This is a fun western under the guise of a kids’ movie. Rango features several mainstays of the genre: the outsider looking to break his way into town, the corrupt mayor – Ned Beatty please get work other than villain parts – and the parched and hopeless citizens of a small town.
Rango (Johnny Depp) fell off the wagon, that’s not to say he is an alcoholic I mean he literally fell out of a station wagon and has become the newest resident of I-15. He bumbles into the saloon in Dirt, the small town located precisely in the middle of nowhere. The townfolk are waiting for the water to come, but something fishy has been going on and now the water doesn’t come. After making short work of the hawk preying on the town, Rango is named Sheriff. Rango is a natural actor so taking the part of lawman comes easy to him. He likes the attention, the people like his stories, what could go wrong?
Well, for starters, the water goes missing, partly due to Rango’s “eagle eye”. Now, with the drought killing every bit of land and the people going thirsty Rango has to prove his mettle.
Westerns in general are drying up – much like the water in Dirt. If it takes dressing them up as children’s films to get them into theatres, that’s fine. There are countless references to classics of yorn strewn throughout the film, including Depp’s own Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (the most fun being a cameo featuring Timothy Olyphant that I will not spoil). Depp has a lot of fun with his role as Rango, and you will have just as much watching.