Movie Review: Rango

Movie Review: Rango


Rated PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking.
Genre: Animation, action, adventure, comedy, family, western
Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes

Helmore Gore Verbinksi of Pirates of the Caribbean fame directs this animated adventure flick starring the voice of Johnny Depp. Rango, voiced by Depp, is a family pet who leaves the comfort of home in order to explore the outside world. Once on the outside he finds himself in the wild and discovers it’s a wild wild wild world!

Then, Rango finds himself as the Sheriff in the Town of Dirt!

A Cute Cartoon – But Not Really Strong

I have to admit I like Johnny Depp as an actor. So, going into any movie starring Depp, whether he’s in cartoon form or human form, I find myself struggling for balance when reviewing the movie. Depp is such a versatile actor and can do pretty much any character. As a result, I have to keep telling myself don’t be wowed by a movie simply because Johnny Depp is in it. With this in mind, I went into Rango telling myself to keep an open mind and not think the movie is great just because of Depp.

While it’s fun to watch Johnny Depp as a cartoon,
Rango is a cool cartoon, but not really strong.

Johnny Depp lends his voice talent for the main character of Rango, also known as Lars. Depp is his usual entertaining self. But what really makes him standout in this movie is the fact that he plays a number of roles, within his main role. We discover his versatility loud and clear in Rango. He does different voices and moves seamlessly through many variants on this pet chameleon who finds himself thrust into the position of Sheriff in the Town of Dirt.

Other strong voice talent also helps move Rango into the cool cartoon category. Actually, if it weren’t for the other voice talent in Rango it would probably be a total loss. While Depp is good in Rango he could not carry this flick all by himself. Abigail Breslin voices the little critter named Priscilla. While she doesn’t have a really large part, her character, with those big wide eyes, just captures your heart every time you see them. Isla Fisher, who also did the voice of Dr. Mary Lou Larue in Horton Hears A Who works very well as the love interest for Johnny Depps character too. Then there’s Ned Beatty. I mention him last, but he’s by no means the least. Not only is it great hearing his voice as the Mayor, he plays the role to perfection!

A Little On The Slow Side

I’m giving Rango three Lloyds. While it did debut at the number one spot in the Box Office pulling in $38 million, I have a feeling it won’t have much staying power. I believe the box office pull revolved solely around Johnny Depp and also the fact there’s not a whole lot new out there right now when it comes to movies. The story line and plot line are cute, but predictable as well. However, the slowness of the flick drags this movie clocking in at 1 hour 47 minutes out too long. While the length, in and of itself, is not long, there are simply too many times when it seems like the movie grinds to a halt.

If you like the old spaghetti type westerns, you will enjoy Rango. After all, this movie is pretty much a parody of the old genre. If anything, that’s what kept me interested in the movie. It was like a flashback to my childhood days of watching the tacky old westerns on TV. At times it reminded me of the old Bugs Bunny style movies where Bugs would find himself in the old, old, old west dueling it out with the bad guy. Ultimately, we knew Bugs would always get his man.

That’s what kept me watching the old Bugs Bunny shows and that’s what kept me watching Rango.

When it comes to rating, with a PG rating, we have to call Rango cautionary family-friendly. As a matter of fact, at the screening I saw a mother had her young child there and it was simply inappropriate. Not only is it inappropriate for the young crowd, the child was scared during some parts of the movie too.

Remember parents – the rating is PG NOT G.

Just because this is a cartoon, does not mean it’s for young kids. If anything, keep in mind Rango is rated PG for rude humor, action and violence. While I may have compared it to the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, Rango is by no means a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Possibly if it carried a PG-13 rating I would call it family-friendly. But, with the current rating, we have say cautionary family-friendly.

In the end, if you’re a Johnny Depp fan and you like old western type movies, you will like Rango. While it debuted well, I have a feeling it will not have staying power at the box office.

Enjoy the show!
Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.