"Rango is an all-out Western, and it’s made first and foremost for an audience that’s nostalgic for movies like High Noon and Once Upon a Time in the West. The film proves over and over again that, given the choice between pleasing a child and getting a smile from a grown-up spaghetti-Western fan, it’ll go for the latter every time, be it through classic Western compositions (the hero riding against a sunset—only it’s a lizard on a road runner) or an over-the-head reference to a beloved film (as well as nods to non-Westerns like Singin’ in the Rain, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Raising Arizona, and Chinatown, among others).
If there’s an immediate indication of the film’s intentions, it’s the designs of the characters. They are not child-pleasing. Production designer Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery emphasized what was least cute about Dirt’s denizens—Rango’s bulging asymmetrical eyes, Mayor’s weathered turtle skin—and then added a layer of dirt, grime, dust, and general grunginess for good measure. At one point in the Blu-Ray’s commentary—which is, no pun intended, pretty dry—one of the filmmakers remarked that he wished he could pop out one of the characters’ eyeballs and give it a good scrubbing, that’s how dingy it looked. Watching Rango can make you itchy and thirsty."
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