So I finally had the chance to watch the Academy Award winning film Rango tonight. I had never seen it because a bunch of my friends at the time were very offended by it, so I never bothered.
I wish I could ask them what it was that offended them because it is definitely a very strange movie but I wasn’t offended.
That said, I didn’t really care for it either. The artistic style I found off putting and there is a certain garishness to the story, dialogue I didn’t like.
It is a very strange movie and I appreciated some of the risks they took but it is not a pleasant film to watch. I don’t know if that makes sense but sometimes you look at a piece of art and you can see it is ambitious and groundbreaking and yet find it disgusting at the same time. That’s what Rango felt like to me.
It’s about a pet lizard named Rango who is abandoned in the desert. There are a lot of surrealist moments at the start with a armadillo that has been run over but is still alive who is delusional and then other animals he meets and then he is chased by a hawk in a long sequence. The story takes a long time to get going but eventually he makes it to an old west town called Dirt.
Everything in Dirt is ruled by water and there are a lot of bad guys- a Gila monster (Ray Winstone), a desert turtle (Ned Beatty), a rattlesnake (Bill Nighy), a mole (Harry Dean Stanton), a hawk that can’t speak, and a bunch of rats that I think were bad. Honestly I lost track after a while. There were so many characters and the story didn’t make much sense. Rango becomes Sheriff of Dirt and I guess that was explained but I missed it. But he fights outlaws and there are bar room brawls and standouts.
There is also a girl iguana called Beans who’s father owned land that the turtle tries to get her to give up throughout the movie. She is the only female character and an obvious love interest for Rango but she is treated in the movie like a man and so there is no chemistry or witty banter between the two. Honestly it seemed like Rango was in a different movie than the rest of the characters. It was weird.
There is a vault that is opened which has the town’s water and the bank manager is killed and the turtle controls the vault. But they end up with only 6 days of water left.
About an hour into the movie they start on a journey to find water and I started to enjoy it more. There was more of a traditional narrative as opposed to the randomness of the earlier part of the movie. It is also a movie set in modern times so why can’t they get the water? It is also not like Great Mouse Detective where humans are living in the town and animals. No, this is just a town for animals. But it is set in the old west but not really but why?
It was just a confusing movie and I didn’t think it was funny or aesthetically pleasing. Even the way Rango’s eyes moved I found kind of unsettling and distracting. It was like looking at someone with a lazy eye (I have a lazy eye so I know of what I speak) and they never look you straight in the face but their eyes are constantly moving. There is also 2 scenes where a hawk (long scenes) chases Rango in a bottle and a vending machine that do nothing for the story.
I’ve rarely been more befuddled by a film. I guess it is one that just doesn’t appeal to me. I can see why others who appreciate randomness and the type of art love it. And if you are super knowledgeable about westerns than you might like it. Not everything has to be made for my aesthetic but it would have been nice to have at least a story I could follow with characters that made sense. I think I am pretty open minded when it comes to artistic expression and creative films.
As it is, its too cluttered, confusing, and convoluted.
Also, who is this movie made for? It’s not adult enough to be like a South Park or ‘adults only’ animated movie. But I can’t imagine any kids following the plot and myriad of characters or getting any of the jokes. Part of the problem is kids haven’t seen the Western movies it constantly spoofs. There is even a Dirty Harry cameo from Clint Eastwood. Most young adults haven’t seen many westerns let alone kids. I wish I had seen more Westerns and it is on my list so I think a lot of the homages and spoofs were lost on me. I don’t know. I just don’t get who the movie is geared towards?
It kind of felt like they dumped all their ideas into a canon and then just put it all on screen without regards to a cohesive story or characters that made sense or we could keep track of.
Giving a grade is tough because it is thoughtfully made but it just didn’t work for me. The last 45 minutes it gets better but I didn’t care for it. Sorry!
Overall Grade- D+
18 thoughts on “Rango Movie Review”
Even though I knew quite a few people who liked this film, I wasn’t a big fan of it either. I definitely disagree with it winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Honestly, I’d have given that to Kung Fu Panda 2 or something like that. Oh well!
I agree. That’s who I’d pick although I haven’t seen the 2 foreign nominations from that year (on my list to see). Even Puss and Boots has a better story and made me laugh more.
It’s strange was watching a bunch of reviews from back then and they all were raving and I’m thinking “did we see the same movie?”
Hmmmm! That’s very interesting.
This has got to be the single worst movie review ive ever read. Not only does this movies beautiful and groundbreaking take on the western genre as well as talking animal films explore the deep recesses of the mind and what it means to be SOMEONE, to BE a HERO, but it does it in a way that everyone can enjoy. Its visuals also stand up today in 2020, and because you find it OFFPUTTING I implore you to go to your local Disney outlet and surround yourself in fantasy. Rango shows reality, nothing is symmetrical, and nobody cares about you unless you do something for them. Only cream and bastards rise. Also I can clearly tell that you barely payed attention to your viewing of Rango as you called it confusing and misnamed the titular character. HE ISNT A PET LIZARD NAMED RANGO! He becomes rango when he becomes a hero and goes to save Dirt. We never find out his name as a pet. This movie isnt confusing, its a story of poverty, capitalism and finding yourself. You obliviously arent qualified to review film so I would appreciate it if you would abandon the media going forward.
We obviously greatly disagree on this film. Thank you and have a nice day
I really couldn’t agree with you more with you. I remember watching this in a theater when it first came out and I was only 12 back then. This film was a fantastic peace of art and it speaks so highly of the work the artist did when it still hold up in 2021 compared to the many animated films from 2011. The story is phenomenal and there are many great lines in the film. This film unfortunately has been forgotten by many, but the academy award was very well deserved.
Thanks for sharing your opinion in such a thoughtful kind way. I’m so glad this film spoke to you as I know it did many. Take care
Rachel has the simplistic writing style of an 8 year old and is probably more suited to reviewing movies or pop up books aimed at her particular demographic.
LOL. I do like pop up books
Thank you Concerned Observer and Peter for your spot-on observations. Rango is simply the best, cleverest, wittiest and funniest animated film I’ve ever seen. Rachel, I’m sure you’re a very ‘nice’ person but please stick to reviewing kiddie movies for kiddies to read, you are COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR DEPTH with a sophisticated film like this.
LOL. Oh you capitalized your disdain. Now I must listen. I made many points on why Rango doesn’t work for me in the review. If you disagree that’s fine. I’ll continue reviewing kiddie and nonkiddie films alike. Thank you very much
I was wondering what you meant when you said the female character was treated like a man the whole film. I’ve been reading a lot of reviews of this movie for an essay I’m writing and I think this was the only point I was a bit confused about.
I appreciate the question. It’s been so long that I cant exactly remember. I think the female character was bland and did nothing to stand out. Let me try and remember
Rango was a weird funny cool animated looking movie for the most part Johnny Depp did perfect voicing on Rango. and Rattlesnake Jake was a Very kool villain Bad guy too! Mayor was rich and evil\
Bean was a hothead funny female lizard and froze up bruh