Director: Gore Verbinski
Year Released: 2011
Budding method actor/'chameleon' Rango (voiced by Johnny Depp) has his aquarium shattered on a highway and ends up in a dusty town in need of water, so he has to play the role of 'hero' and save everyone, find the agua and survive his own 'story' (fake it until you make it!). There are wonderfully surreal touches in this - the first act plays like some weird variant of Lynch's Wild at Heart - and impressive voice acting (Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake is a stand-out) but the second and third acts are basically restructured pieces from other movies, making this a check-off list for me: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, uh-huh, Sergio Leone Westerns, gotcha, Chinatown, okay, High Noon, sure, Dances with Wolves, Django, Star Wars (the long and laborious battle sequence in a valley), El Mariachi, Desperado, fine, fine, fine (not to mention the Bard and Salvador Dalí). There are enough unorthodox elements in this to make it a nice improvement over traditional animated family fare, though not enough to put it in Pixar territory.