Rango isn't your average animated film. That fact will become abundantly clear during Rango's opening monologue amongst his "friends." The film is actually more adult than any of the trailers let on. Within the first ten minutes of the film, Rango has a rather lengthy conversation with some fresh roadkill. In addition to that, the last half of the film is much darker than the first half. Maybe it's the countless number of bats with Gatling guns strapped to them, Rattlesnake Jake being one of the most menacing animated villains in years, the film using its fair share of both "hell" and "damn" quite a few times, the film not shying away from the use of nooses, or, God forbid, animated characters smoking, but Rango just doesn't feel like an everyday, run-of-the-mill film put out by Nickelodeon.
I quite liked this movie, but I get the feeling that I was largely missing the joke. Much as I love children's movies, I've never been a fan of westerns which is the club to which this film belongs. Still, it's a good story with a brisk structure, good performances, engaging characters and it's all beautifully animated. The crackling dry desert is really richly rendered and it's easy to empathize with the film's parched characters. I really can't deduct points for this film not being my cup of tea, because what it does, it does really well. I quite enjoyed it. No matter how you dress him up, Johnny Depp is always a pleasure to watch. The visual gags are all strokes of comedic genius and are reason alone to see this film. They all land perfectly. Hunter Thompson's and Clint Eastwood/Timothy Olyphany's cameos also really amused me to no end. Gore Verbinski, it would seem, is an all-around very adept hand