Rango just kind of snuck up on me, I have to admit. I had no idea that a film like this was even being developed in the first place, and when it did catch me by surprise by all of a sudden appearing on the circuit with Johnny Depp attached as the lead voice artist, well let’s just say that my curiosity was piqued. After all, when does Mr. Depp ever attach himself to projects that aren’t entertaining?
And after watching it with Chantelle, I have to say it turned out to be quite the entertaining project after all!
While certainly not for kiddies (though there is enough slapstick littered throughout to at least keep the little ones guffawing out aloud every now and then), Rango turns in a well written and engaging Western story, some exceptionally entertaining and well developed characters, and most striking of all, simply superb CG animated visuals, combining to produce something that is both wonderfully unique and thoroughly entertaining all at the same time!
Basically, it takes one pet chameleon with some big existential problems and a passion for acting (Rango), takes him out of his comfy life and thrusts him deep into a dusty old Wild West cowboy scenario where a town is on the verge of collapse thanks to a shortage of water and more importantly, on the verge of anarchy thanks to a lack of a decent sheriff!
Needless to say, this is exactly what Rango needs to reinvent himself, and what follows is a proper adventure in which the out of his depth chameleon attempts to restore law and order for the citizens, save the town by solving the water mystery, try and solve his own existential issues while he is at it, and in the process, find some meaning to his life and maybe even a little to love to go with it!
It has all the hallmarks of a classic Western yarn, even if it does revolve around critters no bigger than your boot and one particularly nasty shooting snake. The plot might be as formulaic and easy to predict as all heck, but the charm and manner in which it is told makes for a thoroughly enjoyable film.
The highlight is of course the wonderful CG animation that produces some of the most lifelike visuals seen yet in a computer animated film (just watch the flowing sand), combined with some simply stunning anthropomorphic character design which map typical Western archetypes flawlessly onto the movie’s lovable cast of critters.
And of course, the strong lead from Johnny Depp just adds that extra layer of awesomeness to what is already a polished film.