Rango (2011)

rango poster 2011 movie academy awards
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking movie, fun references to other films

Story is a bit all over the place and not entirely kid friendly

Movie Info

Movie Name: Rango

Studio: Nickelodeon Movies

Genre(s): Animated/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Western/Family

Release Date(s): March 4, 2011

MPAA Rating: PG

rango man with no name homage

Will Rango save Dirt…or destroy it?!?!

Rango is a little gecko with big dreams…who isn’t really Rango at all.  When his world is shattered by the side of a dusty, desert road, a gecko finds himself stuck in the desert and appointed sheriff of a small town called Dirt.  Dirt is run by Tortoise John who seems to have a stranglehold on the town’s water.  When the town’s water disappears, “Rango” is begged to retrieve it, but Rango’s acting and illusions might just catch up to him.

Directed by Gore Verbinski (who also helped pen the script), Rango is a family animated Western comedy.  The film was released to positive reviews and a strong box office.  The movie received the Academy Award for Best Animated feature.

Rango came out when it seems like computer animated films were coming out every month.  I didn’t pay much attention to it.  The first time I watched it, I thought it was decent, but it didn’t really grab me.  The second time I watched Rango, I enjoyed it a lot.

rango man with no name spirit of the west clint eastwood

If this were Heaven we’d all be eating Pop Tarts with Kim Novak

The script is a smart blend of stories to make a completely new story.  You have the imitator sheriff coming in and being elevated by his actions (which all happened by accident) and the story spawns from there.  It taps into movies like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly while also rolling in more modern none westerns like Chinatown (the water storyline) and even Road Warrior (the chase for the empty tank of water).  It does it seamlessly while creating a nice world around the characters.

The movie is gifted with a good cast.  Verbinski brings back Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean to play Rango (and he also physically cameos with Benicio del Toro reprising their roles from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).  Isla Fisher plays the freezing prone Beans with Abigail Breslin as the cactus mouse who believes in Rango.  Other players include Ned Beatty (Tortoise John), Harry Dean Stanton (Balthazar), Ray Winstone (Bad Bill), Alfred Molina (Roadkill), Bill Nighy (Rattlesnake Jake), Stephen Root (Doc), Ian Abercrombie (Ambrose), and Blake Clark (Buford) among others.  Timothy Olyphant gets to play the Spirit of the West who is a physical stand in for Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name “Blondie” character.

rango beans rattlesnake jake

Snakes normally don’t eat beans, but Rattlesnake Jake could make an exception

The movie looks slick as well.  It manages to humanize the characters while incorporating aspects of the animals into the design and actions.  The homages to other films are done skillfully, and they are able to be their own movie while being a fun nod to the classic films that came before.

Rango is a fun and different entry into the animated feature world.  It feels a bit more dangerous than a Disney or Pixar movie, but it also feels a step up from a DreamWorks movie.  It still feels like it was written for kids but adults can enjoy it because of the nods and action (instead of Pixar and Disney films which I often feel have jokes for adults but plots for kids).  Check Rango out, and watch it more than once…it gets better with a second viewing.

Related Links:

The 84th Academy Award Nominations


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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