Animated western film brings Coen style comedy to PG crowd

Cristina Vasquez-Muniz
Entertainment Columnist

With the latest in CGI animation, Rango is not only an incredibly well-made movie visually, but a rambunctious comedy in the quirky style of the Coen Brothers.

Johnny Depp, the voice of Rango, and director Gore Verbinski, who last worked together on the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, make this as charming and visually pleasing as their last collaboration. Rango has the same outrageously entertaining and goofy traits as the first Pirates movie, but in my opinion it is even better. This movie is absurd and hilarious, and makes for a fun movie going experience.

Rango tells the story of a lonely unnamed pet lizard with big theater dreams, who finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert. He meets a run over armadillo, voiced by Alfred Molina, who is on some kind of a mystical spiritual journey. After an unusual desert dream, this lizard meets Bean, a girl lizard (voiced by Isla Fisher) who takes him back to her small dying western town. Here he tries to help the town with their ever-growing water problem, and meets many different desert creatures with personalities befitting their nature, from rats to eagles and snakes.

The randomness of it all, much of it coming from the Mariachi band of owls who narrate Rango’s every move, make this a movie that will be enjoyed primarily by teens and adults. The jokes allude to something that will pass way over the heads of children, but it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it.

What I loved about this movie is the allusions to other great movies, especially the many Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas parodies. Rango mixes what’s great about westerns like True Grit, with that trippy absurdness that you see in Fear and Loathing.

The animation in Rango is impressive. Near the middle I found myself forgetting that these animals weren’t real because they look so well done. A hard thing for animators to achieve is getting the audience to care about the character, but in Rango they succeeded, primarily because of the spectacular voice acting and quirky yet lovable characters.

Rango proves that a good animated movie doesn’t have to be in 3D. The animation and cinematography (yes, that works in animated films too) in this movie are unmatched. This is the latest in computer animation, and probably the best graphics out there.

This PG Nickelodeon movie lasts 107 minutes, staying fun and enjoyable the entire time.

There is only one thing that I would say against it, other than a lackluster ending; this movie isn’t great for very conservative parents. There’s smoking, a few curses, and jokes that the little ones just won’t understand, but if you’re like me and just want to go out and see a good, funny movie that isn’t predictable and boring, then Rango is perfect.

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