PREFACE: Let me begin by saying that I did not do my homework, read any reviews, or even wait for anyone else to take the bait. We saw some commercials, thought, "Hey, that looks funny!", and unwisely just went. That said, what follows is my review of the new animated movie, Rango.
Somehow, in spite of all I've seen, heard, and experienced, I still allowed myself to naively think, "Hey, a funny cartoon about a lizard in the wild west! That should be great!" Even after years of South Park, The Family Guy, and tons of other crap that's hit the airwaves, I let it slip past me that animated no longer equals "kid-friendly". Rango is no different! While this was a cartoon - animation at it's best - this was in NO way a "kids" movie. Let me explain.
I really love that many of the makers of kids movies these days provide what I'll call "A little humor for the adults". That said, this is a TOTALLY different animal than "Adult Humor". While Rango wasn't laced with sexual references or innuendo, or packed with uncomfortable moments like you experience when Viagra commercials come on as you're watching a football game with your 6-year old son, there were definitely some scenes (and dialogue) that opened the door to pique a kid's curiosity. I'm not OK with that. I have a 6 year old who never stops asking "Why?" and an 8 year old with keen and acute awareness of right and wrong. I don't need a cartoon's help opening up sensitive subjects with my children.
But more than anything else, the language in Rango was what stepped WAY over the line for me. There were at least 8-10 times a character used the word "hell" (Ex: "The hell you say!" or "What the hell for?" or [worst of all] "I'll drag you straight to HELL!"). For me, when the evil, vile, venomously hate-filled snake says, "I'll drag you straight to HELL!" - that's when I had finally had enough. And if I'm being honest, I let it go on way too long. I should have walked out WAY before then. There was also at least 1 use of the word "Damn". There could have been more after our family walked out. Not sure. Either way, this movie crossed way too many lines for me to be marketed for kids. And the criteria I use to determine whether something is marketed for kids - the reasons I viewed Rango in this light - is 1) there are commercials run for the movie during kid-friendly TV shows, 2) the commercials don't air ANY of what I've ranted about - they show only the cutesy kid-friendly parts, and 3) it's a flippin' cartoon about a lizard! I know - #3 doesn't hold water anymore.
Along with my Preface, I need to reiterate that if you actually take the time - and a magnifying glass - to look at the MPA Rating and it's description of WHY Rango is Rated PG, you'll see that it says, "Rude Humor, Language, Action and Smoking". So in all fairness, I was warned. You on the other hand, have been OVER-warned! Don't do it! If this had been an actual movie with real people, marketed to me as an adult, I probably would have laughed my head off. Johnny Depp would have played this character like mad! Too bad he was a frail lizard instead of a half-drunken pirate.
I would like to sing the praises of the Monaco Theater here in Huntsville. They fully refunded our money and were very gracious. We don't hold them responsible at all. It's OUR job to investigate the movies we take our kids to see. And they make some pretty mean popcorn, as well!
Parents: do your homework, use wisdom and discernment, and PLEASE...guard what you allow to influence your kids' minds and hearts. It's a tough job, but you've got to do it!