A Epic Animated film that pays homage to Spaghetti Westerns of the Past
Although it might seem a bit premature to say this, I can safely say "Rango" ranks as one of the best animated features of this year. Sure, I have yet to see the other animated films set to be released, but it'll be hard to find one that can top "Rango." After all, it's not often one can find a film that not only mixes great visual aesthetics, but a great character driven story line as well that captures the heart of it's audience. The film not only tells a captivating story, it also pays a great homage to the classic spaghetti westerns of cinematic past. Truly, a must see for the entire family. However, who is this mysterious stranger? What's his name? If you said Rango, then you'd be wrong to assume that. Sure, I know that's the title of the film, but that's not his name.
No, Rango is his stage name that he uses to impress the town. The reality is he's a lizard with no name. Like all famous westerns before, Rango is nothing more than a random stranger who wanders into town. Nobody knows who he really is, or where he's from. However, he reeks of mystery and danger. Who is this gun toting stranger? Is he another outlaw hellbent on running the town dry? Or will he end up becoming the hero that saves the day? Who really knows? However, what is certain is that like a certain actor who played the bad a** cowboy with no name, Rango looks to fill in those coveted shoes.
The story essentially follows a well to do common house pet, whose true name is never fully revealed. However, he lives a simple life of solitude, inside his little glass cage. With nothing more to keep him company than a few simple toys, and his imagination, to keep his mind occupied. Often conjuring up great epic Hollywood tales of heroism, within his isolated little world. However, all that changes when a series of events causes him to become separated from his family. Now, alone in the desert, with nowhere to go. He wanders into a strange and desolate town called Dirt; inhabited with other animals.
In this town, nobody knows who he is, so he quickly comes up with the name, Rango. From there, he boasts about his tales of fake heroism to impress, and gain the respect of the town folk. One could say that the fake tales of heroism that Rango boasts about are no different than a poker player, who bluffs to fool his opponents. However, as the old saying goes about bluffing, you have to be prepared to have your bluff called. Luckily, Rango lucks out on a few incidences, where one would think he'd be shown up as the fraud he truly is. However, like Don Knots' famous western, "The Shakiest Gun in the West", Rango seems to share the same amount of luck, as he's able to save the town based off pure blind luck rather than actual skill. Of course, unlike Don Knots, Rango doesn't have a sassy attractive cowgirl saving his hide, so I guess that's one thing you can give to the little reptile. Blind luck or not, Rango quickly becomes a hero amongst the towns people.
Unfortunately, it looks like his bluff is finally called, when things start to heat up. You see, in the town of Dirt, water is the source of power in the town. He who controls the water will inevitably have control over the town. Thus, when Rango starts to discover the nefarious scheme of one of the bad guy's plan to steal all the water in town, it seemed he might be way over his head. Especially, now that Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy), the baddest and deadliest gunslinger in the west, has been hired to take Rango out. Can Rango summon the courage to become the hero his new found friends have come to know him as? Or will his true colors show, and he'll run like the yellow belly coward he really is? Who's to say? I guess, you'll just have to watch to find out.
I will say one thing though, this film is nothing if not entertaining. Not only was the story genuinely heartfelt and entertaining, it was also hilariously funny too. Audiences won't be able to stop laughing whenever Rango makes a total a** out of himself trying to live up to a lie, yet the film still manages to make his character likable enough, to where you'll still be rooting for him around the end to save the day.
Plus, what can I really say about the visuals of this film? Everything from the way the characters eyes moved, to the scales off the mayor's brow was simply amazing. Combining a surrealistic and realistic style to the character designs that gives "Rango" a feel all it's own. Trust me, you've never seen an animated film like "Rango", as it's truly one of a kind with is visuals and brilliant storytelling.
Unfortunately, the film is a bit dark, at times; especially in regards to some of it's villains like Rattlesnake Jake. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend this film to any parents who would want to take their young kids to see the movie. However, it's still a great film, and certainly earns my vote for best animated feature of the year. If not, then definitely one of the best out there with a rating of four out of four.