Rango, Johnny Depp


Directed by Gore Verbinski. Starring Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina.

The fact that it has Johnny Depp in it is enough of a reason for you to go watch Rango. But this ground-breaking animated film that pays homage just as well as it parodies the long-forgotten Western genre is much more than just a cutesy little kiddie film.

A chameleon aspiring to be an actor and longing to blend in as well as to break out of his civilised little world is accidently set free from his glass cage and thrust into a Wild West town called Dirt. The dilapidated and water deprived town is badly in need of a hero. Falling right in to his lap, our intrepid chameleon dons the name Rango and becomes the town sheriff.

Depp’s characteristic voice, the exceptionally well-written script by John Logan and a masterfully crafted story by Gore Verbinski (Depp’s director on the Pirates of the Caribbean films) grip you from the very beginning. The amazing attention to detail — glass bottles, water and an assortment of creatures — makes one feel that these animated characters have been transported in to a real live world. It’s absolutely visually delightful. That is of course if you aren’t averse to reptiles with sharp shooters!

The filmmakers have borrowed references and characters from several classic Westerns and you wonder how many of the terms and allusions most of today’s youth would get. But true Western film buffs will have a field day though they might be a tad disappointed that Clint Eastwood didn’t play a part. Hans Zimmer’s music complements the spirit of the West wonderfully making this little adventure to save a town from extinction magical. It’s also a scathing comment on development (something we’ve seen in last week’s brilliant animated film Rio) and man’s wanton disregard for ecology and nature.

Philosophical, thoughtful, a bit dark, taking time to pause for effect and perhaps a tad intellectual, Rango represents a sort of grown up animated film in both look and feel. Technically and emotionally, this film kicks the dust into the faces of many ‘real’ Hollywood films. And to think that we in India are still struggling to achieve decent animation and stories. Sad that it’s our very own Indian studios that work for Hollywood’s creations but we can’t even make them work half as well for our own moronic stories (Roadside Romeo for god’s sake).

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