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