Ask anyone close to me – or some of my casual acquaintances, even – and they’ll tell you I’m somewhat of an entertainment encyclopedia. A walking, talking Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), if you will.
Growing up, my siblings and I adored all things Disney to the point that to this day, I find myself quoting dialogue in tandem with even the most obscure cartoon. Needless to say (but guess what I’m gonna tell you anyway), the relationship between myself and animated films is one near and dear to my heart.
Thus, when it came time to pick my first movie review, I jumped not only to one of my most recent viewings, but one of the most disappointing I’ve experience in a while.
For those disinclined to read titles, the movie in question here is Rango, the tale of a chameleon with a flair for theatrics and the down-and-out desert town in which he finds himself thrown into the role of his life – a hero.
Sounds like a precious inspirational tale, sure to be filled with laughs and lessons for all ages, right? Sadly, not so much.
I still hold that Depp is one of the most brilliant character actor/leading men around, and the vocal talents he lent to the quirky lizard glimmered with a charm similar to a certain pirate captain.
Voiced by Johnny Depp, the failing point in his Rango was a believable sense of reality. Okay, so he’s a talking lizard who quotes Shakespeare and wears goofy Hawaiian shirts. I understand dedication to reality makes for boring movies. If you’re going to personify something, and expect us to take the journey of its triumphs and tragedies with full empathy, their traces to humanity must be more real. Rango was lonely, but his lack of companions wasn’t emphasized enough for me to ache for him. He was odd, but not any stranger than your average animated character; he was desperate, but his volume drowned out the pain in his attempts.
Rango’s reptilian love interest, Beans (Isla Fisher) was relatively enjoyable, aside from the tired stubbornly-independent-but-has-a-sweet-side gimmick, and her fellow desert-dwellers had their moments. However, it was the band of narrating owls, exuding everything stereotypical of mariachi – thick Spanish accents, potbellies protruding over their far too tight pants, ridiculously oversized sombreros – which I enjoyed most of all.
That being said, the storyline dragged terribly. The woes of the citizens of Dirt were heightened by the retardation of plot development, but I can only sit through molasses-like storylines if the “humor” occupying that time is enough to actually merit more than the occasional chuckle.
Sidestep the fake-out potential ending with a lofty “make something of your life” message, suffer through another chunk of time, and you’ve made it to the big resolution. Unfortunately enough for Rango, I was happier to see the credits roll than to see that goofy thing get everything he ever wanted.
If you’re a Depp fan, or fancy the opportunity to see an assortment of unsightly animals take on slapstick and try too hard for laughs, it might be worth a Redbox/Netflix try. If you’re thrifty, then I’d advise you to save that $10 at the theater for something else. You’ll thank me.
Kathryn’s Rating: C+