The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

I’m sure it’s a good fit for western fans

with 8 comments

If I was a fan of western movies, I’m sure I’d love Rango to pieces. It’s not only a standard western story; it’s also teaming with references to other iconic western movies, making a beautiful homage to the genre as a whole. There are Easter eggs everywhere for anyone with the knowledge it takes to spot them.

The problem is that while I can enjoy occasional westerns, I’m not a dedicated fan, which means that most of the eye winking to various other movies passed me more or less unnoticed. It probably says more about me than about the qualities of Rango, so if I come out as negative, don’t listen too much to me. I’m probably totally wrong.

My mind tells me that this is one of the better animated movies we’ve seen in recent years, at least as far as grown-ups are concerned. (I doubt it’s very much fun for anyone under 12, unless they’re western fans).

From a technical aspect there’s very little to complain about. The characters, based on the various animals you’ll find in a desert, look completely different to what we’re used to. The lack of cuteness is refreshing. The animations are well done, the settings are beautiful and the music is fine.

But if I’m honest I found the story lacking. It didn’t bring anything new to the table, for all the running about, it didn’t pull me in and I’m certain that in a month I’ll have forgotten the plot as well as the characters completely.

The biggest problem was probably that Rango was unlucky and got a bad position in my movie-watching queue. It had only been a few days since I fell in love with Toy Story 3, and that experience was still lingering in my mind. It was inevitable that Rango would come out short in a comparsion.

There was one line in Rango that grabbed me, one line that hit a nerve, one line that is worth some further contemplation. It’s just a few words, uttered by The Spirit of the West:

“No man can walk out of his own story”

That’s beautifully put. But it’s not enough to save Rango from getting an average rating.

Rango (Gore Verbinski, US, 2011) My rating: 3,5

Written by Jessica

September 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Rango

8 Responses

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  1. I’m a big fan of Rango. Seen it three times now, and it’s one of my top films of 2011 so far. I love the wordiness of the dialogue, the cultural and genre references and the way it gives a lot of characters a unique voice. The animation is also superb. I think it misses a beat when it brings in Rattlesnake Jake, but the central action sequence, for me, was amazing! I understand your thoughts, but this has Best Animated Feature of 2011 locked up, I think! 😉

    Andrew Buckle

    September 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

    • I agree completely about the animation. It felt inspired and artistic and grabbed me from a visual point of view right from the start. It was just that the rest didn’t connect to me, sadly enough. I reckon I have to work a bit on my relationship with westerns.


      September 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

  2. I am with Mr Buckle above. I loved Rango and the weird thing is, my girls (4&6) loved it too. I thought it was going to be too dark and scary for them but they didn’t even flinch.

    All I have to do now is shout ‘RANGOOOO’ and they start singing the mariachi song!! LOL Super sweet


    Scott Lawlor

    September 14, 2011 at 6:45 am

    • Cool! It’s so lovely when you see something together with your kids and you all get enjoyment out if it. My kids are a bit older now. We watched Midnight in Paris together the other day. And everyone enjoyed that too, even though we didn’t bring any song with us from it. It made me a happy mother.


      September 14, 2011 at 7:10 am

  3. Reading some amazing reviews of Rango I went in expecting a lot, especially since I do enjoy westerns.

    And it’s a good movie but it wasn’t great as I expected it to be, Finding Nemo or Shrek are a lot better.


    September 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    • Yeah, that’s what I think too. You and I seem to agree a lot about movies. 🙂


      September 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

  4. Rango is great. I like a lot of the modern and classic era westerns, though I’ve not seen any of the spaghetti westerns that this apes the most. That’s a big whole in my movie-watching career.

    Alex Thompson

    September 15, 2011 at 2:26 am

    • Maybe I need to confront my western issues. Rather than avoiding them perhaps I should run my own little western marathon. Who knows what love may grow from it?


      September 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

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