Johnny Depp lends his voice to the portrayal of the title character, an adventurous family pet who leaves home to learn more about himself, in this family-friendly animated adventure directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean). The star-studded cast of vocal talent also includes Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton, Ned Beatty, Stephen Root and Bill Nighy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

This is a storyline we’ve seen before. It’s classic mythology. Weak protagonist is thrust into being a hero, meets girl, loses girl, faces tough times only to rise again as the hero and get the girl in the process. But it works.

Rango thinks he’s an actor. Right from the beginning, while living in his safe aquarium, Rango lays out the exact story arch that’s about to happen while creating a play. He thinks he’s an actor. When he’s thrust into the desert after the car he’s riding in has an accident, he pretends to be a gunslinging bad-ass in a Western town he finds called Dirt.

The aforementioned storyline unfolds, but it works because we get lost in the characters and the world that drips with detail we seldom see in animation. It’s an old west town inhabited by desert animals. But they aren’t just cuddly bunnies wearing ten gallon hats. Their teeth are yellow and chipped, their boots worn to the soles, the buildings are made with splinter-filled wood, and the animals feel real from each scale and feather. It’s a tough life in the desert, and lack of water and death are central themes. It’s rare in animation targeted at children where characters and creatures regularly die throughout the film, but without it, we wouldn’t get the depth and breadth given to this world.

The film also has an excellent cast, led by Depp, who keep the film fun, fast, with some emotion when needed. This film will bore very young children or maybe scare them. But 10 and older should be just fine.


9 responses to “Rango

  1. On a recent trip to our local cineplex to see Tnagled this film was previewed in the Trailers. I thought the animation looked lovely. Not all fresh and primary like most films in its genre. Something quite sinister in those towns folks eyes.

    Its good to see that it wasnt just the best bits ion the trailer and the film lived up to its promise!!

    Thanks for the review. My girls will be wanting to see this as soon as we can get there


    • Hey Custard,

      Thanks for reading! If you like animation, it’s a treat. Don’t expect the storyline wheel to be reinvented, but to have a good time watching some nice, fun animation with good performances.

  2. Solid review you have hear. I kinda want to see this but I also kinda don’t want to admit to wanting to see this.

  3. Animation rules. I have no qualms about my love of animation of all varieties.

  4. I can’t wait to go see Rango! I was excited about this movie since I saw it in a trailer a few months ago and I’m looking forward to seeing it. It looks like a hoot and a half and a fun time to watch it, and I love the animation style.

  5. Haven’t seen this but excited to. My qualm with animation lately is it either falls too much into three camps:

    “Family Guy” animation…everything looks the same now. Nothing new, and if something new comes along…it’s “Family Guy Animation.” Tired of it.

    “Disney/Pixar” animation. Primary. Cute. To me it’s the “Truman Show” type of animation..nothing out of place, sterile, no edges.

    or…the other end of the spectrum, and that’s the “Tim Burton” animation style.

    All of these are good, but it seems like all of these are overdone. So this is going to be neat to see a little animation that’s part Pixar-ish & “Truman Show”-esque, with just a slight cup full of dirt, ala Burton.


  6. I’ve seen the trailer and am increasingly excited by the power of animation for story telling.
    Sorry but who needs 3D in the cinema (Just open your eyes outside and enjoy the real world – that’s 3D). Please spent more time effort and money on telling us great stories with good cinematography. Or great animation…
    AWW (Apprentice Writer Wales)

  7. I like animation if its done well, has a great script, and great delivery. “Up” is one that certainly fits the bill, and from your review, ” Rango” will too. Based on your 8 of 10 my human says he’ll give it a try.

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