Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Featuring:|| Johnny Depp—Rango / Lars (voice)
Isla Fisher—Beans (voice)
Abigail Breslin—Priscilla (voice)
Ned Beatty—Mayor (voice)
Alfred Molina—Roadkill (voice)
Bill Nighy—Rattlesnake Jake (voice)
Stephen Root—Doc / Merrimack / Mr. Snuggles (voice)
Harry Dean Stanton—Balthazar (voice)
Timothy Olyphant—Spirit of the West (voice)
Ray Winstone—Bad Bill (voice)
|Producer:|| Tim Headington—executive producer
John B. Carls—producer
“spaghetti western parody”
Rango, played by the voice of Johnny Depp, is no ordinary lizard. He lives a life of luxury, complete with his own pool and a drink with a little umbrella. When the movie begins, we see him “directing” a film with a cast of characters that range from a wind-up fish to a decapitated Barbie doll without clothes (who is also missing lower extremities and an arm). Rango’s life suddenly crashes around him, and he is thrown into the hot, waterless Mojave desert.
Along Rango’s journey, he meets up with another lizard named Bean (Isla Fisher). Bean tells him there is a town around called Dirt, and when he goes into the town, he learns that water is in short supply. Water is the currency of the town, with deposits being held in the town bank. Rango begins playing in the greatest scene of his life and lies about who he is and what he has done in his life. The townspeople are so taken with him that he is quickly accepted as the new sheriff. When someone steals the only water left, Rango and his newly formed posse set out to find the culprits and bring water back to the town.
There are many very nice elements in this story. The storyline itself is cute and entertaining. Numerous scenes from other movies such as “High Noon,” “Star Wars,” and other westerns will have you watching for more. There are many times during this movie where you are taken back to the days of old Looney Tunes shows. In addition, the movie is well made, and the imagination that went into it is evident everywhere (from the Pepto-Bismol outhouse to the cactus juice bottle). The graphics are outstanding.
However, there are way too many elements that are not suitable for children. The movie is set in a western town stuck in the past. They use many “scenes” from old western movies, but if this is a children’s movie, they should have eliminated some of the language. There are several uses of hell and d-mn. In addition, there is overall potty humor and inappropriate sexual and adult comments. The term lover is used; Rango asks the Barbie doll (regarding her breasts), “Are those for real?”; two women of the town exchange name calling which includes “floozy” and “tramp.” The phrase “wipe my unmentionable” is used. There is a scene where someone says, “he has an exceptionally large prostate.” The town doctor then puts on a rubber glove and asks “who’s ready for an exam?”. The term cojones is used. And it goes on and on throughout the movie.
Other objectionable content: References are made to the spiritual journey on “the other side of the road.” There is talk of the Great Spirit of the West (it turns out the spirit is a Clint Eastwood look-alike dressed from “High Noon”). Rango and his posse join hands to pray to the Spirit of the West. Townspeople gather in a “sacred time,” and march over to the “holy spigot.” Rango repeatedly lies to the townspeople about who he is and his accomplishments.
This movie, also, has western style violence, complete with gun fights, chase scenes, and bar room fights. Smoking and drinking are also shown. An armadillo is run over and lies in the middle of the road with a tire track across his midsection. The snake villain has a machine gun for his tail and is sure to scare younger children.
As John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Rango makes the choice to put himself in harm to save the townspeople who he has come to regard as friends.
Instead of sitting and wanting to watch more of the movie, I sat cringing at all the inappropriate comments. Since I have children, when I do a review of a G or PG movie, they come with me. I am always anxious to hear their “review” of the movie. However, I am sorry that they saw this film, and I cannot give it my recommendation. I know I will be criticized for this, because this movie will be liked by many. However, there are far too many things I did not want my 6 and 8 year old to hear, even if they don’t understand the references. As for older children, they will get those references, and you have to ask yourself if you want to endorse those things so you can watch a “well-made movie.”
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.