Rango definitely defied my expectations-- but in a not so good way.
I initially thought that this film would be one that has an appeal to a wider audience. But I was wrong. The western-themed computer generated film is a mature film dressed up as family entertainment. Gone are the clean-cut landscapes, fuzzy creatures, and likable story and in their place are surreal dreams, edgy characters, and a mature story.
With the eponymous lead voiced by the uber-talented Johnny Depp, the film is quirky and sometimes deep. I found it has parallels to a Brothers Grimm tale called "The Valiant Little Tailor," where a little misrepresentation kicks off an adventure. But it seems director Gore Verbinski wanted to end the similarities to a fairy tale there. There are themes of self image and even economics.
If there's one huge upside to the film, it's the animation. It's just superb. The film is set in the Mojave desert and I saw the great detail put in in the animation of the sand dunes and water. The animal characters were also done great.
Folks should be warned that Rango is too serious for kids below twelve years old. It would have been better if the over-all feel was toned down a bit.