An unnamed pet chameleon (Johnny Depp) spends his time setting up plays for himself and whatever he can find in his terrarium. But then he gets thrown out of the car by accident and ends up in the middle of the desert. On his own. In the small town Dirt he first only hopes to find some water but then he realises that it’s a possibilty for him to become somebody – and Rango is born, hero extraordinaire. But something weird is happening with the water in Dirt – and Rango takes it upon himself to find out what that is.
Rango is astonishingly beautiful, funny and a very nice play on Western stereotypes. It also tries to tackle some larger themes (especially about identity) but with less success, at least for its adult audience. Still, put together it’s a wonderful film.
The animation, the character design, the backgrounds – it all looks absolutely fantastic. There were moments in the film where I actually wanted to gasp because it looked that good. [And gasping – much like fainting or blushing – are not in my repertoire, usually. Just doesn’t happen.]
But it’s not only the visuals that make this movie that outstanding. It has a wonderful sense of humor (at times quite adult) and had me laughing out loud at several times. Especially the Mariachi Birds worked very well for me but even the score (by Hans Zimmer) and the inclusion of more famous music pieces had me laughing.
The voice acting was wonderful. In the marketing campaign you only ever heard about Johnny Depp, but there are a ton of awesome people involved in this film, and they’re really good.
The only thing that didn’t work that well for me was the “Bigger Theme”. Rango doubts himself and who he is a lot and the movie obviously tries to say something meaningful about identity and how to be a hero etc etc. But the actual treatment of the questions remains rather superficial. That’s okay, though, since the movie doesn’t need this to work. But it does seem like a bit of a missed chance.
Summarising: An animated movie that will stick around. Definitely worth a watch.