Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Like a strong spice, a little Johnny Depp goes a long way.  This isn't to say he's a bad actor (he's not) but he's drawn to characters that wear their neurosi on their sleeves and clothes like they were nascar endorsements.  So for every Ed Wood (his very best film in my view) there is his take on Willy Wonka (which gave me dry heaves).  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I got tired of his main meal ticket of playing Captain Jack Sparrow about three pirate films ago.

So Rango makes a very nice change of pace.  It's the story of Depp as a chamleon, no the reptile not his usual self, who has some identity issues.  He finds himself due to an accident along the side of the highway in the desert.  Following the advice of a wise but bisected armadillo he travels on.  The desert is a bad place to be for a tiny bright green not so bright lizard, but he somehow survives and find his way to an old west town.  There are problems there involving bad guys and the lack of water.  By dint of luck and delusion he becomes the sheriff then tries to heroically bungle his way to solve the town's problems.

This is a very funny film.  I have to say a lot of the praise has to go to Depp.  I love how he adds a touch of Kermit to his voice work here.  Visually, this film is incredible.  It's one of the very best computer animated films in my view.  It takes some of its visual cues from "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (even with a Hunter S. Thompson cameo) and from every western ever made (even with a Clint Eastwood cameo.)  Some of the film references, like to "Chinatown," will be over the heads of the younger set but it doesn't detract from the over all fun.  Definitely there is something for everybody here.

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