Post-modern frippery can only take you so far… and that’s not ‘very’. Rango‘s mix of the spaghetti western and Chinatown (US, 1974) is brilliantly done ranging from Johnny Depp’s charming eponymous hero, a lizard, to Ned Beatty’s perfect impersonation of John Huston’s villain, a tortoise here, in the classic noir, directed by Roman Polanksi. Add a sequence that manages to mix Stagecoach (US, 1939) with Star Wars (US, 1977) then you have an extremely inventive film. The Star Wars-Stagecoach mix is not so far-fetched as the latter is a ‘western in space’, but it’s nevertheless dazzling as you realise it’s unfolding before your eyes. The plot revolves around ‘controlling’ water, the same as Chinatown.
The ‘spaghetti’ bit of the ‘western’ is emphasised by the mariachi chorus and the ‘down and dirty’ characters of the town… Dirty. The Man With No Name also makes an appearance, Timothy Olyphant managing to sound exactly like Clint.
Most of all Rango is laugh-out-loud.