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  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Best animation movies: Rango
Photograph: Paramount Pictures

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Existential westerns are nothing new, but it’s hard to recall one in which the conflicted hero was a chameleon. In this animation from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp voices Rango, a pet and wannabe actor who is marooned in a desert and stumbles across a frontier town running low on water. Reinventing himself as a hero who killed seven outlaws with a single bullet, Rango becomes sheriff and starts to tackle the drought problem.

There are some wonderful things in ‘Rango’: the dialogue is witty, the animation is dizzying and the action is stunningly choreographed. It’s a film of astounding detail, from the marks on Rango’s skin to countless little in-jokes and references. But there’s the problem: the film is so convinced of its genius, throwing in a twist from ‘Chinatown’ here, a cameo from Hunter S Thompson there, that it feels pleased with itself. The idea of the tortured thespian chameleon seems deep at first, but it becomes laboured. ‘Rango’ would have worked well as a ripping, family-friendly tale packed with incident and humour; in trying to be too clever, it risks alienating its audience.

Written by Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Friday 4 March 2011
  • Duration:107 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Gore Verbinski
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