Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

Rango

-Film Poster

A friend suggested this film, and I’m glad. It was a smart, funny movie that looked great. I guess the kids were into the animals on-screen, the site gags and the over-arching story? Otherwise, this movie is all for adults and is constructed around an elaborate set of movie references. It’s a fun and well done movie about Hollywood film culture.

Update: I just reread my off-the-cuff thoughts and realize I’ve made this sound like every other animated movie for the past fifteen years:  kiddie story dressed up in pop-culture references to keep mom and dad happy and smug. So just to be clear, that’s not what I mean. This movie’s narrative is built in relation to Johnny Depp’s career, the western (but especially Eastwood’s Leone films), and importantly, Polanski’s Chinatown. These references are not “nods toward” but instead are full-blown allusions that enable and enrich the story. I’m risking making the movie out to be bigger than it is here, but it is good enough to make “too big” safer ground than the “too small” my original comment mapped out.

Posted December 29, 2011