Film Review : Rango

I know you’ll probably feel like I did initially when I heard that there was yet another computer animated movie with talking animals in it about to grace our screens. Yawning was my first reaction. Let me be the first to admit that I was wrong about this one. Not only is it the most gorgeous computer generated film I’ve seen, but it fit exactly with what I’ve been looking for in one of these films. I grew up watching Looney Tunes which always had a nice social bite, and also surprisingly adult sensibilities even within the Three Stooges like violence. For those like me who have wanted to see this kind of Golden Age of animation brought back for us of all ages it is a rare treat indeed. This story is in it’s base form a western, and a damn good one too. It’s not as engrossing as the new version of True Grit, but that may be partially due to the fact that the hero is a chameleon wearing a Hawaiian shirt voiced by Johnny Depp. This is a movie event which can be enjoyed by parents and children alike, but in this unique case, I think, more so the adults. It does carry a PG rating, so you may not want to take the very young. If you happen to be a fan of Sergio Leone films of the late 60’s coupled with a dabbling of Hunter S. Thompson slapstick style comedic violence, you will most likely enjoy this tale. The characterizations that the animators have brought to life, show how much this classical approach is so far superior to the creepy motion capture films of Bob Zemeckis of recent years, and you will find yourself most likely laughing out loud at a few scenes. The voice talent is definitely worth taking note of, with such names as Ned Beatty, Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton, Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, and Timothy Olyphant rounding out the cast. The film is so dense with detail and beautiful desolate imagery, that you could easily watch it twice and still not soak everything in. The partnering of the battle proven American Director Gore Verbinski and Industrial Light and Magic once again fills the screen with state of the art cutting edge visuals. There is your obligatory environmental and political message wound into the narrative, but it feels right, as it did back in your favorite Spaghetti Westerns of old. The running time is a tiny bit long at 1 hour 47 minutes, with a slight dip in the momentum right in the middle, but you’ll soon after that be thrown into some very intense and well crafted action pieces which make up for that lull. If I had to give it a score, I’d say 9 of of 10, and from what I’ve heard so far, I’m not the only one.

Author Bio:

Tim Hoffman has joined in a quest for the truth. Hoffman has worked in the television, video game, and film industries for the past 20 years and brings a unique insight on the role the internet plays on media bias, political opinion, and conservative news. Hoffman is a new media political junkie. He is so "in tune" with the pulse of the internet that the bits and bytes sometimes talk to him in the middle of the night. Hoffman is a Media Studies and Anthropology graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo. He writes from a secure location within the confines of Halloween by the Sea. Tim loves email and can be contacted directly at
  • Rowan F

    Rango is far too adult for a PG rating. In one bit, a kid actually holds a gun up to his eyeball, says, “There’s a bullet in there!”, and starts chewing on the end. Even though most of the mature dialogue (mixing up “anagram” with “mammogram”, for example) will go over a kid’s head, parents need to think twice before bringing them to see this film. Rentals, anyone?

  • duhleila

    Great review, Tim! I totally agree with everything. Especially the “slight dip in the momentum right in the middle…” I would add that if given the choice between coffee & wine before the movie… hit the coffee, I chose wrong. And I totally agree with not taking the little ones… Jake the snake is too real with those eyes!

    • Tim Hoffman

      Yeah but what about the pencil thin mustache ??

  • cah

    Very well written. Plannning to see it and even moreso now. Sent this piece to Jeff Simon, a critic, employed by the Buffalo News and let’s see if he has the same opinion. Doubt it. Tom Baugherly, a Buffalo radio jock canned it but probably didn’t understand it. I’ll take your inside the movie business critique.

    • Tim Hoffman

      it’s probably too adult for both of them.

  • Tim Hoffman

    You should very much enjoy it. These type of films (one’s that don’t conform to the stereotypical Hollywood machine) need as much support as they can get.

  • CCNV

    Thanks, Tim! I plan to go see this one, too. Nowadays, it seems these are the only movies worth watching.