The revolution in animated films continues with Rango, an animated western featuring a cast of desert animals.
If it wasn’t for the different production companies, writers and directors associated to the spate of brilliant new animated features it would be very easy to assume they were all made by the same film making team. Toy Story 3, Wall E, Despicable Me and Rango feature overlapping social themes and remarkably similar styles of symbolic communication. It seems that film makers in this genre are inspiring each other to greater heights and, collectively, they’ve been heavily inspired by Stanley Kubrick.
Wall E was packed with references to the hidden narrative of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Rango extends the referencing of other films much further. And it isn’t just about paying homage. Mad Max 2, Apocalypse Now, 2001: A Space Odyssey and a host of westerns (especially the Clint Eastwood classic High Plains Drifter) are referenced in the storyline of Rango because their social themes mirror those of Rango.
Identity, elitism and social control through propaganda, bribery and natural resources are core themes of Rango and, where necessary, the film is appropriately dark in tone. Highly recommended.