Where to begin? Well, the film is supposed to be a kind of western...with a message. I got the impression that the film wasn't made for the general audience outside of simply taking your hard-earned dollars; instead, the film was made by Hollywood heavy-hitters FOR Hollywood heavy-hitters. Hey, someone's gotta pay for the beach house in Malibu...that someone is YOU.
The voice-acting and animation are both flawless. Unfortunately, billed as a "family" film, Rango, is simply not for children.
The movie shows how a Hollywood-chameleon (an obvious allusion to actors) finds himself in the middle of an existential crisis...in the desert. Moses! Do you see the burning bush??? Sorry, wrong movie.
Like God handing down the ten commandments to a group of unworthy Israelites at the base of Mount Sinai, the villagers of the desert town--who make the angst-ridden chameleon their sheriff (a lot like Clint Eastwood's stint as Mayor of the California-charmer, Carmel...and yes, Eastwood's character from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly does make a cameo appearance, as voiced by Justified's Timothy Olyphant)--worship a false god in the figure of an aged, wheel-chair bound turtle.
The movie's message is an ironic one: Too much commercialism is spoiling nature. However, that message seemed to fall flat when it came to translating the film into hearty videogame sales. In case you aren't sure--the production of videogames IS NOT environmentally-friendly. And in that context, neither is the film.
I'm not entirely sure I agree with the Tribune's Michael Phillips about the film being "soulless," but there is definitely something missing from this movie...and I think that something was the audience.
Also, villifying a turtle is karmically and cosmically incorrect. We could blame the writers, one of whom was Verbinski, but the screenplay itself was written by John Logan--who is currently penning the next Bond film for 2012, Bond 23. Logan's original successes were for his work as a playright. Other films to Logan's credit include Star Trek: Nemesis, the lowest grossing film in the history of the Star Trek franchise....
On the Housel-scale, Rango, despite amazing animation and terrific voice-performances by a plethora of truly awesome actors, receives a 6/10.