Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon: A Review of Rango
Dirt, the fictional town in which Rango takes place, is a very interesting and typical dangerous little village that seems to be the setting for hundreds of Western films throughout the age of cinema. The common folk mingle with outlaws as they saunter down the street. If you push open the swinging wooden doors and step into the town saloon, card games are being argued over and tobacco juice drips down chins. Don't even think about asking for water from the barkeep. All that's on tap is fermented flammable cactus juice. As you may have figured, this animated town's inhabitants are desert creatures instead of humans, but some of the conflicts are the same as other Western films: the main treasure in the film is stored in the bank vault, only its water instead of money. There is a power-hungry mayor and a band of outlaws and bad creatures around to cause trouble. When Rango the chameleon decides to become a lizard that he is not (that is, to pretend to be a legend and all-around badass from the far west), he embarks on a journey to try and save the town's water supply from a myriad of various exciting situations and animals.
The other reason the film is interesting is its existential nature, and that's also one of the problems with the film: it's marketed towards children, but is more suited for adults who raise the question of Who am I? and contemplate the reasoning between existing and nothingness. Rango gets thrown into this new town and decides to become something that he always wanted to be: a hero. Near the beginning of the film, before he gets to the town of Dirt, Rango is dying of thirst on one side of the road when he comes upon an armadillo. The wise armadillo leaves Rango and says, "See you on the other side." "Of what, the road?" Rango replies. "It's a metaphor," Mr. Armadillo states. My advice: leave the children and their undeveloped mush of brains at home with a babysitter. The film might not answer the question of Who am I? to you, but for two hours, you can watch a once-timid now-heroic lizard find the answer to just that. (B+)