Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rango: Play Your Part

Many people seem to have had a hard time with “Rango.” As an animated film, it obviously should be primarily for kids, have a simplistic plot, lines that are easy to understand, and a few fart jokes as the pinnacle of its comedic intent. Instead, it is primarily a story for adults, with a lot to say, delivered in lightening fast witty lines that require a lot of life experience and film knowledge to fully appreciate—and it goes way beyond farts.

Spiritually speaking it is quite rich. Not in a Christian sense necessarily—this is the American Southwest after all—but it has a lot that it wants to say and it uses spiritual language to do so. Most easily offended believers looking for Biblical pictures of truth will have been offended by the overuse of the word “hell” in this film, so let’s not complain about the misguided meanderings of this secular story. Instead, what are the ideas that it is playing with, and what does it have to offer? The lizard protagonist in “Rango” is a lonely, caged creature who longs for purpose. When conflict does finally find him, he embraces the chance to play a part in life. He creates a name for himself, makes up a back-story of lies and begins to try to be heroic. The truth eventually catches up with him, and he is forced to reevaluate things on a metaphoric journey of self-discovery. In a conversation with an Eastwood-like, “Spirit of the West” he gets some deep sounding advice:
Spirit: “Doesn't matter what they call you. It's the deeds makes the man.”
Rango: “Yeah, but my deeds just made things worse. I'm a fraud! I'm a phony! My friends believed in me, but they need some kind of hero.”
Spirit of the West: “Then be a hero.”
Rango: “Oh, no! No! No! You don't understand. I'm not even supposed to be here.”
Spirit of the West: “That's right. You came a long way to find something that isn't out here. Don't you see? It's not about you. It's about them.”
Rango: “But I can't go back!”
Spirit of the West: “Don't know that you got a choice, son. No man can walk out on his own story.”

Ultimately, “Rango” is more than the story of an unlikely hero, or a fraud pretending to be something he isn’t. It is about having the courage to be the person you need to be in the face of what life throws at you. We all have a part to play in the story of our life, the question is: will we risk it?

1 comment:

  1. i loved this flick! watched it twice cause i watched it with the kids the first time and made my husband watch it later, heh. you quoted my fav scene in the movie: love the idea about not being able to walk out of your own story...


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