Can’t tell you how disappointed I was to discover ‘’Rango’’ wasn’t a biopic on a little-known Dutch singer who, after enjoying chart success with the theme song to a ‘’Never Ending Story’’ sequel, was caught trapped under an ice sculpture while holidaying in Switzerland.
No, ‘’Rango’’, in fact, is the latest reason for your arse to hate Gore Verbinski, the Agfa-wasting filmmaker who encouraged milions to visit the Haunted Mansion attraction over the Pirates of the Caribbean ride next time at Disneyland. Verbinski’s ‘’Pirates of the Caribbean’’ sequels were – unlike the first, which was actually quite pleasurable – listless, swollen, kitchen-sink efforts that made Kevin Costner’s ‘’The Postman’’ look like an easily endurable couple of hours of fluff.
Only now just remembering that bad shit comes in waves of three, Verbinski and “Pirates” star Johnny Depp have reunited to cap off their trilogy of terror. “Rango” is an animated offering that the marketing would lead us to believe is a cutesy “Shrek”-esque kiddie flick with some madcap Tommy Hanson antics.
Firstly, “Rango” is anything but a kiddie flick. Within the film’s first few minutes we’re introduced to some near spent road kill; endure jokes about human ash, alcohol and killing things; and mostly, witness as Verbinski recreates the first half of Walter Hill’s ‘’Last Man Standing’’.
Secondly, it ain’t that funny and it ain’t that cute (though the film nerd in me – as I’m sure the youngsters rolling around on the carpet at the screening I attended did – appreciated the nods to Polanski’s “Chinatown”).
Set in an Evian free desert (we know so because drops of water dry up faster than coke on a cinema carpet – speaking of…er, never mind), ‘’Rango’’ fixes on a chameleon who, after his owners hit some poor animal on the highway, is thrown from his fishbowl and onto a hot stretch of road… in the middle of nowhere. The nameless (he adopts ‘Rango’ later on), not-especially-exceptional creature then spends the next couple of hours at a gun-slinging, alcohol-swirling wild west town where he tries to convince the locals that he’s a killing machine you don’t mess with.
This thing’s odder than Donald Pleasence, I tell ya. It’s not boring (well, my 3-year-old might argue that), I like the message (why, like a Chameleon, do you just want to ‘blend in’ when you can truly stand out!?) and Depp’s clearly excited to be doing animation (because he doesn’t have to shave that eye-sore off his chin?) but sadly, the fun spews out in sporadic trinkles from funnels, not buckets.
e film will mainly evoke more head scratching than laughs. There’s language chunks of simply characters chatting, there’s other bits that seem ripped straight from Gunfight at the OK Corral, and then there’s birds being killed. “That cut little lizard movie” this is not, folks. Oh, the laughs? Not as many of them as here as there are dead animals.
I’m all for a good kiddie flick that the adults can enjoy but this, I gotta say, doesn’t offer the choc-top-munching tykes much at all – er, well, besides a Hunter S. Thompson cameo.
If you like week old Cajun food, Gary Busey’s Twitter jokes and “Fritz the Cat”, you’ll love “Rango”.