By Linda Winsh-Bolard
The animated pseudo-western Rango suffers from inertia. As if the creators got suddenly scared in the middle of working on it: what if Obama is not Rango?
The lizard, lost in a car accident in the middle of desert, grows from a wanna be actor into a veritable legend of the West during the movie. It is Rango’s role to save a small desert town, called Dirt, from crumbling into dust.
The town water supply vanishes and Rango tracks it down while realizing that “who controls the water, controls everything”. True, in all meanings of it. A bit heavy handed as well, never mind whether “water” represents our disappearing waterways, oil or finance industry.
Before this film can become a political satire in western dress, it changes genre and attempts to use the western trapping in a satire on westerns.
Rango becomes sort of animated Shane meeting a version of in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly during High Noon. Indeed, Rango (the film) borrows from everywhere and everything. It borrows so much that the story line is obscured by references to too many other story lines. Maybe the director, , and screenwriter, John Logan, are afraid that Rango (and Obama) cannot become modern Shane saving the land as he, and the legends, promise.
If he doesn’t, what will happen? China Town? It’s hard to imagine Trump as sheriff, even if Palin will do as a gun-woman. We all know who Goldman Sachs is. Killing the hawk might bring the snake. Life is neither easy to solve, nor to save. How do you end a western once you stopped believing in your Cowboy?
Rango’s end sequence brings the best moment of the film. The Rattlesnake tips his hat (a very substantial hat) to Rango as “one legend to another” in response to Turtle’s (unfortunately accurate) assessment that the time of both, Rango and Rattlesnake, is over and soon they will be forgotten.
In real life, neither Rango nor Rattlesnake is more than legend while the Turtles rule. Yet, the rule of turtles is also coming to an end; the natural resources they stole are disappearing fast, there are no new lands to steal and what natives remain are now armed with automatic weapons and bombs.
Having found no believable end, the filmmakers gave the town the expected chance which, taken to logical conclusion, will either drown them, or end as soon as the water is cut off again to be used in chimerical Las Vegas.
It is beautifully animated, with amazing colors and visages, well staged and put together. The music, particularly the owls, is funny and pleasant.
At estimated 138 millions it seems to defeats itself either by default or on purpose: while questioning power and waste, it exudes power and waste. Why so expensive? Why so many big names? Are there no new, cheaper talents? Why not look out of the spoiled into the new?
It poses questions; some real, some just for fun, but answers none, and seems scared of the shadow it unwittingly casts.
Voices of: Rango/Lars , Beans , Priscilla
Mayor , Roadkill , Jake , Doc/Merrimack , Balthazar Harry Dean Stanton, Bad Bill Ray Winstone
Paramount Pictures, directed by Gore Verbinski, written by John Logan.