Rango (2011)

Rated: PG for rude humor, language, action and smoking
Length: 107 minutes
Grade: C,B,C,D=C
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% favorable, 7.6/10 average
Budget: $135 million
Box Office: $262 million (123 U.S., 119 Intl., 20 DVD)

Written and Directed by: Gore Verbinksi (Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3, The Ring, The Weather Man, The Mexican, and Mousehunt)
Also Written by: John Logan (Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, The Last Samurai, Star Trek Nemesis, The Time Machine, Gladiator, and Any Given Sunday) and James Ward Byrkit (First script)
Starring the voice of: Johnny Depp
With the voices of: Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Stephen Root, Harry Dean Stanton, Timothy Olyphant, Ray Winstone, and Bill Nighy.

A domestic lizard finds himself embroiled in a film noir western as he tries to survive, prove his mettle, and save the day for a desert town of unusual and oppressed animals.

We had heard this was quite good, and I will at least say that it was quite different. It certainly had its moments, and there was something admirable merely in the fact that it was so continually willing to be unlike any other animated movie. That being said, sometimes it’s worth asking why something has never been done before. If Pixar is asking, it’s because no one has thought of it or had the skill to do it right. If anyone else is asking, it’s because it was a bad idea that someone else knew as such before investing tens of millions of dollars to prove the fact. As a piece of creativity, this is quite good, and although not nearly as dark as Tim Burton’s universe, something of that feel is what you get for originally here. But as entertainment or something coherent, it just doesn’t really add up. It’s queer. Really queer. And not just because Johnny Depp voiced the main character. And when we got all done, my wife and I just looked at each other with a mutually quizzical expression that asked, “Did you get that?” And no, we didn’t. Also, it’s got more than its fair share of strong language for a kids movie, particularly damn and hell, and some pretty creepy images for younger kids including hangings and an arrow stuck in one character’s eye. PG-10 I’d say.

Overall Grade: C
Despite it’s ridiculously high Rotten Tomatoes rating, this is a movie that is likely to appeal mostly only to film critics who are most satisfied with something unusual. But almost by definition, unusual is precisely what the majority of people don’t love.

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