2011 animated Western comedy
Rating: 16/20 (Emma: ?/20; Abbey: 13/20)
Plot: A Chameleon with No Name (well, actually he does have a name) is accidentally abandoned by his human family. The desert he winds up in is not the safest of places, and the Wild West style animal town called Dirt he eventually stumbles into is probably even less safe. He exaggerates his prowess, lucks his way through a fight with a troublesome bird, and ends up the new sheriff of Dirt. He tries to get to the bottom of the town's lack of water.
Well, I like quirky animated movies with talking animals and spaghetti Westerns, and I seem to like a lot of what Gore Verbinski does (the underrated Mousehunt, The Weather Man featuring our summer star Nicolas Cage, that first Pirate movie). Previews for this made it look really good, too. So I wasn't entirely surprised that this is actually really good. It's really got the whole spaghetti vibe down with the wonderfully withered town of Dirt and the ugliest collection of characters you're likely to see. Some grizzled voice work (Ned Beatty should be in every animated movie; it should be a new law or something) gives them personality and color, and although there's not really all that much character development with any of them other than the titular chameleon, they work really well to give the setting the texture it needs. I really like the animation in this. There's a great blend of natural and realistic settings with these strange looking cartoonish animals, and the action scenes have this frenetic energy but still somehow make sense. There are lots of nods, predictably, to Western greats, but this also has a Hunter S. Thompson spotting which I thought was an awesome touch. That, and the protagonist is supposedly modeled after Don Knotts, probably meaning that I should go ahead and give this a Don Knotts bonus point. Oh, and similar to the movie Keoma that I just reviewed, there's an owl mariachi band in this that sings a bunch of songs about what's going on with the plot and how Rango is probably going to die. They work a lot better than the drunken pair in Keoma though. This works as an action movie, a kids movie (actually, maybe not), a Western, a comedy. It's not flawless--the plot's a little sloppy--but it's a wonderful hour-and-a-half of entertainment and definitely something I'd not mind watching over and over if any of my kids had actually liked it. My rating would probably go up, too.