Rango – Film Review

Written for BA (Hons) Falmouth Navigator

Director: Gore Verinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Ray Winestone, Alfred Molina
Known for his eccentric list of on-screen characters, which have seen him enter the shoes of Captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka and the Mad Matter, Johnny Depp’s lastest outing sees him take control of an unexpected personality; a computer-animated chameleon.

Teaming up with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp finds himself as Rango, a pet chameleon who lives in a glass terrarium. Unexpectedly finding himself in a town populated by various desert critters that soon become a series of characters seen in a traditional Western, Rango’s larger than life ego soon takes the better of him. On becoming the Sheriff-like role model of the streets, Rango soon realises the ‘good guy’ role does not always go down well.

Early teasers of Rango could suggest that this is just another computer-animated children’s picture. It’s not however. Set in a frontier town called Dirt, Rango could give Ethan Coen’s 2011 True Grit a run for its money. Featuring all the wild west figures, from the cigar-chewing major to the weaselly undertaker, British talent is showcased here with Bill Nighy, Ray Winestone and Alfred Molina all lending their voice talents to the variety of mangy looking critters.

Although marketed for the younger audience, the majority of Rango’s script reflects current big issues. Water is seen a ‘precious commodity’, like oil is both here and in Europe. Whilst the business tycoon is portrayed as the villain.

Rango is the title, and Johnny Depp is the personality that steals the show. Allowing for a new approach, Depp’s computer generated acting début has been thirty years too long in his acting career. Portraying a character that could easily take form of Depp in a second life, Rango the pet chameleon will always be remembered as the intelligent and witty character that Johnny Depp is renowned for.

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