”Rango” is a rare animated film set in the west. The background of the film is set in a desert town, the desolate environment and a chameleon that is not very cute, it seems that they did not deliberately cater to the public’s aesthetic expectations for animation. But in this novel style of painting, it tells a very traditional story, which not only has universal values, but also uses various symbols of western movies to play a retro game. Therefore, this animated film won the Best Animated Feature Film Award at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.
a hero dream
The film tells the story of Rango, who lives in modern times, came to a desert town by accident and was forced to adapt to a new life here. Lango’s life was carefree. There was sufficient water and a safe environment in the glass tank, so he knew nothing about the desert life he should have lived. Such contrasting settings add a lot of interest to the story.
When Lango first came to the desert, he met a toad that was trying to camouflage himself, fearing that it would be discovered by natural enemies. In order to help Lango not be discovered by Falcon, Toad asked Lango to disguise himself. But Lango, who has no experience in wild survival, doesn’t know how to integrate the color of his body with the environment. The more he hides the color, the brighter it becomes. In the end, he was not only discovered by the falcon, but also implicated the unlucky toad.
Lango’s previous life was influenced by the theater culture. When Lango met Miss Bean for the first time, Miss Bean asked Lango who he was, and Lango replied, “I have many nicknames, stage names, pseudonyms, and code names. I used to have a fake name, but later Changed it again.” In addition to this small plot, Lango has a special fascination with many classic dramatic plots. This characteristic is reflected in the film screen, resulting in many formal and representative shots. The most classic scene is that Lango leads a group of people on the Gobi to track down the trace of the water thief. Lango learned the usual expression technique in the movie-before setting off, he must shout out “Let’s go! “Such lines. When they were galloping on the birds and beasts, Lango was still thinking about how to imitate the people in the movie and circle around the horse’s back chicly.
“Rango” tells the story of a chameleon with an identity crisis, embarking on an adventurous career, and finally discovering himself.
Director Gore upholds the impromptu humor of American animation. The Little Owl Wanderings, who opens the film singing: “This chameleon, it’s dying.”
In order to prove himself, Ran Ge told lies one after another, thinking that in this way he could become a heroic figure that everyone fears. Just when Rango was about to integrate into the life of the town and become the spiritual leader in everyone’s hearts, the story he fabricated was debunked by Jack the Rattlesnake. Only then did everyone understand that Rango is just a lonely chameleon without friends, and he is not a hero who can solve 7 bullies with only 1 bullet. Ran Ge lost the false hero identity he had established, and returned to the desert alone. But later, Lange regained his courage, and he returned to the town to help the residents of the town. Only this time, he is no longer a false hero, does not rely on his own writing and acting skills, but really helps the townspeople and becomes a real hero.
Dreams and Metaphors
In animation, there are not many examples of using dreams to show the subconscious of characters, but “Rango” shows a dream of the protagonist.
On Rango’s first night in the desert, he climbed into a drainpipe to spend the night. In the dream, Lango ran alone in a desert full of giant cacti. Suddenly, all the cacti turned into rattlesnake tails, and the sound of flicking tails echoed throughout the desert. At this time, the shadow of a huge falcon was cast in the sky. Lango looked up in a panic and saw his plastic toy fish flying in the sky in the glass tank, with his broken arm doll in the background. The toy fish flew over Lango and said a word to Lango: “Where are your friends, buddy?” Lango was about to answer, but thunder and lightning came from behind him, and he was sucked into the water and couldn’t breathe.
This dream can be divided into two parts: Part 1, this dream appeared in the first 15 minutes of the whole film, and Jack the Rattlesnake appeared in 1 hour and 20 minutes. After watching the whole film, you will find that Jack the Rattlesnake is a very important character in the play, so there is a foreshadowing for this villain in the dream. At the same time, the dream ends with drowning, which is to imply that someone is deliberately draining water into the desert (whether it is draining water or pumping water from the desert, the water thieves mentioned earlier, check it out). The foreshadowing here is the central problem to be solved in the whole film, and it is also the biggest crisis that the characters face.
In part 2, although Lango’s previous life seemed happy, all his friends were fake and inanimate things. In real life, Rango has no friends. That’s why in the dream, his once false friend, the toy fish, asked Lango such a question: where is your friend? The dream itself is dominated by the character’s own subconscious, so this sentence expresses the question Lango asked himself: Where are my friends? Similarly, it also expresses Lango’s need, that is, to be able to have real friends.
There are also some metaphors used very cleverly in the film. Metaphors may be ignored by many viewers when they watch the movie for the first time, and at most they only make the audience guess about the subsequent plot. But when you read it for the second time or more times, you will find that every sentence in the metaphor has a very clear direction, and there are many things worthy of our thinking.
When Rango was thrown from the car onto the road, he encountered an armadillo crossing the road. The armadillo said something very vague: “I must go to the other side of the road. This is my quest. He is waiting for me… The soul of the west is the only one here. I heard that he drives a carriage made of marble. The golden guard protects him… the inspiration of life, without which we are nothing.”
After watching the whole movie, we can understand the meaning of this sentence, which is to let Lango find the inspiration of his own life. Like the dream, this passage is also a foreshadowing for the characters who will appear later, and a few descriptions of the soul of the west are also displayed in the following plots. At the same time, the conversation with the soul of the west is also the inspiration for Rango. But the film does not directly explain why it is necessary to cross to the other side of the road. Maybe it’s because it’s dangerous to cross the other side of the road. Only when we encounter failure and are covered with bruises, will we be willing to grasp the last straw, challenge the most difficult thing, and find the soul of the west; One side represents illusion, while the other side represents reality. Only those who have enough courage to face the real world and their true self can cross this road. In short, the meaning here is left to the audience to fill in, and everyone can have their own way of understanding.
spirit of westerns
Western films are a very popular film genre in the United States from the 1930s to the 1960s, also known as cowboy films. Iconic elements in Westerns, including deserts, cacti, cowboys and his revolvers, saloons, and Indians. These elements are very systematically displayed in “Rango”. The spirit of the west represents a group of heroes who are not afraid of hardships. They open up the vast west and fight for justice and gangsters on horseback. However, due to changes in the living environment, people gradually moved away from the days of pioneering wasteland, and Western films gradually declined.
In “Rango”, the western spirit subtly replaces the heroism in modern movies. It integrates the spirit of morality and legal order, represents the side of justice, and becomes the core value of this movie. Rather than saying that director Gore Verbinski is praising the spirit of the West, it is better to say that he is nostalgic for Western films. There are several lines in the film that hide a love for the Western and a pity for its decline.
In the film, the mayor asks Lango to accompany him to play golf, and let Lango appreciate the city he is building, in order to persuade Lango to unite with him. Rango was puzzled and asked what was built there. The mayor said something: that is the future, and soon everything here will be the past. Frontier towns, law enforcement officers, sharpshooters… There is no place for them anymore. We are civilized people now . This passage seems to be warning Rango, but it is more like commenting on Western films from the perspective of modern movies. The progress of human civilization will eventually eliminate the simple and rough way of life; and a variety of dazzling, fast-paced movie types will also replace this slow-paced western.
Another paragraph expresses the same meaning. When the mayor thought that Lango had been dealt with, he suddenly changed the direction of the gun and wanted to deal with Jack as well. The mayor preached: This is a new era, Jack, and stealing thumbs can no longer be tolerated.
Both passages come from the mouth of the real villain, the mayor. At the end of the film, the mayor’s behavior was finally exposed by Rango and he got the punishment he deserved. The intention here couldn’t be more obvious, that is, no one can eliminate such a traditional and classic form of artistic expression as western films.
In addition to Rango, Jack the Rattlesnake also embodies a lot of Western spirit. Jack is the messenger of death, and no one can control him. Although he is a villain, he is still a principled person. When he first appeared on the stage, as a person invited by the mayor to help, he was dedicated to his duties, but his style of doing things was very extreme, he would not give up until the goal was achieved, and he didn’t like procrastination and cumbersome methods. However, when he found that Rango had resolved the crisis with only one bullet and exposed the hypocrisy of the mayor, his attitude towards Rango changed from hostility to respect. In Jack’s own words, it is “a legend paying tribute to another legend”, just like two western heroes who also fight for justice, although they have different identities and different ways of dealing with problems, they cherish each other.
Ran Ge accidentally ended the life of an eagle and became a hero of the town.
The protagonist Rango was originally a chameleon kept in a glass box, and it often imagined itself as a great hero.
There is also an important role in the film-the soul of the west, he is the leader who guides Rango to become a hero in the end, and he represents the spirit of the west. This character is a tribute to the actor Clint Eastwood in western films, and even the image design refers to his appearance in “Red Dead Redemption”. The legendary soul of the west “drives a carriage made of marble and is protected by golden guards”. When Lango saw the soul of the west, he saw him driving a white golf cart with a basket behind it. There are also five golden statuettes inside. The golf cart actually represents the golf course built and designed by Eastwood himself, while the five statuettes clearly represent the five Oscar statuettes he has won. From these details, the director’s nostalgia, respect and hope for western films are fully displayed.
”Rango” is director Gore Verbinski’s second collaboration with Industrial Light & Magic, Hans Zimmer and Johnny Depp after the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of films. It can be said that this original team has influenced the presentation of the film, the presentation of the music and the presentation of the performance. It is for this reason that we can see a lot of shadows of “Pirates of the Caribbean” in “Rango”.
If “Pirates of the Caribbean” is a live-action movie with very animated exaggerated performances and pictures, then “Rango” is an animation, but it does the opposite. The scenes and characters are designed very realistically. But despite the realistic style, the animation itself is not serious.
The movie is like a dream. The audience is completely emotionally involved in the story within a few hours of enjoying the movie. When the movie ends, the dream ends. Animation is more like an upgrade of a dream. The dream of “Rango” brought us to the far west and let us relive the splendor of western movies.
The attribute of a chameleon is that it can change itself into a color that is consistent with the environment. This attribute is also very closely combined with Lango’s identity. He can become anyone, anyone he wants to be. In the process of watching the movie, Lango led us to experience a heroic dream from illusion to lie, and finally to reality and success. What role do we play in real life? Who do we want to be? Can we be the heroes in our own lives?