Rango | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


Comic Chameleon: Bring the 5-year-olds to the funky Rango at your own peril.

Pin It
  • Rango
If you were operating under the impression that Rango might be your typical, formulaic computer-animated feature, take a moment to consider the involvement of Johnny Depp. When, over the course of a 25-year acting career, has this guy been known to take a role that could be called “typical” or “formulaic”?

Depp voices a pet chameleon whose elaborately staged terrarium productions—with little more than a headless Barbie doll and a plastic fish as supporting players—allow him to cast himself as a hero. But when a freeway mishap lands him along the side of the road in the Mojave Desert, a real-life adventure awaits him. The critter-inhabited desert town of Dirt is running out of water, and it may take a stranger wandering into town to give folks hope—a stranger who calls himself Rango.

The ensuing tale is a funky hybrid between a spaghetti Western and Chinatown, complete with a wheelchair-bound villain (Ned Beatty, finding a second career as an animated heavy) and showdowns on dusty streets. Director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), making his first animated feature, treats the story as a full-fledged but fairly bizarre—and usually in a good way—action spectacle that’s not necessarily pitched at kids. You’ve got a band of bat-riding outlaws, a mariachi Greek chorus of owls, more than a couple bits of off-color double-entendre and a whole mess of borderline hallucinatory images. Bring the 5-year-olds at your own peril.

And you’ve got Depp, whose voice performance channels George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? in its dandified hyper-verbosity. It’s orders of magnitude more fun than most mail-it-in animated voice work, which perhaps emphasizes that the supporting voices—including Isla Fisher as Rango’s romantic interest—aren’t nearly as interesting. As is true of many Depp films—including one that gets a great cameo here—you’d better be prepared to surrender to his brand of eccentricity. 



Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty
Rated PG

Pin It

Speaking of...

  • ‘One Change at a Time’

    Refugees recognized by city, mayor amid latest immigration turmoil.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • Not-So-Public Records

    In a debate over city documents, the Jordan River Restoration Network’s years-long battle over GRAMA and its cost could come to an end.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • Wasatch Back Windfall

    Bonanza Campout Festival strikes gold in third year in Heber City.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • More »

More by Scott Renshaw

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Look for the Helpers

    Won't You Be My Neighbor? and the simple heroism of Fred Rogers.
    • Jun 20, 2018
  • Super Sized

    Incredibles 2 delivers a whole lot of action, a whole lot of ideas and a whole lot of movie.
    • Jun 13, 2018
  • Faith Into Action

    First Reformed finds Paul Schrader brilliantly tackling his favored themes of faith and obsession.
    • Jun 6, 2018
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • List We Forget ...

    Celebrating the best of 2016 in film.
    • Dec 28, 2016
  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017

© 2018 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation