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Rango!

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Stephanie and I went to see Rango on Saturday night, and we enjoyed the heck out of it.

It's an odd and delightful movie. I'm impressed and kind of surprised that it got made; I'm curious about what got said in the pitch meeting. Well, okay, I suspect that what got said was mostly “Johnny Depp!” But still.

I'm also pleased that it seems to be doing well both at the box office and among critics. The American moviegoing public has surprised me again!

I found the movie a bit politically problematic in some of the usual Hollywood ways. For example, I don't remember whether it passes the Bechdel/Wallace test, but if so, it's only barely; there are only a couple of prominent female characters, and only one of them does much, and there are aspects of how even she is treated that bugged me. And there are characters who are clearly meant to be Latino and American Indian, who conform to stereotypes more than they undermine them. But Stephanie pointed out that Western parodies are pretty likely to run into those kinds of things.

Anyway, that stuff was my only significant concern about the movie. It has a few other flaws, but they're minor. We laughed a lot.

As all the reviewers are saying, it's not really aimed at kids, though I can imagine some kids enjoying it. Especially kids who've watched a couple of Sergio Leone movies; you probably don't have to be familiar with spaghetti Westerns to enjoy Rango, but it helps. You might have to be a fan of Depp's brand of inspired lunacy; I don't know whether the part was written for him, but it's just about perfect for him.

There are many fine references to other movies as well as Leone's, but there's also a bunch of stuff that I think is just random fun and silliness (unless it's references that I didn't get), so I suspect any missed movie references will just feel like more randomness.

Anyway. Lots of fun, well worth seeing, don't try to take it especially seriously.

I might have to watch this again on video to pick up more of the background sight gags, more of the throwaway jokes, and more of the bits that I was laughing during.

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