango, a chameleon looking for adventure, played by Johnny Depp is searching for more depth to his existence. While acting out in his cage, he demands a more exciting world. Seconds later, Rango is sliding down the highway on a piece of glass, abandoned by the family who never notices his absence. Now, stranded in the middle of the desert, he searches for water. Along the way, a wise armadillo points him toward the town of Dirt. Once there, Rango tries to impress the locals until a more serious problem comes along. The town is experiencing a horrible drought, one that could kill the town over with thirst. He quickly becomes the sheriff in charge of solving the mystery.
I admit, I went into the movie a tad curious about how this movie would unfold. It has got a lot of positive reviews from critics, and looked like a simple kids’ movie. What it turned out was a charming and pleasant two-hour movie that thankfully ignores the allure of 3D. Gnomeo and Juliet had a similar concept, but that film ended up in 3D anyway, cheapening the delightful film (it’s better in 2D).
Rango has a few nods to filmdom’s archives. Timothy Olyphant voices The Man with No Name from Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy; Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas appear in a blink and you’ll miss it cameo; and rest of the film borrows heavily from the western genre. But each cameo and nod to those films winks to the audience as an homage to the source material. Nothing about the film feels fake or disingenuine. Director Gore Verbinski and the script allows the characters to flourish and take shape. A delight to watch, fun for all ages. 3 out of 5 stars.