ANIMATION; 1hr 47min
VOICES BY: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy
Leader of the pack: Rango
When a pet chameleon (voiced by Depp) with lairy taste in shirts, the weary, bulbous eyes of a philosopher and a lionhearted soul is stranded in the Mojave Desert after a vehicular mishap, he makes his enterprising way to the dustbowl village of Dirt, which is about as inviting as it sounds. Reinventing himself as tough-talkin’ cowboy Rango, the limelight-hogging liz is in his gabby element as he charms a scaly, furred and feathered menagerie of hardboiled western sorts. Appointed sheriff, Rango has the critical duty of protecting the town’s sole water cooler. But when nothing goes to plan, it’s time for him to step up.
Little kids will most likely glaze over but for bigger ones, the pristinely creepy animation and the trippy, wiseass dialogue are a picture of nonchalant lunacy. It’s Toon Time à la Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, with a kicky voice cast and a waggishly skewed worldview. “You can either be a part of it,” to quote Dirt’s dodgy mayor (Ned Beatty), “or you can be left behind.”