Depp pleases once again with 'Rango'

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Rango (Johnny Depp), a loveable chameleon with an identify problem, stars in Paramount Pictures' RANGO.

A tale about a small chameleon who becomes stranded in the desert and ultimately begins pretending to be a tough gunslinging drifter dominated Matt Damon at the box office. Whodathunkit?

"Rango" outlasted Damon's "The Adjustment Bureau" by a cool $16 million at the box office and gave star Johnny Depp another notch in his gun belt. Whether he's a pirate, a crazed Gonzo journalist or an animated chameleon, Depp makes every role unique and "Rango" is no exception.

When a small chameleon drifts into town in the desert, the townsfolk are looking for a hero and he's the most unlikely of all to fit such a role. He's more at home attempting to reenact Shakespeare that knocking back drinks at the bar is a dusty desert border town.

Slowly he realizes the opportunity before him and adopts the name of Rango (Depp), a rough and tough drifter hell-bent on action. And just when things look to be going south for Rango when he's challenged to a gunfight, he kills a hawk that terrorizes the town by pure chance.

Soon thereafter, he's named the new sheriff and stumbles upon the fact the town, which relies on water to survive, is close to running dry. As he bumbles his way through, he begins to connect the dots and the dots lead to the town's mayor, Tortoise John (Ned Beatty).

Rango is called out by Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy) about the boasts he made to get the town behind him and is kicked out of town. As he wanders the desert he meets the Spirit of the West, who Rango identifies as the "Man with no Name" and informs him "No man can walk out on his own story."

With the help of a mystical armadillo and moving cacti, he finds the source of the town's water woes, a shutoff valve on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Rango returns to the town to call out Rattlesnake Jake to a dual as he's set up shop as the mayor's muscle.

The distraction allows the town to be flooded with water, with a geyser sending Jake spiraling into the air. The return of the water ensures the town gets back on the road to prominence.

"Rango" is a funny, quirky little film, which capitalizes on the talents of Depp. But be warned, just because it's animated doesn't necessarily make it kid friendly.

More than a few curse words are thrown around in quick passing, but toward the end of the film, the two characters which the scene is focused on throws down "damn" and a "go to hell." While it might not be much for adult audiences, it was a bit much for younger audience goers.

Final Cut: It's genuine quirkiness makes "Rango" a definite pleaser. The story drags at times, but not enough to pull the film down. Plus, a soundtrack from Hans Zimmer benefits the film immensely.

4 out of 5 Stars


Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: John Logan

MPAA Rating: Rude humor, language, action and smoking

In theaters now