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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Madrid, Cienna
Date published: May 18, 2011


Rango has the best opening for a kids' flick that I've ever seen: a slowmotion CGI car wreck that throws a lonely, captive chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) from his shattered terrarium onto the open desert road. The talking corpse of an armadillo (Alfred Molina)-who has tire tracks running through his abdomen-urges Depp, the lizard, to head on out into the desert on a vision quest and "find" himself. And so he does. On his quest, he comes across the town of Dirt, a drought-plagued town populated by a freakish assortment of animals-think toad prostitutes, blind moles, and a macabre-looking pigeon with an arrow through its eye. Here, through bravado and lies, the chameleon transforms from pet to hero. He becomes Rango, a sheriff-lizard with a cowboy hat, a badge, and a love interest (but, strikingly, no genitals). Most of the jokes will fly past the heads of its young audience, but there are the usual plotlines to keep them busy-bad guys, fallen heroes, gunplay, redemption, and Kim Novak eating Pop-Tarts in heaven. (CIENNA MADRID)

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