Rango ***1/2

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“Rango” is a delightful animated comedy that is not even available in 3D!  My guess is that the director, Gore Verbinski, realized that the colors are brighter and the action is more vibrant when you are not watching them through a pair of dingy sunglasses. 

Rango is a lizard voiced by Johnny Depp, who is tasked with bringing civilization to the town of Dirt.  Dirt is a western town that is under the grip of a tyrannical mayor as well as an outlaw rattle snake.

The film observes many age old Western clichés such as the new sheriff in town, tough talking in saloons and gun fights in the middle of town.  What makes it fresh and funny is the satirical writing and the exaggerated characters such as Rango himself.  He has green scaly skin, large eyes and a tail.  Then there is Rattle Snake Jake, who has a machine gun where his rattle would be.

Now I am not so sure that this will work for little children.  The action sequences are actually pretty intense and Rattle Snake Jake might be a little too terrifying.  My son in particular was frightened almost every time he was on screen.  Does not help that Bill Nighy is perfectly slimy with his voice over.

I am starting to miss the days of sweeping animation such as “The Lion King”.  These days all we seem to get are comedies with celebrity casts.  Pixar is amazing but aside from them you really have to be choosy with what you see.  For every “Rango” there is a “Monsters Vs Aliens”.

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