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Rango is a 2011 animated comedy film directed by Gore Verbinski, produced by Nickelodeon Movies, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It features the voices of Johnny Deep, Isla Fisher, Alfred Molina, Abigail Breslin, and many others.

Plot. The movie is about a chameleon named Rango who accidentally ends up in the town of Dirt and becomes their new sheriff.

It begins with a pet chameleon being stranded in the Mojave Desert after his terrarium falls from his owner’s car. In the highway, he has a chance encounter with an armadillo who is seeking the mystical Spirit of the West. The next day, he meets desert iguana Beans, a rancher’s daughter, who takes him to Dirt, an Old West town of desert animals.

Beans discovers that the water reserves in the town are dangerously low. Meanwhile, the chameleon goes to the Gas Can Saloon and tells stories to fit in with the people. He introduces himself as Rango (taken after the word Durango which he sees printed on a bottle). Later, he faces the hawk that scares the town, and after a long chase, he luckily kills it by crushing it under an empty water tank. In gratitude, the town Mayor appoints him as the new sheriff.

One day, the townsfolk discover that their water has been stolen. Quickly, Rango organizes a team to find the water. They eventually track the robbers to their mountain hideout. A battle with the clans of moles, prairie dogs and other such subterranean animals ensues. However, Rango and his team finds out the container to be empty, and the robbers professes that it was already empty when they found it.

After Rango and Beans deduce that the Mayor has been buying all the nearby land around, Rango recalls the mayor telling him how controlling water equals control of everything. He confronts the mayor, who denies he has done anything wrong and shows Rango that he is building a modern city on the old land. With no proof of the mayor's wrongdoing, Rango leaves, while the mayor, seeing that Rango is close to figuring out what his true plans are, orders Bad Bill to call Rattlesnake Jake, who soon arrives, firing shots with his gatling gun tail. Recognizing that Rango is a fake, Jake runs him out of town after humiliating him and making him admit that everything he told the town about himself is a lie.

Ashamed, Rango wanders the desert and, in a daze, meets the Spirit of the West. The meeting encourages him, and after a tough realization, he goes back to the town, restores the water supply and frees them from the cunning Mayor.

Commentary. Rango is surprisingly a good movie. The first few minutes were quite boring, but somehow, it established the main theme of the film – finding one’s self. As a house pet, Rango was the hero of his own world. But when he was gone astray in the desert, he struggled to identify and introduce himself to “people” he knew nothing about. To put a name of himself, he pretended to be a valiant hero. Indeed, circumstances made the villagers see him as a hero. The pretense opened Rango’s heart and he finally found what could make him whole. At last, he became the real hero, not only of his own world, but of a population who just have to believe in something.

One of the most striking parts of the movie was when Rango kept convincing the villagers to remain hopeful, that as long as the “Sheriff” sign hangs, there would always be someone who they could believe to save them. When his lies were exposed, the people suddenly lost all hopes. Rango was as well discouraged, but he knew he must not fail them. So summoning all his guts and wits, Rango returned after being banished, and brought the freedom and redemption he had always promised to the villagers.

In terms of music and visuals, Rango is as good as other Hollywood animated films.

Rating. I would give the film four stars out of five. It is beautiful but it has several dull moments. 

Follow Rango at Triond.

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