Rango (2011)

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Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88% IMDB Rating: 7.3
AMR Rating: Worth Watching.

Synopsis: Pet chameleon Rango needs to save the water supply of Dirt, a western town controlled by a greedy mayor.

Review: I like complex plotlines. However, “scattered” and “complex” are totally different things. Rango not only needs to save Dirt’s water supply, but also needs to beat the mayor and stop the bank robbers that he accidentally helped. In the meantime, he managed to defeat a hawk and a gunslinging rattlesnake, and meet the Spirit of the West. This film needs some focus in the plot. Most of the characters are interesting: the determined armadillo Roadkill, the slightly crazy Rango, the insidious mayor. However, I thought the mariachi owls that constantly follow Rango are both annoying and misplaced. They were probably intended to be funny, but after every scene I dreaded their appearance to sing another maudlin song. The movie did have some clever and funny lines, fitting for a wild west film. I like the touch of the moving yuccas and the mystery throughout the film. Especially, I love the way problems are solved hilariously, cleverly, and oftentimes indirectly. It makes the film hard to predict.

The mariachi band, as I have complained about above, was terrible. However, the scenery was intriguing, especially the giant faucet at the end. The all-animal cast is also well-designed. Look at Rango’s face. You can tell he is a chameleon, and that he is quite awkward and strange.

A fun film that needs some focus, Rango can only be mediocre. However, as a unique animated spoof of the classic western, there are aspects in it that make it appeal to a wide audience.

Background: It is the first animated film for Verbinski. During voice recording, the actors received costumes and sets to “give them the feel of the Wild West.” The film contains a number of references to movie Westerns and other films, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, Chinatown, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, Cat Ballou, Raising Arizona, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and references to earlier ILM work, including the dogfight in the Death Star trench in Star Wars: A New Hope. Verbinski has also cited El Topo as an influence on the film. (Source)

Rango is the first Nickelodeon movie to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film and the first Nickelodeon movie to be nominated for an Oscar since Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. It is the first non-Pixar film since Happy Feet in 2006 to win the award. This movie has also won numerous other accolades. (Source)

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