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There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Rango


Rango/Lars Johnny Depp
Beans Isla Fisher
Priscilla • Abigail Breslin
Mayor • Ned Beatty
Roadkill • Alfred Molina
Jake • Bill Nighy
Doc/Merrimack• Stephen Root
Balthazar • Harry Dean Stanton
Bad Bill• Ray Winstone

Paramount Pictures presents a film directed by Gore Verbinski. Written by John Logan. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated PG (for rude humor, language, action and smoking).

Is Johnny Depp quietly becoming the “go to” guy in Hollywood? Does anyone see what this talented actor has been doing in a wide variety of movies? Face it, if a producer wants and actor who can disappear into a character, Depp has to be your first choice. If you doubt that, just take a look at last year’s Alice in Wonderland and now this year’s Rango.

I wasn’t going to catch Rango, instead I was going to wait for the upcoming Rio instead. Someone recommended Rango to me however, so on a double bill day, I made Rango the second half of my movie day, and boy am I glad I did! Rango is smart, snarky, satirical and in tune with the audience, always keeping tongue in cheek and one eye looking at the audience sideways. They don’t take it seriously and they know you won’t either.   

You’ve seen all of this before, but not all in the same place. I wondered just how close to Blazing Saddles this movie would be, due to its overused premise, and was greatly surprised to see that even the producers admit the comparisons. But then there are lots of scenes from other movies here, and because it is handled with such top flight comedy one finds that the “copycatting” is easy to forgive.

Rango is a lizard, more specifically a chameleon. He dreams of being an actor and in a sudden change of fate he is thrust into a journey of self discovery and testing that will either end in his reaffirmation or his death. And if you believe his commentators, a mariachi band of owls, you had better measure him for the pine box. 

Rango  trips into a town in the desert that is dry on water and threatened by several types of villains. Being an actor, he chooses to play the role of his life, only to find that it’s easier to pull off an attempt at subterfuge and chicanery when perhaps one is an avatar on the internet in a chat room rather than being in person live with sentient beings like himself.  

There are many other characters here in this desert town, many of which are modeled and “faced” by some old school western archetypes we’ve all seen in movies and TV shows before. I swear I saw Irene Ryan, Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies, and several other faces, many of which are probably modeled after many old west movie actors who may or may not still be with us. But it’s clever, and a loving homage to the actors who have come and gone and those who made westerns what they are in the place of American movie history.   

Rango impresses the town by clumsily disabling an impressively smart hawk (one who understands how to operate a vending machine no less) who has Rango targeted for dinner. The Mayor makes him the latest sheriff and sets him up, though he does not realize this, as a fall guy. Fortunately, Rango is no "Gomer", and he smells a rat before things get too underway. As a result, there are scenes of posse chases in the canyons, high noon face offs, and heroines whose land the government wants. There are also dream scapes, and Salvador Dali like backdrops.   

This was truly one of the great animated movies I have ever seen, and if you miss it, you will be worse off. Not only that, but it scores as a comedy which has writers who kept on going with the humor right up till the end. Not something one usually sees in a comedy, where most have all the comedy writing in the first twenty minuets, and then it becomes a nice story. The last comedy I saw like that was Taledega Nights. Run, don’t walk! (and your kids can come too)

4.5/5 Stars

You’ll Thank me.

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