By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

A journey of self-identity brings one small, crooked-necked chameleon dressed in a red Hawaiian shirt to a small western town named Dirt.

The journey starts out with a Mariachi band of burrowing owls who wear sombreros. They serenade the audience singing about a tale of a hero. This hero ends up being none other than the small sly chameleon with the crooked neck, whose name ends up being “Rango.”

Director Gore Verbinski and writer John Logan bring us a fun filled adventurous animated movie, which makes adults feel like a kid again. Verbinski is known for his “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. He finds himself reteaming with Johnny Depp, who is the voice for the main character Rango.

Depp brings a sense of humor and wit to this fun loving, dramatic chameleon. The small chameleon finds himself stranded in the dessert when his aquarium, or as Rango would describe it “his movie set,” is thrown out of the back of the family station wagon. After it hits the scorching highway, the aquarium shatters, leaving Rango stranded on the highway in the extreme heat.

Rango finds himself in a small western town Dirt, and from that point in the movie, starts learning that life isn’t as easy as he had previously thought. He meets a variety of interesting characters, and not one of them is alike. The characters range from lizards, turtles, moles, to other animals that can be found in the desert.

Rango meets a sassy, gutsy, smart frontierswoman, who is a lizard. Isla Fisher voices the character Beans. Together with their team of townsfolk, they hunt for a solution to the mystery of the missing water.

In this small town of Dirt there is a water shortage, which represents how the economy is for some people today. Rango then ends up getting himself in a bind, and with the drama queen that he is, he gets himself dubbed the sheriff of Dirt. He then has to figure out the why the water has suddenly disappeared.

Verbinski took the risk of making several characters generally unpleasant, especially for a PG rated movie. Also throughout the movie there are several gruesome gags. When sitting in the movie theatre I noticed that many of the little kids looked lost and confused, but the adults and teens were laughing at the jokes. “Rango” may not be for younger children.

“Rango” truly enacts the true theme for a movie about the search for identity. The main character escapes from a never-changing aquarium, which is filled with the same told stories every day. He then finds himself on this big adventure, where he builds relationships. Rango finds the true meaning of friendship, and the person he can become.

“Rango” has all the potential to win an award for Best Picture, even if it leans more toward adults. The animation was exceptional, and the characters made it a delight to watch.

If the audience wants to get a sense of Wyatt Earp, the Old West, gun slingers, and the ever so famous voice of Johnny Depp, then “Rango” is the movie of choice.

Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at