By Grace Garner |Staff Writer|
Moviegoers should expect dry humor from a film set in such an arid desert. However, they may be surprised by Paramount Pictures latest effort starring Johnny Depp’s voice acting.
“Rango,” released March 4, features always-quirky Johnny Depp as a domestic chameleon on a quest to find himself.
A true thespian at heart, our protagonist is thrust from his lonely terrarium into the Mojave Desert while acting out a scene with his dear “friends” – or a beheaded, one-armed Barbie doll, a wooden palm tree, a dead bug, and a wind-up plastic goldfish. From the get-go, you understand “Rango” is going to be more of a “grown-up movie” than you thought. Especially after the protagonist asks the disfigured, shirtless Barbie: “Are those real?”
Even while you laugh, you can’t help but ask yourself: Should these kids in here be watching this movie?
Indeed, as the plot progresses “Rango” transforms more into a PG-13 cartoon movie than a now – in your mind – mere PG.
The plot itself is actually quite simple. After making up a few lies and acting as “Rango” – a stage name so to speak – who is all gut-instinct and bravery, his lies become unfurled as the town mayor of Dirt, a wizened old tortoise, steals all the water to build upon a new age of industry and hires Rattlesnake Jake to get rid of Rango. You can only imagine how the rest of the story goes. While the plot is simple, there is a depth to it that only adults could possibly grasp. The questions of “Who am I?” circulate in Rango’s mind throughout the film, a chameleon desperate to be somebody.
Though I didn’t fall in love with “Rango,” the animation was incredible and Hans Zimmer does not disappoint with the score, which was almost too perfect for a cartoon “western.” Movie director Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) does a good job of giving “Rango” action scenes Steven Spielberg would be proud of – and all in cartoon form.
Depp and the rest of the cast (Isla Fisher as Rango’s lizard girlfriend Beans and Abigail Breslin as tough little armadillo Priscilla) reaffirm their voice acting talents, but “Rango” falls short of being a complete success.
Advertised as a children’s film, the PG rating brings into question the mysterious, controversial land between PG and PG-13: Where does the buck stop, before or after Beans spits “Go to Hell!” to Rattlesnake Jake? This is an incredibly quirky movie that is for adults. It is most certainly not universal and if not for its looks and acting talents, it would have flopped. However, if you’re looking for a fresh film chalk-full of bizarre, “Rango” will most likely be right up your alley.
Just remember: Disregard the rating and get ready for constantly saying “Rrrango!” with a Mexican accent – a sure way to annoy friends and family at the drop of a hat.