A Look At The Underrated: Rango (2011)

I'll admit; film was one of those artistic interests that came a little later in my life than writing did. Mostly because I had no idea of the technical ability and multiple tricks involved in comparison to just writing the scenes of a story with a pen, or typing them up on a laptop. But since I later learned that both mediums are greatly linked together and interconnected in completely similar and varied ways, it's only made my love for stories and my fascination for film only more greater. 
However, some great films, from the past and present, haven't quite gained enough praise or recognition as they should. 
So today, I've started a themed post series based specifically on them. And the first underrated film today is one I've mentioned before (though to be fair, there will be a lot in this series I've quoted previously in other posts.) And that movie is Rango.

So Rango is a Paramount/Nickelodeon movie that came out in the spring of 2011, which did pretty well financially and even got the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature beating Pixar. Rango tells the story of a simple pet chameleon, voiced by Johnny Depp, who is accidentally thrown out of his owners' van and left stranded in the Mojave Desert. With the advice and directions from an armadillo, our hero goes to the Old Western town of Dirt, which is home to desert critters begging for a savior to revive their water supply. As one would guess, he renames himself as a drifter named Rango, and thus the mystery and crazy antics ensues:


The animation is so gorgeous I'd almost think it was live action, along with a grittier, dark look of a desert made up of quirky and odd characters. Like Beans, the desert iguana. 


Who has the defense mechanism of freezing in unexpected moments. Which makes things a little hard for Rango at times.
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It's deeper portrayal on the themes of identity and what it means to be a hero; all summed up in this one scene:
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All the voice actors....

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....And the fact they literally acted out what was later animated with technology. Now that's commitment.


These mariachi owls. Because they're hilarious narrators.
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And finally, this awesome chase sequence.
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A little bit of a familiar plot and story line, but that's more of a minor nitpick.

And that's pretty much here in what to expect, but that's only the beginning of my thoughts. I know, most of its consisted of short sentences and GIF's, but now I'm gonna go into a little more detail.

So why is this movie underrated? Well, I guess it's cause unlike most animated movies, while generally rated PG, this was one of those more catering to a slightly older audience. Especially with it having a bit more adult humor and darker tone. Sure, it's varied at times for both audiences but Rango had a goal to reach, and it succeeded pretty well. Considering I was eleven years old when first seeing it, I also didn't get the appeal first time round. But after a couple of times watching the movie I eventually figured it out.

Rango is one whose intention is to stand out of the norm from most animated movies (considering 80% are made of princesses stories/fairy tales and talking animals), and while it does fall in one of those categories, it has the feeling of taking a place in the middle. By having the typical, if not fully simplistic, adventures whilst also being a subtle commentary on dark themes, in a way that other animated films hadn't really achieved before. At least in a way that felt real and fully realized. 

The image that I remember the most from Rango (obvious spoilers, kind of) is when Rango has been exposed of his true form that he isn't who he told them he was, and is kicked out of Dirt as the consequence. This simple scene of our hero walking back the way he came, just like at the start, only with the backdrop of a wide moon and his loneliness, is one that has stuck in my mind ever since.

Not just because it was one of the first that impacted my thoughts on art, but also summarizes my entire opinion, in that it's really good and surprisingly underappreciated. Either that, or I just love silent scenes like this one.

But now that you know, it's yours to see and check out of yourself.
Then come back here and write in the comments below, or to those who have, go ahead and add your own.
So what is your underrated list of movies, and your thoughts on how they impacted you?
I'd love to hear what you think. :)


  1. Chrislondo110

    I remembered seeing this movie the day after it came out at a theatre in Marysville and I was like 10 years old at the time. Pretty much by then I was in fourth grade. Really thought the animation looked quite stunning. Haven’t seen it in a long time.


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