When Rango, a lost family pet, accidentally winds up in the gritty, gun-slinging town of Dirt, the less-than-courageous lizard suddenly finds he stands out. Welcomed as the last hope the town has been waiting for, new Sheriff Rango is forced to play his new role to the hilt.
10 Feb Rango (2011)
It is possible to decorate something ugly with beauty. It will still be essentially ugly, but have some attraction. Likewise, it is possible to have an ordinary movie, borrowing from others in an ordinary way, but to have some clever elaborative filmmaking.
Verbinski is something of a genius at this. His charter was to make a safe cartoon, and that means you assemble from known parts. Nowhere is this more routine than in the western. So what does he do? He borrows in the open, making each one a small insider joke. There are a spectrum of these, some overt, others subtle so players at any level can enjoy.
So he has to start with the notion that this thing is fractionally folded, in other words it has story bits lent from all over. This notion is conveyed by a frantic, schizophrenic introductory performance. Our main character is a chameleon, wink, wink. Even this is modelled after Robin Williams‘ intro from ‘Aladdin.‘ Once the story proper begins, we have a sequence of references to prior Depp films, including one never finished (‘Don Quixote‘), one where the writer is the subject (‘Fear and Loathing‘) and even his obscure Kustarica film.
Having set this deeply self-referential tone, it is safe to drag in the workhorse elements of other films, tacked onto the ‘Chinatown‘ storyline.
Posted in 2011
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.