Story

Rango (voice of Johnny Depp) is a pet chameleon. He gets lost when his cage falls out of the family car while his owners are driving through the desert. He wanders through the desert and makes friends with several characters, including a lizard called Beans (Isla Fisher). After a while, he ends up in the town of Dirt. Dirt’s locals are a mostly friendly and kind community of toads, turtles, rodents and other desert creatures. But the town mayor is corrupt. He’s working with local outlaws to cheat all the residents out of their land by controlling the water supply.

Rango has told the townsfolk of Dirt that he’s a legendary gunslinger and lawman. They turn to him for help in cleaning up the town and making their water supply safe. This means that Rango has a big fight ahead of him.

Themes

Identity and belonging; crime; corruption

Violence

This movie has quite a lot of violence. For example:

  • Rango is hit by cars while he’s trying to cross the road. He gets thrown from windscreen to windscreen.
  • A hawk chases Rango in the desert. The hawk tries to get Rango out of a glass bottle by dropping it from the sky.
  • Beans points a gun at Rango.
  • A character slaps a child across the face.
  • Outlaws go into the bar while shooting at the feet of one of the characters who lives in the town.
  • An outlaw tells Rango he is ‘going to slice off your face and wipe it with your unmentionables’.
  • The hawk chases Rango through the town, bringing down buildings and using his claws to slash walls.
  • While he’s being sized up for an outfit, Rango gives a child a gun.
  • During a town ritual where all the residents dance in the main street, Rango hits a woman across the face.
  • A chicken character has an arrow through his eye.
  • The father of a trio of outlaws trying to steal the remaining water hits his sons with a stick and yells at them.
  • The family of ‘moles’ come up from the ground with guns and machetes. This starts a big gun battle on the ground and in the sky. The battle also involves dynamite and many explosions.
  • Birds hang from a noose.
  • Rattlesnake Jake threatens to squeeze characters to death. He tells Beans that he ‘wants to see her die’.
  • Rattlesnake Jake shoots a bird down from a tower with his machine gun tail.
  • The mayor tries to drown Beans and Rango.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Rango’s glass cage is violently thrown out of the car while his owners are driving through the desert. He’s left by himself. When he first lands, we see him shed his skin.
  • An armadillo called Roadkill is lying on the road. He’s been almost cut in half and has a huge tyre imprint across his middle.
  • When characters try to cross the road, lots of them get hit by cars.
  • In a dream sequence, trees have scary, lit-up faces.
  • When he’s trying to look tough, Rango swallows a lit cigar.
  • The townsfolk walk underground, where it’s very dark. A sinister eye follows their moves.
  • Rattlesnake Jake milks venom from his fangs while terrorising Rango.
  • Generally, the characters are not the typical cute characters you usually see in animated movies. The insects, lizards, rodents, snakes, turtles and so on don’t look at all pretty, and young children might find them scary.

From 8-13

Some children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example, there’s some mild flirting between Rango and a headless Barbie doll. Also, Rango falls in love with Beans – they hold hands and kiss one time.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie has some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters smoke cigars.
  • A lot of the movie takes place in a bar where characters drink ‘cactus juice’. It looks like whisky, and the characters treat it like alcohol. The characters treat water like alcohol too. For example, the mayor is often seen drinking water from a martini glass with an olive on a toothpick. He also drinks it from a whisky glass and describes it as ‘vintage’.
  • A character lets slip that Beans’s dad was killed when he stumbled down a mine shaft while very drunk.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, a female character wears a very low-cut top.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Barbie dolls and pop tarts.

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language. Also, characters sometimes speak to each other in a very aggressive and threatening way.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Rango is an animated western movie, voiced by a star-studded cast. It’s been partly marketed as a children’s movie, but it contains a lot of violence and coarse language. It also explores some grown-up themes such as identity and belonging. And it has references to classic western movies that children – and some adults – will miss.

The main message from this movie is to be true to yourself. If you try to be someone or something you’re not, you’ll always be found out.

Values that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, honesty, cooperation and bravery.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of being fair and honest when you’re a leader. For example, the mayor of Dirt is crooked. He wants to control the water supply so he can build a bigger town at the expense of the townsfolk.