Grand animated western for whole family

Rango Paramount Rating: PG 107 minutes

Rango is a beautifully animated film that the kids will enjoy because of the animals and action, but adults will probably enjoy it more, especially if they like old movies.

Rango is a lizard, clad only in a loud Hawaiian shirt (a nice touch in character with Johnny Depp, who voices the lizard), lost in the Mojave Desert.

Helped by a friendly armadillo (Alfred Molina) he finds his way to the town of Dirt, which is suffering a severe water shortage. There, through bragging and good luck, he becomes the sheriff and tries to solve the mystery of the disappearing water.

As mentioned, the animation is really excellent. All the townspeople are desert animals and the detail and texture of fur and feather is very impressive on the big screen.

Also impressive are the endless references to other movies like Chinatown, High Noon, Star Wars, A Fistful of Dollars and Apocalypse Now. Imagine, if you can, an exciting chase scene with a western-style rendition of Ride of the Valkryies as musical background and you get an idea of the spirit of the movie.

There’s also a talented supporting case with Bill Nighy, Ned Beatty, Isla Fisher and Abigail Breslin among those supplying the voices.

Unfortunately, the film runs out of steam before the end and it could be a little frightening for young children (Bill Nighy’s rattlesnake villain is scary), but this is a film for the whole family.

Rating: four deer out of five

Next Week on Video

Johnny Depp doesn’t shine in The Tourist but Angelina Jolie is visually stunning in this silly thriller in Venice.

Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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