There’s A New Sheriff In Town

There’s A New Sheriff In Town

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: March 4th 2011
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 107 minutes

Director: Gore Verbinski

Cast: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, and Timothy Olyphant as The Spirit of the West

When I was little I used to love “play pretend” – that’s where you play or pretend you’re something that you’re really not. There were always two things I’d play pretend I was; a pirate on a ship with a crew looking for treasure (which was actually a garden bench, my teddy bears and a box of my mom’s jewellery) and a sheriff like in the westerns my dad used to watch.

It was easy; you make a hat out of newspaper, attach a cap gun to your belt like a holster, cut out a star from a cereal box and stick it on your shirt and you’re the sheriff of any town you choose.


Little household pet and chameleon Rango (Johnny Depp) get his chance to play pretend he’s a sheriff too. After the fortuitous event of a car crash which leaves him stranded in the desert, Rango ends up walking into a bandit-ridden town called Dirt, deep in the lawless Mojave Desert.

He tries to blend in and ends up telling some tall tales which leaves the townspeople in awe and thinking he’s exactly what they need to help clean up Dirt. Before long, Rango is decked out in new boots, hat, holster, gun and a shiny sheriff’s badge and ready for his new part.

But Dirt also has a water problem. The town is literally drying up, and people are starting to panic, while the mayor seems a little too caviller about the situation. Are the bankers and government in cahoots to make themselves a hefty profit from watching the townspeople lose their homes, livelihood and minds?

Rango (and the townspeople too) will get a chance to find out if he has what it takes to be a real hero or if it’s all play pretend.


It’s refreshing to see an animated film that’s in old fashioned 2D and Rango certainly has its charm. The story weaves together a plot adapted from the recent financial crisis but does it in a way which makes it wholly accessible for kids.

There’s a wonderful moment during a wagon chase which uses both The Ride Of The Valkyries by Wagner and An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 by Strauss. It’s great to hear these classical pieces used in an animated feature, recalling the days of the 1930’s through to the 50’s when classical music and animation went hand in hand. Its use in Rango fits the scene perfectly.


The characters look very good though at times they are a little creepy, especially the bunny rabbits – they aren’t as cute and cuddly as we’re probably used to. Then there’s Jake the Snake, one of the town’s main villains, a sssslithering and ssssneaky character if I ever did see one.

But it’s Johnny Depp as the karma chameleon who comes and goes and makes Rango a delightful and funny family outing with his amazing voice work.

I’m sure there are some Pirates of the Caribbean references in there but in all honesty, I was too busy enjoying the film to notice!

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