RELEASE DATE: March 10
The Coen brothers are not the only ones looking to re-invent the Wild West. Rango is an imaginative animation that tells the story of a lizard who becomes a sheriff but learns it takes more than a ten gallon hat to tell you who you are.
Johnny Depp voices a nameless chameleon that bounces out of a family car on its journey across an American desert. He is not only lost physically, he is lost emotionally. “Who am I? I could be anyone? I have been undefined,” he tells his pet plastic fish. But wandering across the wasteland, he comes into contact with the animal inhabitants of the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost suffering from a terrible drought and in desperate need of a new sheriff. Inventing the name ‘Rango’, he portrays himself as a hardened gunslinger and sets about helping his new community solve the mystery behind the disappearance of the town’s water supply.
Rango is a story about the necessary connection between truth and identity. Rango fabricates an entire past in order to build himself up in the eyes of the citizens of Dirt. But when he can’t live up to his tall stories, he not only loses his identity, he loses the trust his new friends had placed in it. He learns from the Spirit of the West (Clint Eastwood – a nice touch!), that who we are will be defined by something more lasting than the clothes we wear or the words we say about ourselves. “Doesn’t matter what they call you,” Clint says. “It’s the deeds that make the man. Be the hero.”
Rango says he’s not sure if he can go back to the friends he let down. Clint says he has no choice. “No man can walk out on his own story.” That is to say, the things that we do are building up our identity day by day, whether we like it or not. And this is a principle the Bible wholeheartedly supports. Our relationship with God depends not on what we say about ourselves – “I’m a Christian,” or “I believe in God” – but by whether or not we treat him as our Lord. As Jesus put it,
“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50)