Rango film review: Animated feature fit for adults

Jose Solís, TheCostaRicaNews.com

rango movie poster

Rango is probably not a film for children. Its a classic Western film with a large amount of mature jokes, peyote inspired sequences, and unattractive characters, which makes it more attractive for mature audiences.

The film follows the title character, a pet chameleon with an identity crisis, who one day finds himself lost in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He meets a lizard named Beans, who takes him to her town: a dusty, brown village appropriately named Dirt. Before he even arrives, the film has already made nods at Alejandro Jodorowsky, Shakespeare and Sergio Leone.

Once in the town, the chameleon realizes he can become whatever he wants and start anew. He calls himself Rango and proclaims to be the biggest hero the Old West ever saw. Soon he’s made town sheriff and is forced to help the town fix its water crisis (in the movie, all the animals use water as currency, making for a cute take on eco-friendliness and showing children why water is important.)

This leads to a series of episodes in which the heroes must encounter corruption, face the battle between progress and tradition…and in a nutshell recreate the concept of the old fashioned Hollywood Western, there’s even a cameo from a Clint Eastwood-like figure that will please adults more than it will kids.

That’s just the thing about Rango, it’s a marvelously crafted film (some of the landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful) but like its main character it’s confused about where it wants to go. Is it a film for grownups? No, because it also recurs to slapstick and scatological humor. Is it a film for kids? Not really, because it throws out so many film references that they will most likely be bored through large chunks of the running time.

Perhaps the best way to go about this movie is to enjoy it for what it is and let yourself be pleasantly surprised by its strokes of brilliance. There’s a sequence straight out of Apocalypse Now that will make you feel excited as a kid…of course a kid with very mature tastes.

Rango now playing in theatres in Costa Rica
Official Website: http://www.rangomovie.com/
Director: Gore Verbinski
Producers: Blind Wink, GK Films, Nickelodeon Movies
Cast (voices): Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Claudia Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Isla Fisher, Johnny Depp, Ned Beatty, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant, Timothy Olyphant