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Rango: Depp Is Out of my Depth

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Some people will watch anything in which Johnny Depp is associated, and the quirkier the character the better. That might explain why crowds are flocking to see, or more specifically to hear, him as the voice of a chameleon in the animated film Rango. This latest Depp venture is more suitable for adult Depp fans than kiddies, but that hasn't stopped parents from dragging their offspring in for the fun. Sadly for kiddies, there is very little to get excited about.

Rango is directed by Gore Verbinski and features Depp as a nameless chameleon who is a household pet. On a trip with his "family" their car swerves and the chameleon and his glass aquarium are thrown from the car. The aquarium smashes and the pet is left in the middle of the desert. He eventually stumbles on to a town named "Dirt."

The animals who inhabit the town (no humans allowed) quickly inform him they are running out of water. The chameleon quickly takes the name Rango and declares himself the new sheriff. His first order of business is finding water. As the Mayor (Ned Beatty) of the town tells him, the one who controls the water controls the power.

Among the characters Rango meets are a female named Beans (voiced by Isla Fisher,) a sweet young mouse named Priscilla (Abigail Breslin,) and a rattlesnake named Jake (Bill Nighy.) There are various other characters but these are the main ones. The ones who provide the most fun are a mariachi band made up of owls who act like a Greek chorus to all the events.

The animation is finely drawn with a great attention to detail, and the voices of the actors blend in completely with the look of the characters. This is all fine and good but does little to increase the entertainment value of the piece. These are not warm, cuddly creatures and the story is a plot a live action film could have handled.

The movie is rated PG for profanity and violence. Parents should not be shocked by the profanity, etc as there has to be a reason it is rated PG. If it were squeaky clean it would be a "G."

Johnny Depp fans will love this movie but all else will find it lacking. It has very little entertainment value other than the voice casting; and the plot grinds to a halt several times over the course of the film. Parents will find their kids squirming and ready for it to all be over. At least this big kid felt that way.

I scored Rango a varmint like 4 out of 10.